Rango
2011
**
Director: Gore Verbinski
Cast: Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty, Alfred Molina, Bill Nighy, Stephen Root, Harry Dean Stanton, Ray Winstone, Timothy Olyphant

Stranded in Mojave Desert, a pet chameleon pretends to be a tough guy named Rango and becomes the sheriff of Dirt, a western town which is running short of water. John Logan’s script takes the water supply plot straight from Chinatown and beefs it up with numerous other movie references. The hero is a narcissistic phony, and the supporting characters feature various exotically ghastly desert creatures. Gore Verbinski’s unusual animation is too weird and clever-clever for children, but it looks like great fun for the parents, at least on paper. The story is ultimately nonsensical and formulaic, and the humour is too reliant on injokes. It all goes on too long, and especially Rango’s machine gun dialogue (voiced by Johnny Depp) becomes increasingly exhausting. An Academy Award winner for Best Animated Film.