The Lone Ranger has finally arrived and I thank the gods for this. If I had to sit through the trailer one more time I could not have been held responsible for my actions in a court of law. It feels like the trailer has been played in the cinema at least once a week since the dawn of time.
The bandwagon of hatred may have rolled down my way this week but I promise you I didn’t jump on board brandishing my pitchfork and torch. My dislike of The Lone Ranger began with the teaser trailer which I hated from the off and my long running love-to-hate relationship with Johnny Depp.
The trip to see The Lone Ranger on opening weekend was inevitable. It was to prove to myself that it was possible to go to the cinema without that trailer being played. This thought process happened fairly recently with Flight. The trailer for Flight played for years prior to the film’s release and I went to see it with a “thank the gods it’s over” attitude. Flight turned out to be an amazing film.
Despite my premeditated hatred of the The Lone Ranger I was daring it to “pull a Denzel”.
PLOT: In 1869 John Reid, a newly deputised Ranger, rides out with his older brother to capture Butch Cavendish, (William Fichtner) a notorious outlaw. The Rangers are ambushed and John watches his brother get brutally murdered. John is saved by Tonto (Johnny Depp) and the mismatched pair form an unsteady alliance to bring Cavendish to justice. END PLOT
As The Lone Ranger is an origins story focusing on John/Tonto’s first adventure is perfectly acceptable. The major mistake was to have an older Tonto retelling this particular tale to a boy in 1933. The only purpose it served was to add unnecessary length to a never ending film.
The technique highlighted the weaknesses in the script as when the Comanche Chief was telling John the tale of Tonto’s childhood we had a flashback scene within a flashback. It also made the film feel extremely disjointed with the main storyline being brought to an abrupt halt to watch a random child eat peanuts in 1933. At one stage the jump forward to 1933 was signalled by Johnny Depp mugging into the camera. The framing device should have been cut completely. It was an absolutely terrible idea.
Metaphor. No caption required.
The tone was as disjointed as the plot. Hammer and Depp appeared to be going for slapstick whereas every other cast member played it straight. This left us with cartoon humour against a gritty Wild West backdrop.
The attempts at comedy failed for the most part and I found myself being more embarrassed than amused – this isn’t to say that I didn’t smile. There were a few moments when a smile sneaked out thanks to the antics of the horse.
As soon as Armie Hammer realised that he would be relegated to the sidekick in his own film he should have got on the horse and rode off into the sunset. Given the origins theme it was fine to let the Ranger have his coming of age moment. Unfortunately the Ranger spent the film stupidly bumbling around only to come good in the last ten minutes when he became an expert rider and could use a whip better than Indiana Jones.
Hi Ho Silver, take me to my dignity!
The casting of Johnny Depp as Tonto wasn’t a mistake. The mistake was giving Depp the lead role and an extended amount of screen time as with Johnny Depp less is always more. It wasn’t as excruciatingly bad as I predicted but it was by no means an enjoyable watch. My neck muscles are now the size of The Rock’s from cringing so hard.
One of them is talented, amusing, and entertaining. The other is called Johnny
The supporting cast were all fine in their very limited parts. William Fichtner as Cavendish was excellent as was James Badge Dale (Dan Reid; a much more interesting character than John).
The Lone Ranger had a staggering budget of $250million (IMDB) so the funds were there to create some spectacular action scenes but like everything else it didn’t quite work. The opening train crash sequence was ridiculously silly however the shoot-em-up battles looked good. The mishmash of cartoon and grounded action clashed as the film couldn't get the balance right.
I will admit that the final set piece on the train was great fun. It was fast paced, well choreographed and genuinely amusing. There is an argument to be had that at one stage the horse defied both the laws of gravity and physics but I can let this go. The ten minute train ride was the best part of the entire film.
The Lone Ranger had potential and many opportunities to succeed but it refused to take them. The film could have worked as a solid 90min action comedy however the film was such a bloated mess I have had to resort to visual aides to describe it. Thank you Monty Python.
The Lone Ranger gets 4/10. The combination of Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp is as arrogant as the Burton/Depp partnership is stale. If heads have to roll at Disney it deserves to be theirs.
Don't listen to the bad reviews Johnny. If you don't hear them they can't possibly be true.
Now if you will excuse me. I am off to watch and enjoy John Carter.............