The Lone Ranger
Directed by Gore Verbinski
Starring Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, William Fichtner, Tom Wilkinson, Ruth Wilson, James Dale Badge, and Helena Bonham Carter.
I’ve always had a soft spot for the character of the Lone Ranger. My earliest conscious memories of television are watching reruns of the old Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels TV series. So a few years back, I was elated when I heard that Disney finally secured the rights to the character and set out to make a new movie version. I was OK when they announced they were putting the same creative team behind Pirates of the Caribbean behind it. I mean, I liked the first Pirates well enough, but the next two just kind of collapsed under the weight of the mythology they tried to create. With the PotC team in charge the first announcement was the Johnny Depp would be playing Tonto, and I admit, that baffled me. And then the early script was leaked that said the Lone Ranger and Tonto would be fighting werewolves, and I started getting into “raping my childhood” levels of distaste. But the finished product is finally here, and my curiosity is still enough to get me to the theatre.
It’s 1869, and John Reid is returning home to Texas after being away at law school for the past 9 years. The world is changing…the railroad is under construction, and John returns home to find his childhood sweetheart has married his brother, and his brother is now a legendary Texas Ranger. On the way home, though, the outlaw Butch Cavendish escapes from a prison transport, and John is quickly deputized by his brother to join the posse to bring in Butch. But, Butch and his gang ambush the posse, and John is the only survivor. Discovered by Tonto, Tonto believes John to be a “spirit walker,” one who has been to the other side and can now not be killed. Convinced by Tonto that Butch may come after any survivors, John decides to conceal his identity to continue his pursuit of Butch. Soon, criminals are haunted by reports of a “Lone Ranger” who’s on the hunt for Butch. Can the Lone Ranger and Tonto bring Butch to justice? What is Butch’s plot? What’s the deal with Tonto? And will the Lone Ranger be able to stick to his principle that true justice isn’t found at the end of a gun?
What I Liked
There are some fantastic action sequences in the film. The climactic train chase is a showstopper. In fact, most of the action sequences are pretty good. Silver is also a scene stealer, as this very odd horse always shows up to provide the necessary deux et machina. Armie Hammer is really good as John Reid/The Lone Ranger as he slowly grows to embrace his role as a frontier lawman. And Helena Bonham Carter is also good as a madame that our heroes encounter in their investigation.
What I Didn’t Like
The film just gets really strange at times. The strangeness mostly revolves around the eccentricities that Tonto has. Plus, you know, Butch is a cannibal, he has what looks to be a transvestite in his gang, and the killer bunny rabbits. There’s more than a few moments that leave you scratching your head.
Weirdness aside, I actually found it rather enjoyable.