The Lone Ranger
Starring: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, William Fichtner, Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Wilkinson, Ruth Wilson, James Badge Dale, Barry Pepper
Directed by: Gore Verbinski
Run Time:149 mins
Genre: Action/ Adventure/ Western
Opens July 3rd
By Lisa Minzey of The Reel Critic.com
Hey Phoenix Film Kimo Sabes! Opening this week is “The Lone Ranger” starring Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer and William Fichtner. Can director Gore Verbinski create the magic that radio and television have done with the character of “The Lone Ranger” or will audiences pass on this Western?
This is more of an origins story told from the point of view of Tonto, John Reid’s trusty side kick. What made “The Lone Ranger” so popular 70 plus years ago was the creed he lived by, the imagination of people to rely on what they heard through the radio (eventually a popular TV show and a few feature films), a fascination with Western films and a high standard for American heroes. Is it possible that this film can reignite some of that lost sentimentalism or will modern day audiences shun it based on the liberal philosophy that has penetrated the population’s mindset?
It was 1933; the county fair was in San Francisco, which drew in all sorts of people from all walks of life, considering the Golden Gate Bridge was under construction. A young boy named Will decided that he was going to visit the Wild West exhibition as he is a huge fan (his attire was that of the Lone Ranger). While in the exhibit, he ends up conversing with an old Indian man who was later revealed to be Tonto (Johnny Depp). The “true story” of how the Lone Ranger came to be was that in 1896, John Reid (Armie Hammer) was traveling home to Colby, TX. The railroads were under construction in that part of the country, but the train that Reid was on was transporting a man that was to be extradited to Colby to be hanged. The criminal mastermind that has a date with a noose is Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner), the most feared outlaw in that part of the West. A young Tonto, also prisoner on the train beside Cavendish, has his own reasons for revenge towards the outlaw. All hell breaks loose when Cavendish’s gang breaks him free, taking over the train with passengers still aboard. Reid and Tonto form a unlikely partnership to help save the day. Cavendish gets away, but Reid still takes Tonto into custody as he was a prisoner on the train prior to all the drama.
In Colby, Reid joins his brother Texas Ranger Dan Reid (James Badge Dale) and his men to hunt down the elusive, yet extremely dangerous Cavendish and his gang. Betrayed by one of Dan Reid’s own men, John escapes death, being nursed back to health by Tonto. Together, Tonto and John Reid must be able to put aside their differences, to track down Cavendish, expose evil intentions of the Railroad company and help save the townspeople from war by a local Comanche tribe.
When you see a billing of Johnny Depp and Gore Verbinski, its almost a guarantee to be a loud, exciting film considering their track record (Rango, the Pirates of the Caribbean 1-3, The Mexican). With screenwriting legends such as Terry Rossio and Ted Elliot penning the script, the cast and directors in place, one would hope this would be a summer blockbuster smash. The million (or rather $250 million dollar) question is: Is it any good?
What works well in this filming are the characters, the action and the challenges that Tonto and John Reid (The Lone Ranger) face, which are compelling and entertaining. If you are familiar with the story of "The Lone Ranger", this film is entertaining with a modernized take on a classic story. If you’re not familiar, which is the case for a good portion of the audience, this film may come across as slow to start, but the third act pays off with great action, comedy and excitement. Since it is a Disney film the violence is not as in-your-face but is done with taste; enough to satisfy the audience that has been conditioned to over glorified amounts of violence in modernized action films.
Johnny Depp outshines the rest of his co-stars in this film as he’s a master character actor and truly knows how to create a memorable role that keeps the audience wanting more screen time. Depp transform himself into Tonto and could pass for a true Native American. Armie Hammer, on the other hand, is easy on the eyes, but if you’re not familiar with the character of John Reid, he comes off too passive aggressive for a good portion of the film until the last half hour where he comes into his own. If Johnny Depp wasn’t in this film, could Hammer have carried the film? Doesn’t look too good, Kimo Sabes, as his acting skills need stronger chops. Helena Bonham Carter is her usual quirky self, but lends a much needed comic relief in some of the slower scenes. Plus, she has the coolest prosthetic leg that could be the focus of another film altogether which would be fun to watch as a female driven Western role (hint, hint Disney or Quentin Tarantino). The villains really shine as scumbag characters, gritty and slimy as one would hope for, especially William Fichtner. The makeup department did a fantastic job of turning him into this vile criminal, complete with the scars and burns to give the illusion of pure evil.
Overall, “The Lone Ranger” is worth taking at, especially on the big screen. Be sure to check out “The Lone Ranger” when it opens in theaters nationwide starting Wednesday July 3, 2013.