The Lone Ranger (2013)- Gore Verbinski


Fun for audiences – not for critics


For his latest effort in re-imagining a forgotten genre, director Gore Verbinski (“Pirates of the Caribbean”) has transported us back into the old west for some adventure under the sun, in “The Lone Ranger” (2013). The Lone Ranger (2013)Based, of course, on the 1950’s television show, that is in turn based on the 1930’s radio program, “The Lone Ranger” is a film about a group of Texas Rangers that are ambushed by Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner) and his notorious gang of killers. All the Rangers are thought dead, but with the assistance of a spirit-walking horse and an Indian warrior named Tonto (Johnny Depp), one of the Rangers (Armie Hammer) comes back to life.

Tonto says that the former Ranger should now wear a mask to conceal his true identity as he begins a journey to seek justice for the other fallen Rangers, including his brother, Dan (James Badge Dale). Together, Tonto and The Lone Ranger chase down Cavendish, who is working with a corrupt railroad man to transport silver out of the mountains. This unlikely pair also are looking for Dan’s widow (Ruth Wilson) and son (Bryant Prince), who were kidnapped by Cavendish.

The Lone Ranger (2013)“The Lone Ranger” isn’t exactly a faithful retelling of the story we love because the star of the film is Tonto, instead of the title character. Of course, that’s what you get when you hire mega-star Johnny Depp to play the sidekick. Depp has truly become a master of eccentric characters, and he plays Tonto with a Buster Keaton deadpan that makes him irresistible. Armie Hammer (along with the films screenwriters) has chosen to turn The Lone Ranger into a naive, simple-minded hero who falls into the villains hands at every turn. Then he just has to sit and wait for Tonto to save him, again.

It’s not that the film is bad, it’s just not all that it could be. The Lone Ranger (2013)With the exception of a couple of over-the top moments early on, the film plays more like a western drama through the first hour and a half. The plot details are in abundance, and overly complex. William Fichtner is a disgustingly grotesque villain who just muddles up the light-hearted feel of things.  There are no surprises, or at least not any good ones, and it’s easy to find yourself pining for the moment that things really heat up.

That moment does come at the film’s climax, that is so over the top, it’s just laughable. But that’s alright. Once the William Tell Overture starts playing, the film can do no wrong, despite its efforts. The Lone Ranger (2013)Every cheesy, over-the-top, improbable event takes place… and it takes fun to a whole new level. Unlike so many Hollywood movies, “The Lone Ranger” resonates with enjoyability and fun. The director had fun, the writers had fun, the actors had fun and the audience has fun. It is quite refreshing, in a way, to see a movie get made because someone thought it sounded amusing. Trains, horses, cowboys and Indians- what’s not to love?

The Lone Ranger (2013)

Other aspects of the production turned out nicely, as well, like the supporting cast, with actors like Tom Wilkinson, Barry Pepper and Helena Bonham Carter providing a much appreciated lift to the numerous dialogue plagued scenes.The Lone Ranger (2013) Also, the location shooting was a grand addition, with the west looking as glorious as it has since the days of John Ford.

Should critics be giving “The Lone Ranger” great reviews? Certainly not. It was made to entertain, not impress. It is, however, a far cry better than other entertainment driven western films, like “Wild Wild West” (1999) and “Cowboys and Aliens” (2011). Don’t expect to see a film that will make any top ten lists, just see it enjoy yourself.

0 thoughts on “The Lone Ranger (2013)- Gore Verbinski

  1. Jane says:

    I agree with you, Paul. I said this morning that I thought it was fine, not great. At least half of the movie was too slow and predictable, and the was filled with fun and excitement. I enjoyed the action sequences, especially all of the ridiculous stunts taking place in the train sequences. So fun! But between those scenes I spent a lot of the film waiting for the next scene in which Tonto could do or say something hilarious and pick things back up.

    One thing that bothered me was the seriously sinister villain and the gruesome nature he brought to the film. Despite the PG-13 rating, many families will be taking their 8-12 year old children to see this film. I would seriously rethink that. Even though not every nasty detail was directly shown on camera, not much was left to the imagination and was just too gross for my comfort. I will not be showing it to my kids any time soon.

    Another quirky and fun character for Depp was, as I anticipated, the most enjoyable part of the film. I wonder why it wasn’t called Tonto?


    • Paul says:

      Glad to see we’re in agreement here. I don’t know why the need was felt to make the film more gruesome. It wouldn’t have taken much to make this film more appropriate for kids around eight or nine. Considering how much they are hoping to find an audience, I would think that a more family friendly film would have helped them. I suppose “Pirates of the Caribbean” had the whole ghost element going on too, so perhaps they really are just targeting teenagers and up.

      It still was a good way to spend a couple of hours and I look forward to seeing it again one day.


    • Paul says:

      I did find it fun, but not the kind I was expecting. It’s one of those films that if you go into it with high expectations, you will probably be disappointed.


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