Australian Council on Children and the Media

Rango

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Short takes

Not recommended under 8, PG to 13 (Adult themes, violence and scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Rango
  • a review of Rango completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 15 March 2011.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to adult themes, violence and scary scenes
Children 8 to 13 Parental guidance recommended recommended due to adult themes, violence and scary scenes
Children 13 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Rango
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild violence; Some scenes may scare young children

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Rango (voice of Johnny Depp) is a pet chameleon who is lost after his cage falls out of the family car while his owners are driving through the desert.  During his desert wandering he befriends a number of characters, including a lizard called Beans (Isla Fisher) and ends up in the town of ‘Dirt’. Dirt’s locals are a mostly friendly and kind community of toads, turtles, rodents and other desert creatures. However, the town mayor is corrupt and in cahoots with local outlaws to cheat all the residents out of their land by controlling the water supply.

Rango has portrayed himself to be a legendary gunslinger and lawman to the town folk of Dirt, so they turn to him to help clean up the town and secure their water supply. This means that he has a big fight ahead of him!

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Identity and belonging; crime; corruption

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is quite a bit of violence in this movie including:

  • Rango is hit by cars while trying to cross the road and is flung from windscreen to windscreen
  • Rango is chased by a hawk in the desert and the hawk tries to get Rango out of a glass bottle by dropping it from a height
  • Beans points a gun at Rango
  • A character slaps a child across the face
  • Outlaws enter the bar while shooting at the feet of a townsperson
  • An outlaw tells Rango he “is going to slice off his face and wipe it with his unmentionables”
  • The hawk chases Rango through the town, bringing down buildings and using his claws to slash walls
  • Rango gives a child a gun while being fitted for an outfit
  • During a town ritual where all the residents dance in the main street, Rango hits a woman across the face
  • A chicken character has an arrow through his eye
  • The father of a trio of outlaws trying to steal the remaining water hits his son’s with a stick and yells at them
  • The family of ‘moles’ come up from the ground with guns and machetes and a big gun battle on the ground and in the sky erupts. This also involves dynamite and many explosions.
  • Birds are seen hanging from a noose
  • Rattlesnake Jake threatens to squeeze characters to death. He tells Beans that he “wants to see her die”
  • Rattlesnake Jake shoots a bird down from a tower with his machine gun tail
  • The mayor tries to drown Beans and Rango

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Rango’s glass cage is violently thrown out of the car while his owners are driving through the desert and he is left by himself. When he first lands, we see him shed his skin.
  • ‘Roadkill’, the armadillo is lying on the road almost cut in two with a huge tyre imprint through his middle
  • Crossing the road is frenetic and frantic with the characters hit by many cars
  • In a dream sequence, trees are given scary, lit up faces
  • In order to be seen as tough, Rango swallows a lit cigar
  • The townsfolk are seen walking underground where it is very dark. A sinister eye follows their moves
  • Rattlesnake Jake milks venom from his fangs while terrorising Rango
  • Generally, the characters are not the typical cute characters seen in animated movies. The insects, lizards, rodents, snakes, turtles etc are not glamourised in anyway and young children may find them scary.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Some children in this age group may find some of the above scenes disturbing

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Barbie doll
  • Pop Tarts

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Mild flirting – between Rango and a headless Barbie doll
  • Rango falls in love with Beans – they hold hands and kiss on one occasion

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • A female character wearing a very low cut top

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Cigar smoking
  • A considerable amount of the movie takes place in a saloon where characters drink ‘cactus juice’ which looks like whisky and is treated like alcohol. Water, too is portrayed like alcohol – the mayor is often seen drinking it from a martini glass with an olive on a toothpick or a whisky glass (it is described as ‘vintage’)
  • A character reveals that Beans’ dad was killed when he stumbled down a mine shaft while very drunk.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • damn
  • tart
  • floozy
  • tramp
  • trollop
  • loser

Very aggressive language is also present throughout including: “slice off your face and wipe my unmentionables on it” and “I want to see you die”

In a nutshell

Rango is an animated western voiced by a star-studded cast. Although to some extent marketed as a children’s movie, it contains more violence and coarse language than many others and also explores some mature themes such as identity and belonging. It also contains references to classic westerns that will be missed by children, and some adults.

The main message from this movie is to true to yourself – if you try to be someone or something you are not, then you will always be found out.

Values that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include friendship, honesty, cooperation and bravery

 This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children the importance of fair and just leadership. The mayor was corrupt and wanted to control the water supply in order to build a bigger town at the expense of the townsfolk.

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