Every year there are movies that just have to be seen, movies that should never be seen, and the mediocre filler that falls in the middle.

Gore Verbinski’s animated “Rango” is one of those movies that just has to be seen. The main character appears in a blazing acapulco shirt, and decides to make a name for himself in a small western town named Dirt.

The main character is also a chameleon. If it sounds like the next Pixar movie, you couldn’t be farther off the mark. Gore Verbinski has shown a unique ability to adapt to different genres. From “The Ring” to “The Weather Man” to the wildly popular “Pirates of the Caribbean” trilogy, Verbinski has done it all.

In Rango, he teams up once again with actor Johnny Depp to deliver a CGI animated film that looks and feels so real that you forget you’re watching a ‘cartoon’ about 8 minutes in, and the animation is just the beginning: the characters, the script, the panache, and the sheer sense of adventure of the movie all come to life and fling you into a living, breathing world populated by a menagerie of slow-drawling, quick-drawing, talking animals.

Although the movie is essentially marketed towards children, the script and humor seem to favor an audience of teens and adults more so than tots, and many of the jokes will pass right over the little ones’ heads.

The story centers on Rango (Depp) and his search to become more than just a cowardly lizard. Stranded and friendless in the middle-of-nowhere town of Dirt, Rango decides to make a change in his life and adopts a tough guy persona that gets him the title of sheriff. In come the bad guys, and Rango discovers that there’s more to being strong than just acting big and bad. The theme of finding a stronger power within is by no means original, but “Rango” has enough imagination and style to make it seem real.