When the reviews for Disney’s The Lone Ranger started to pour in, the movie critics all seemed to have one opinion: the movie sucked. When I watched the movie, I admit a part of me was a little skeptical about the film’s quality. What if the critics were right this time? Usually when almost every paid critic has the consensus that a movie is bad, it usually is. (But of course, the audience has the right to watch whatever the hell they want, and think whatever they want.)
And if almost every critic hates a certain film, people don’t see the film. And if no one sees the film, the company loses money. Thus, the theater loses money, and are less likely to show the movie. And all of this happens because some hipster movie critic says so, just so they can maintain a following of fellow hipsters, and not anyone else.
And as I watched I asked myself if I was watching a different film? Because the story I was watching unfold was actually not too bad. Especially if you take into count the original show. (Which is horrible, and the film rights many of the wrongs of the show. Like having Tonto actually talk in sentences.)
Now that I’m done going on my rant against unhelpful critics, let’s dig into the meat of the film.
When it comes to directors, Disney made a great choice in Gore Verbinski. His first Pirates Of the Caribbean was a work of genius (Wish the others were just as good.) , and Rango proved he also knows what makes a Western tick. The Lone Ranger would’ve been a disaster if they chose someone who doesn’t respect the Western genre.
The action sequences were epic, but at times there was a little too much cgi. I understand, cgi at times is the only choice for certain scenes. But do you really need cgi animals that obviously look like cgi? But what I liked the most was that Verbinski avoided the pitfalls of the poor quality of the original show. Like hats never falling off, gunfights being drawn out forever, cackling maniacal villains, etc.
The directing however only does so much. The actors doing the script justice brings the story to life. And the cast is a good one.
Armie Hammer (The Social Network) plays the titular character of the film, and brings life to John Reid, the man who becomes the Lone Ranger. I know, I know, actor Clayton Moore played the Lone Ranger. Moore was good in his time, but Hammer makes the hero act more like a human being. Moore acted almost like an android, and didn’t have any life save for shooting people, and arresting people.
Johnny Depp, in his 5th collaboration with Verbinski is the breakout performer of the film. When it was announced he would play Tonto, many people, myself included, wonder how a white man like Depp would pull off playing a Native American convincingly. The biggest difference between Depp and Jay Silverheels’ version is that Depp’s version is far more intelligent, and you wouldn’t know Depp was white because he’s so convincing as a Native.
I think the writers from the original TV show did Sliverheels a disservice by making Tonto an idiot. Thus, Silverheels didn’t get a chance to show what he could do as an actor. In this movie, Tonto actually speaks in sentences. And avoids the speaking in third person crap from the Westerns of yore.
Even if you hate Westerns, at least watch it for Depp & Hammer’s amazing performances.
And of course, neither the director or the actors would have a movie without a script. Frequent collaborators Terry Rossi & Ted Elliot, writers of movies such as The Mask Of Zorro, the Pirates Of the Caribbean series, and The Road to El Dorado, worked their magic once again. The two respected the source material, but at the same time add some much needed back story to Tonto and The Lone Ranger.
There is a lot of the same dry humor from the other movies the duo has written. But this film isn’t as funny as Pirates. Like Mask Of Zorro, Rossi and Elliot don’t just focus on the things we want to remember about the “Wild West”. It addresses how greed, and how ignorance and the railroad fractured relations with the Native Americans, and out of control corporations of the day did things.
Unlike the classic show, this movie shows more of a connection between The Ranger, and Tonto. Tonto is more of the mentor, while Reid in many ways is his protege, which actually works quite well. And it finally tells the story of how Tonto became who he is, and why he seeks justice for the wrongs of the world.
The movie will have you thinking for awhile after the credits roll.
Overall, I give The Lone Ranger 4 out of 5 stars!
It’s a very exciting Western that will appeal greatly to a modern day audience. And fans of recent superhero blockbusters will feel right at home. And I think it’s safe to say the movie is better than the show, and it will appeal to Ranger fans who have longed for the characters to “grow up”.