The Lone Ranger (movie review)

The Lone RangerOK – I finally got to see The Lone Ranger!

Having done so, I’m confused – why is there all this negative buzz flying around?  Why have the pompous mainstream critics broken out their thesauri to shred it? I don’t get it.  Then again, some critics didn’t use a thesaurus at all, yes, I’m looking at you Joe Williams from the St. Louis Post Dispatch – and my eyes are buggin’ like a Minion’s:

“Except for the dynamic finale, The Lone Ranger feels like a long, slow ride to the dump, to the dump, to the dump, dump, dump.” – Joe Williams (score:  50/100)

Trust me when I say this, I had to warm up to the idea of even going to see the movie.  Johnny Depp as Tonto? I couldn’t wrap my head around that one for the longest time.  I thought he was going to be Jack Sparrow’s Native American (Comanche) cousin – which, to a certain extent, he was.  Then I saw a television spot about three weeks ago and decided I was hooked – and had been dying to see this movie ever since – guess what – I’d go see it again!

Read Joe Williams’ review of “The Lone Ranger”

It’s a summer blockbuster – it’s purpose was to breathe new life into a classic character and to entertain the masses.  That goal was easily achieved.  I don’t think Disney’s intention was to create a cinematic masterpiece, or something able to compete with the art-house films that make the critics coo like babies.  That said, I really enjoyed this movie and its storytelling model.

I love a story that fluctuates between old-time America (ca. 1930s) and older-time America (ca. mid-1800s).  It provides a sense of nostalgia that you can only duplicate with movies.  The flashback model is a proven success, but The Lone Ranger could have used less fluctuation and just stuck with the story in flashback for longer intervals (like Titanic or Water for Elephants).  I didn’t find Tonto, the old storyteller as captivating as young Tonto (until the very end), and therefore could have done with fewer scenes of old-man Depp.

THE LONE RANGERLike always, when it comes to these odd-ball characters, Johnny Depp actually turned in a good performance.  Sure, sometimes he acts like Captain Jack with different clothes and face paint, but overall, he was entertaining and had some of the most comedic lines.  Typical of him in these types of roles, but as the adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” – he was fine.  Tonto was fun.

Arguably, Tonto may have been less fun if he weren’t paired with Armie Hammer as The Lone Ranger (kudos to the casting director – Denise Chamian).  Hammer is charismatic, there’s no question – but something about him in this role just clicked perfectly.  I think it was his voice, combined with his stature.  He looks and sounds like a classic Western movie star – and his character is built up perfectly as the underdog – Armie Hammer in the title role simply works (too bad The Lone Ranger is under-performing at the box office, I wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel).

Track the financial success of “The Lone Ranger” on Box Office Mojo

Aside from the few technical goofs (Golden Gate Bridge – incomplete/complete in the 1930s?), there are some train sequences that really get your heart racing and simply provide really nice action, particularly the finale.  And then there’s the music that just really sucks you into the moments and the pace.

William Fichtner - Lone RangerMaybe the thesauri-pods (ahem, dinosaurs) and I watched a different movie, but from where I was sitting (directly in the middle of the theater) this movie was a win – a fun story and adventure, and it’s one I won’t mind hearing or taking again.  I say job well done.

Oh, did I mention,  I really liked Helena Bonham Carter (as Red Harrington), Ruth Wilson (as Rebecca Reid), and William Fichtner (as Butch Cavendish)?  Of course I didn’t – but now you know I did.  I think Fichtner did a great job in his villainous role – he was pretty despicable.

Grade:  B+ 



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