rango-movie-poster230.jpgWhy any movie marketed towards kids would feature animated characters lighting up with cancer sticks is totally beyond us.

Rango, featuring the voice of Johnny Depp, is the latest computer animated feature to hit the big screen, and it's already gaining heavy criticism for featuring its characters enjoying cigarettes. Whose decision was it to leave that in? We don't get why something like that would even make it past the cutting room floor. There is even an organization, Smoke Free Movies, which was created specifically to eliminate the use of tobacco in films.

After several critics viewed the film, a full-page ad was taken out in The Hollywood Reporter questioning what the heck happened in the editing room. The ad's headline states:

    "How many studio execs did it take to OK smoking in a 'PG' movie? What was Paramount thinking?"

We totally agree. But Paramount fired back, claiming the smoking in Rango isn't intended to be glamorous, and Johnny Depp's character is tobacco-free.

A spokesperson for Paramount Pictures, told TheWrap:

    "Rango is an animated action comedy that features the protagonist chameleon, Rango, as the hero of a woebegone western town populated by talking owls, rats, lizards, turtles and prairie dogs. The images of smoking in the film, which primarily involves the animals, are portrayed by supporting characters and are not intended to be celebrated or emulated. Rango is never depicted as smoking. Paramount takes the issue of smoking seriously and we’ve been responsive to the concerns of anti-tobacco groups.”

So why feature cigarettes at all? Smoke Free Movies argued in its ad, "Does Rango show much smoking? Few PG films do. So why include it at all? It's a bad guy who smokes? No excuse, either. The research finds that bad guys can have more influence than good guys on kids' starting to smoke."

Kids are impressionable at any age, so it's probably wise to keep movies like this a lot more G than PG.