A Range of Experience – A review of The Lone Ranger
Title: The Lone Ranger
Production Company: Disney
Run Time: 149 minutes
Director: Gore Verbinski
Stars: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Wilkinson, William Fichtner, James Badge Dale
Summary: Not only are we watching a parody of the Lone Ranger concept, but at some point it had to happen. Johnny Depp is now parodying himself.
What will Johnny Depp do next?
His film career has taken a variety of twists and turns with pirates, vampires, cops, astronauts and gangsters all firmly ensconced on his resume. Now you can add ‘Indian’ to that list.
Depp steps into the role of Tonto for this big screen updating of the television classic series that followed the famous white hat wearing, black mask sporting lawman of the old west who meted out justice to the wicked and rode off to the familiar strains of the William Tell overture.
So, Kemosabe, does this updating measure up to the original series? In so many words, not so much.
The main problem with the film is its effort to parody the original concept. The basic underlying goal of good striving to beat evil and set things right in the world are certainly manifest, but the film seems hell bent on ensuring that we get the laughs along the way too. Not a bad thing, mind you, but when the laughs are at the expense of the iconic hero, the film needs to take a step back and re-evaluate itself.
The hero, John Reid (Armie Hammer) plays second banana to Tonto throughout most of the picture. It seems that every situation and every laugh is aimed at humbling Reid and, while it certainly teaches him humility, it diminishes what the Lone Ranger actually stood for throughout the series, which was greatness in the face of adversity.
Both major characters are upstaged by Silver, the Ranger’s horse, who performs superhuman (or should that be superhorse?) feats through the picture, all while imbibing and belching its way past the censors.
The villains too are less than compelling, given the caliber of actors playing them. Tom Wilkinson, a marvelous actor in his own right, is the smarmy railroad executive whose covert actions to take over the company are so overt that the railroad should have fired him at the first sign of trouble.
And Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner) is so inept that one could hardly believe that this character could possibly have ruled the old west. He evidently never adhered to the old adage about doing the dirty work himself to ensure that it’s done right. Of course if he did, the movie would have been over in five minutes.
Jerry Bruckheimer and Gore Verbinski have teamed up again to present another summer box office blockbuster and the crowds will absolutely flock to see this movie. Don’t get me wrong here – it’s not a bad movie. It just lacks the greatness I would have expected from a movie featuring a legend as iconic as the Lone Ranger.
I give the movie 3 out of 5 stars.
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