The Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger is a frustrating movie. At times good, solid western flick, at others mind-numbingly silly, and at other times far too over the top, it has plenty to offer to everyone but it’s not fully coherent and Johnny Depp needs to take a role that doesn’t require hours of makeup. His Tonto is boring and vapid.

You might enjoy The Lone Ranger if you liked:
Pirates of the Caribbean 2 & 3
Rango
Spaceballs
Rhustler’s Rhapsody

… but no promises.

If you prefer movies that don’t have nonsensical scenes of animals being silly and over-the-top, totally fabricated and pointless explosion scenes, you might want to give The Lone Ranger a pass.

Here’s a trailer:

The deets:

Released July 3, 2013

Written by Justin Haythe, Ted Elliott, and Terry Rossio

Directed by Gore Verbinski

Starring Helene Bonham-Carter, Ruth Wilson, Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, William Fichtner, Barry Pepper, Tom Wilkinson, James Badge Dale, and Stephen Root.

Rated: PG-13

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Story

The story of The Lone Ranger is simple. A clean-cut DA (Hammer) is returning to his frontier hometown where his brother is sheriff and his former flame is his brother’s wife. A railroad tycoon (Wilkinson) will stop at nothing to bring his railroad progress along. A Union army captain (Pepper) shows up for some reason or another. Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) stars as a nutter of an Apache  who wears a bird for a hat is able to show up exactly where he needs to be throughout the film. A psycho(Fichtner) who may or may not be working for the railroad guy wants to kill everyone and might have a vendetta. After the psycho escapes from custody, the DA’s brother (Dale) takes the DA along with a posse and goes into a slot canyon where he himself points out that is perfect for an ambush.

The entire posse is killed, except a horse that is sometimes a spirit guide and sometimes a buffoonish cartoon character indicates to the Apache that the DA is alive. So the Apache revives the DA and they go after the bad guys and they find a saloon owner (Bonham-Carter) who is conveniently angry at the bad guys.

Wait. That’s not simple; that’s mostly just convoluted absurdity used to disguise Depp’s trademarked goofiness and a sad excuse for an homage to a great old Western TV show about heroism and courage and justice.

In any case, the chase is on! Will the railroad magnate manage to take control of everything, including the DA’s nephew? Will the random Union army captain be important to the plot? Will the DA and the Apache ever even break a bone while they are thrown from fast-moving train cars and fall from immense heights and get into numerous fights over the course of a day or two?

Find out all these answers– if you can sit through this far-too-long, generally irritating flick. What makes it worse is that Hammer is a wonderful Lone Ranger and the single arc for that character is great.

Critique

Pretty sure we’ve covered the critique portion fairly well.

Here are the problems with The Lone Ranger:

1. It’s far too long (but how could it not be immensely long with such a convoluted plot?).
2. It’s slapstick and buffoonish and that takes away from the Lone Ranger lore.
3. It’s too full of explosions and over-the-top sequences which would have been better if the conflicts had been more personal.
4. Gore Verbinski directed it and Johnny Depp is in it.
5. Its budget was way too big.
6. Its plot is too complex for what ought to be a Western superhero movie.

Here is what The Lone Ranger gets right:

1. It’s beautifully shot.
2. Armie Hammer.
3. Tom Wilkinson.
4. The Lone Ranger’s character arc.

See The Lone Ranger at your peril.

Very unrecommended.

Content warnings: Plenty of noisy violence, some language, lots of intense scenes.

Writing: 2          Acting: 3.5           Overall: 2.5

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