It is obvious Rango pays tribute to seemingly every western film ever made, and I just realized one in particular. I don’t think I’m giving away any spoilers, but I reference a couple of early scenes.
Buster Keaton made “Go West” in 1925. He plays a down on his luck easterner who hops a freight train and heads west to find his fortune. On the train he falls into a barrel, which rolls out the door and smashes into pieces on the ground. Which is similar to Rango and his terrarium falling into the desert. Shortly after that, he wanders onto a cattle ranch, and we get this scene here:
When Rango enters the town of Dirt he doesn’t want to attract attention, so he imitates three of the walks he sees there.
Buster doesn’t just see a peculiar walk and instantly replicate it perfectly. Charlie Chaplin would probably do that. With Buster there are lots of little things happening.
- He stops and spends a moment watching the cowboy walk.
- He looks down at his legs, and gets the initial pose. This is build up.
- Then he fully enters the walk, which is funnier for the discrete steps in getting there.
- As he reaches the foreman he wobbles and falls.
- He gets back up, but closer to his normal state, then he pops back down into the cowboy walk.
It’s more than just a funny walk, Buster emphasizes the unsteadiness of his feet and his imitation, which makes it more endearing.
I wonder if Buster inspired this scene in Rango.