Monday, August 19, 2013

The Lone Ranger Review

The Lone Ranger Review
I purposefully sat back on "The Lone Ranger," and waited for the dust to settle. That way, good or bad, when I stated my opinion on this movie, I'd be doing so with authority.

All my life I have never let word-of-mouth sway my opinion, not just with movies but everything. I have walked into every film with an open heart and an open mind. Sometimes I come out disagreeing with critics, other times I agree with them. No matter what though, my opinion is always my own, I am never ashamed of it, I am never embarrassed by it, I feel as I feel and I wouldn't have it any other way. It could be very easy for me to go over to where everybody else have defecated and call it a toilet, but that isn't remotely my style.

I put all the negative reviews and negative buzz revolving this movie out of my memory. I put all the Depp and Hammer interviews discussing how wrong critics were for hating this movie out of my memory. I went in completely cold turkey. What others say never have an effect on me, so it was pretty easy for me to sit down and let the movie play out for me. When a certain group of people are this right on something, however it is nearly overwhelming.

Everything you have read or heard about "The Lone Ranger" is completely true. The poor film just doesn't work and if you've been lucky enough to avoid it this long, I'd say keep the streak alive. There is nothing in this movie that remotely resembles merit, nothing that is exciting or worthwhile. There is definitely nothing that will inspire me for a second outing sometime in the future. With an overstuffed plot, stiff characters, out-of-place violence, unfunny jokes and pointless scenes, "The Lone Ranger" nearly fails from top to bottom.

The movie was made by Gore Verbinski, if the name is unfamiliar, he's the second guy behind Tim Burton who has worked with Johnny Depp the most. Between the first three "Pirates" movies, "Rango" and now this movie, Depp and Verbinski have had quite the journey together. If you ask me, Verbinski gets the most out of Depp compared Burton. However, that is a very faint praise. Depp has decided not to be anything except self-parody in this phase of his career, and his disastrous portrayal of Tonto is exactly that. Also, after watching this movie, "Iron Man 3," and "Star Trek Into Darkness," I can honestly say I am fed up with Hollywood's obsession with "whitening up" iconic, ethnic characters. It has become increasingly incorrigible and if it is to continue, I don't know if I can invest much more in mainstream film-making.

But the wrongheaded characterization of Tonto is the least of this film's worries. The film is so straightforward yet so fat of needless detail that the entire experience is mind-numbing. Taken as a whole, the movie is a revenge story revolving around a lawyer (Armie Hammer) who watches the death of his Ranger brother (James Badge Dale) by an escaped bandit (William Fichtner). The lawyer is left for dead, but is resurrected by Tonto (Depp) who then guides the lawyer to seek justice. We then drift through a dull, boring origin story detailing how the lawyer becomes an undead ranger of sorts. There are dozens of side stories, involving prostitutes with hidden guns, corruption around a railroad track and other nonsense. Then there is a big fight and the movie ends. Wrapped in an unneeded epic bow, that's "The Lone Ranger" in a nut-shell. "The Lone Ranger" suffers from many of the same problems the "Pirates of the Caribbean" sequels suffer from, so many characters with needless subplots that kill the main story-line. Heck, I liked the first "Pirates" film, and even that movie suffered that problem. At least that movie was fun, there is absolutely nothing fun about "The Lone Ranger."

No fun? That's correct. For a PG-13 movie distributed by Disney, this is a vicious, grim movie. The bandit who kills the lawyers brother does so by cutting his heart out and eating it. There are also many shootings and an Indian scalping or two. All of this is incredibly intense for a family-oriented film. I am astonished that the entire experience is so morbid. I normally am not bothered by violence onscreen. But when a movie is being sold to families, it feels very wrong. Families put great trust in the big, blue castle that is the Disney logo, and I definitely feel that trust has been mishandled. Families should steer clear of this, because this is not at all a family film. You may tell me the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies were violent, but trust me "The Lone Ranger" is much worse. Plus,  the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies had lots of content to lighten the mood, there is nothing of the sort in "The Lone Ranger."

Armie Hammer is fine as John Reid, the lawyer who witnesses his brother's murder. It's just too bad we are suppose to root for a character that in not thrilling and throughout much of the movie, a sissy. William Fichtner does what he can with the material, but his villain is way too grizzly for a family-oriented film. Helena Bonham Carter's brothel owner is completely useless. If her character was edited out of the movie completely, it wouldn't matter. Her character only exists to add another big name to the fray, nothing else that helps her character stick. Tom Wilkinson, James Badge Dale, Ruth Wilson and Barry Pepper also do fine with what they are given, but the script is so hammy and logic-less that it is hard to feel any connection to their characters. 

After a two-and-a-half hour movie with only twenty minutes of fun, I was very frustrated that I allowed myself to sit through this one. I feel that both Depp and Hammer are frivolous for thinking "The Lone Ranger" was actually good. I pray if you stayed away from "The Lone Ranger" this entire summer, that you keep up the good work. There is absolutely nothing worth remembering.

Oh! Can somebody tell me what the point was of having Tonto and John Reid pretend to rob a bank at the beginning of the film? Anybody? Anybody?

FINAL GRADE: D-

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