Roger Deakins (True Grit) may have just lost the Academy Award for a criminal ninth time, but his talent as a cinematographer is one of the secret weapons in the first CG movie from live-action director Gore Verbinski (the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy). Deakins has the same advisory role he filled on Pixar’s gorgeous WALL•E, only now he’s advising the talented artists at Industrial Light and Magic, which is debuting here as a full-fledged animation house after more than 35 years as the premier visual-effects provider. ILM’s work, giving life to a frontier town full of parched, mangy-lookin’ anthropomorphized critters — including Johnny Depp as the title chameleon and new sheriff, Isla Fisher as his lizard love interest, Ned Beatty as a conniving, Noah Cross–like turtle — is simply stunning, and John Logan’s script gives them adult-oriented, movie-related in-jokes to drawl on. Best of all? It’s not in 3D!
107 MINUTES | BOSTON COMMON + FENWAY + FRESH POND + CHESTNUT HILL + SUBURBS