The biggest and most occurring questions asked in Rango are the ones that follow; who am I, or who are you? Throughout the whole movie, Rango tried to figure out who he is. The movie opens up with Rango acting out a scene, but then stops and realizes that his play is missing something; his character needs to be more defined and is in need of conflict. After falling off the car, and having his home shattered, he finds conflict, but still has no clue of who he really is. Talking to the armadillo, he comes across the fact that because no one knows him, he can be anyone he wants to be.
In the duration of the movie, Rango evaluates who he is, and who he can be. In this way, I can relate Rango to Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, the famous philosopher. One main point of Nietzsches writings was the will to power. Originally Schopenhauers created the idea of utilitarianism, which is the notion of an aimless will, claiming that many humans main motivation is simply to be happy. Nietzsche rejected that idea when he stated that happiness is not the main goal, but a result of successfully fulfilling ones main goals, and overcoming challenging obstacles-in the long term, fulfillment of the will.
Rangos character is too raw and undeveloped in the beginning, when he gets to the town of Dirt and creates this strong, law abiding, Sheriff persona, he comes to believe that this is who he actually is. When Rattlesnake Jake, proves that Rango is a liar and forces Rango to leave town, the armadillo and him have another encounter. In that encounter, the armadillo points out that it is the deeds that make the man. After hearing this, Rango returns to Dirt, fully aware of whom he is. Another way humans define themselves, is through religion.
Though religion is a touchy subject for some people, it is expressed and shown numerous times throughout the movie. The first time Rango meets Roadkill (the armadillo), is when Rango must help the armadillo up because he got smashed by a car. When Rango, questions the reason for Roadkills suicide mission, the old armadillo answers that it is because the Spirit of the West is waiting for him on the other side. That is not the last time the Spirit of the West is mentioned. The acting deity is referred to at the ritual for water that happens every Wednesday and noon.
Right before, completing the ritual, the villagers send a prayer to the Spirit of the West, ending in amen. The villagers of Dirt go into a sort of trance, when they hear that 12 Oclock bell chime. Each resident grabs a bottle and gets in the line. Once they reach the end of their ritual, they are all standing in front of a water spigot, praying for water to once again overwhelm the town. After saying a short prayer to the Spirit of the West, the mayor holds up the valve handle, in the shape of a cross inside a circle.
The mayor holds up the handle, much like a priest would hold up the consecrated host, signaling the ritualistic and religious behavior of old and current civilization. The mayor plays a very important role in the film as well as the analogy. The mayor represents the corrupt government leaders of the world. In the film, the water of Dirt basically runs out. The people are barely scraping by without water, and desperately need their problem to be fixed. They mayor was there, in the town of Dirt, long before it became a barren wasteland, so he knows how much a true city can thrive.
The once great leader became corrupted by the notion of power and influence he had over the towns people by controlling what they needed the most; water. The mayor wanted to have everything under his control, every piece of land, every piece of business and so on. The town, was one day thriving, living the great American life, and then the next, businesses were shutting down, land was drying up, and the drought was more serious than ever. While the mayor and his comrades laughed about getting all the water to themselves, the villagers lived in hardship.
That situation reminds me of Jean-Claude Duvalier, president of Hati from 1971-86. Jean-Claude resumed the position of president after his predecessor and father, passed. The United States put a lot of pressure on Jean-Claude to restore the great land of Hati, from the dictatorial regime of his father. In the beginning, he was successful. He introduced reforms, replaced cabinet members, and released political prisoners. Though all was not as it seemed, and his reign did not differ much from his fathers.
While his people were living in poverty, he continued to live a luxurious lifestyle with his wife. In fact, his wedding along cost $3 million US dollars. Many people wondered for ages, how all this was possible, and eventually, the truth came out. As it turns out, Jean-Claude had been in several drug trades as well as selling body parts of dead Haitians. After his dark secrets were revealed, he fled to France, and for the next two decades, served a self-imposed exile. This year, on the 16th of January, he was spotted in Hati.
The following day, he was arrested for the possible charges of embezzlement, and corruption. Currently, Duvalier is expected to be held in trial before a judge in Port-au-Prince. Yet, the situation makes you think, that in the same way the townspeople looked to the mayor for guidance and resurrection, the Haitian inhabitants, looked to Duvalier for savior from the awful dictatorship before him. What the mayor and Duvalier both have in common, is the aspect of the hero, saving the land. The biggest thing I found Rango to have in common with the world is human adaptation.
It was obvious in the beginning of the film, that Rango did not belong in Dirt. After figuring that out for himself, he took on the task of adapting to his surroundings. He studied the ways they walked, talked, and held themselves in their everyday life. The villagers very bluntly showed that they did not take well to strangers, and are against the idea of anyone being different. The residents showed that it is easier to survive, if you do not stand out. Rango derived from the towns behavior that, he would be much more likely to survive, if he behaved like one of them.
Our human ancestors ran into many of the same problems Rango did. They had to adapt to their environment, in order to survive. Rango had nothing when he began his journey, as did our ancestors. With nothing more than rock tools (spears, knives, etc. ) they trekked out of Africa and towards the middle east and then westward. Our beginning ancestors not only had to adapt to their environment, but they had to shift their eating habits, to whatever was available to them. Similar to the way the people of Dirt drank cactus juice because of the lack of water availability.
There are no limitations when it comes to relating history to the things we see around us. After all, without history, there would not be a present. The film Rango takes themes you see in everyday world history and places them into terms and situations that any age group may understand. Mainly the characters in the film can represent various figures in real life; Human identity, religion, government, hero worship, and human adaptation in the past have all influence how the world is now.