I saw Rango – Johnny Depp’s new film – this weekend. That’s right: before the actual release date.

Why? Because I went to the premiere.

How? Because the film has a water-efficiency/conservation theme which is a tie-in with work. So yes, I worked on a Saturday, but it was at a Gala Film Premiere: Family Edition.

The red carpet experience was just as I had always thought it would be: we woke up early Saturday morning and took the bus downtown in the grey dawn light; a good premierist never misses a photocall.

Arriving at Leicester Square we slipped inside and mingled with mariachi owls, rubbed shoulders with tweenage highland dancers, snacked on churros, and gladhanded the inflatable cacti that were spread out in the lobby. I worked the room like a showbiz vet.

But that’s not all.

After enjoying a real live mariachi band, we also watched the film. Rango is ostensibly a children’s flick, but it’s also a western with some fairly adult themes and a hearty dose of fifty-cent words. It also has some ugly creatures doing violence and wreaking vengeance.

Apparently a few moms were less than enthusiastic about some of the darker stuff that went on. Sure, but every kid in the theatre was absolutely rapt, and the messages on the importance of being true to self and conserving water were clear as an unmuddied lake.

Sometimes I wonder if parents can be hyper-sensitive about children. Maybe kids have a greater capacity for grown-up content and ideas than we give them credit for. Think about it: kids are just like grown-ups. Only smaller.

And younger.

It was in this spirit of encouraging children to engage with grown-up themes that inspired me to help one young girl discover the importance of sharing.

She was outside the theatre hoarding multiple inflatable cacti. People (mostly the children) had been encouraged to take one. But this kid had four! I urged her – politely – to give one to me.

Because, you know, she didn’t need four. And though she handed it over begrudgingly, hopefully the idea of making some stranger’s day will be worth more to her than having four inflatable cacti. You could say that it was I who gave her a gift.

But if it didn’t work out like that, at least I tried. That’s what premieres are for.