Letter to the editor

Justin Law

Dear Editor:

I just read Bryce Beale’s review of “Rango” in this week’s Shield, and I have to wonder whether he and I saw the same film.  At the end of his review, Mr. Beale charges that the film is an affront to Christians. 

How? Where? I missed it.

Granted, since “Rango” is derivative of all the old Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns, it does have an element of existentialism – man vs. nature, good vs. evil, individual vs. the crowd, Clint Eastwood vs. Lee Van Cleef, etc… but the filmmakers mostly poke fun at those conventions rather than make some heavy-handed statement. 

Nowhere is a blasphemous word uttered.  Nowhere is it implied that God is nonexistent, uninvolved or malevolent.  “Rango” is neither religious nor non-religious.  It’s a cartoon, for crying  out loud, and Bryce Beale needs to lighten up.

However, if one must look for “theology” in “Rango,” I would argue that the film’s message is certainly more Christian than non-Christian. 

Rango, after disgracing himself in the desert town of Dirt, exiles himself to the desert, where, in a hallucinatory moment, he is convinced by a golf-cart riding Clint Eastwood surrogate to return to the scene of his crime and reestablish order.  Is that so different from Moses, who, after killing an Egyptian, wandered in the desert where he is told by a voice in a burning bush to return to Egypt and ask Pharoah to let his people go?  

Is it radically different from Jesus exiling himself in the Judean wilderness for forty days and nights before returning to civilization to begin his life’s work?  The archetype is the same:  Hero exiles himself to a place where some supernatural force  (God, burning bush, Clint Eastwood in a golf cart) tells him to return and set things right.

Don’t miss “Rango” on account of one misguided review. 

My 10-year-old daughter and I loved it. I probably liked it even more than she did since I had some knowledge of the old spaghetti westerns. There is nothing irreverent about it. 

It’s a classic good vs. evil tale, and in the end, good wins.  (Oops! Maybe I shouldn’t reveal too much.)

My daughter Lily and I give it two thumbs up.

Randy Pease (USI Dept. of English)