Johnny Depp

Rango (PG)

The first 20 minutes of this are among the funniest and most brilliant of any animated movie I've seen. Johnny Depp voices, superbly, a hapless bulging-eyed chameleon named Rango who stumbles upon authority after lying – with his forked tongue – about an heroic past as a gunslinger. The drought-afflicted desert town of Dirt makes him their sheriff, though it's a poisoned chalice given that the place is actually run by a wily old tortoise who sounds (and looks) like John Huston. The script, by John Logan, unfolds a classic Western tale that leans heavily on the plot of Chinatown. Gore Verbinski and his visual consultant Roger Deakins work marvels, both in the animal characterisation and the parched desert scrubland where most of it takes place. What children will make of in-jokes about Hunter S Thompson and Clint Eastwood is anyone's guess, but they should enjoy the magnificent setpieces – one chase involving a giant metal-beaked hawk is priceless – while Johnny Depp's puckish, free-associating spiel has an eccentric charm all of its own. It's one of his greatest roles.

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The ability to create memorable oddball characters for even the most unwieldy of blockbusters separates Johnny Depp from the more generic leading men of his generation – and that alone should be reason enough to check out a BFI series dedicated to the star's most memorable work. Throw in the surreal quality of the films on show, from the downright odd Ed Wood and the bloody Sweeney Todd to the magical Edward Scissorhands and the forthcoming Alice in Wonderland, and missing out would be more catastrophic than the dialogue from Pirates of the Caribbean. From Monday,