Okay, I think I’ve got this figured out. From my assessment, it seems that the animators and screenwriters started out with an engaging premise and touching animated tale about a pet lizard who suddenly finds himself in the wild. Then about halfway into the work, they started experimenting with some pretty heavy-duty hallucinogenic drugs while simultaneously watching The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, Deliverance, Apocalypse Now, the destruction of the Death Star and a Salvador Dali retrospective. That’s what I’m guessing anyway.

Rango (Johnny Depp) is an imaginative little lizard. When his glass cage is bounced out of the back of a moving car, he suddenly finds himself in the middle of the Nevada desert without any of his usual creature comforts. He wanders into the town of Dirt, where he finds a pretty lizard rancher, Beans (Isla Fisher), a crusty mayor (Ned Beatty) and a town crippled by drought. Rango is quickly appointed sheriff and tasked to find out what has happened to the water supply.

Unfortunately for the filmmakers, they got a little existential. So what was a confusing and labyrinthine story for the kiddos became a thinly veiled condemnation of modern politics and organized religion for the adults…or maybe I’m reading into it. There is a lot of humor and some very clever moments, but I have to say I have the perfect gift for director Gore Verbinski: an editor.