Sunday, July 7, 2013


I've always had an appreciation for the stereotypical, old school American Hero; Captain America, Superman (most of the time), and Indiana Jones are some of my favorite fictional characters ever and I really love the idealism and staunch morality behind them. One of the oldest of these characters is The Lone Ranger, who has been resurrected by Disney in a new film by the team behind The Pirates of The Caribbean franchise.

I saw it, and these are my thoughts on it.


One of the biggest draws of the film is Johnny Depp's portrayal of the character Tonto, which has been a source of much speculation and controversy for the film. Admittedly, Depp's portrayal does heavily feature Tonto's often cited broken English dialog, but the film does offer a reason for this and the character's other personality quirks (such as a continuous feeding of the dead crow on his head), thereby isolating the behaviorisms to Tonto himself. Tonto also serves as the film's narrator, which is presented in a quite amusing fashion.

Taking up the lead role of the film, Armie Hammer plays John Reid, a Texan District Attorney who, along with his brother and their posse, is ambushed by the villainous Butch Cavendish and left for dead only to be resurrected as an avenger for justice in the lawless wild west. I did like Hammer's take on the character, and was pleasantly surprised that they were able to keep The Lone Ranger's aversion to killing- which is a trait I think is missing from a lot of today's tales of heroism. That said, I do think that the way the character is written leans a little too heavily on the comedic side of the spectrum and rather than coming across like an Indiana Jones-type character that would have had more charisma and a somewhat comical-but-still-bad-ass vibe, he comes across more like Jack Burton- able, but more than a little buffoonish.

 I think this subtle lack of leadership from the main character is one of the biggest problems that plagues the film as Tonto also lacks this quality. The film also suffers from having one or two more sub-plots than it needs, leaving the film feeling over-bloated. Though I can honestly say I didn't feel the film was too long, I did recognize that it said more than it needed to. For example, we could have done without the war between the Comanche and the Calvary, since it didn't really add much to the story and the actual "war" itself felt underwhelming and lacking in emotional impact; it did aid in Reid's decision to become The Lone Ranger by destroying his faith in the establishment, but that could have been done in a number of ways that the film had previously provided. The scene's political correctness was heavy handed, and though I don't believe anyone can argue that the Native Americans got a raw deal in their treatment by the settlers, I think this story could have been better with more implication of this tragedy, or if they had simply let Tonto's origin speak for itself. Helena Bonham Carter's character, Red Harrington, also feels tacked on and could have been explored in other ways that would have kept the film more concise and made her more relevant.

Despite having these problems with the film, I did enjoy it overall and am already looking forward to a Blu Ray release; and though I would really like a sequel, with the film's dismal performance with critics and at the box office, I sadly can't say I'll be holding my breath. Seriously, the film IS a lot of fun and has some great gags and action scenes, and the characters are very enjoyable, especially the chemistry between Depp and Hammer. Despite what the detractors say, I'd suggest checking this one out for yourself.

No comments: