The Lone Ranger
Fun, Exciting, and Western
What do you get when you cross campy humor and fast action with a western fictional icon? Lots of grumbling, that’s what. I have a tendency toward the irreverent, so no grumbling from me.
The Lone Ranger starring Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, and Helen Bonham Carter is one of my favorite 2013 movies, even if I didn’t see it until 2014. Frankly, with all the bad reviews (in America—the reviews abroad were quite positive), my husband and I had no urgent desire to watch it. Then again, we generally like what the critics hate, including Cowboys and Aliens, so those reviews didn’t deter us much, nor did the protests that the 2013 film didn’t follow Lone Ranger canon. I’m a whole lot more interested in good entertainment than in Johnny Depp’s bird headdress or whether Armie Hammer’s John Reid was in the original radio show.
Don’t get me wrong—I loved the television show starring Clayton Moore, and he’ll always be the true Lone Ranger to me. But that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy another character type or another depiction. Jay Silverheels is firmly entrenched in my childhood memories as Tonto. My husband got it right when he said that if the moviemakers would’ve made up a new character instead of using the highly venerated Lone Ranger, the film would’ve been a hit. Funding would’ve been nigh to impossible, though, so likely the film never would’ve happened.
Was The Lone Ranger historically accurate? Of course not. Neither was the original Lone Ranger. Did director Gore Verbinski do a good job with the story world? I thought so. If you didn’t know anything about the Texas Rangers or the events surrounding the driving of the Golden Spike at Promontory Point, you’re off to a good start. The story wouldn’t have worked out if they’d used the actual events and besides, this is fiction, folks. Pure entertainment—not a history lesson.
My 14-year-old grandson, who said he didn’t like westerns, loved it. How’d I get him to watch it? I told him it was a funny movie with lots of shooting similar to Pirates of the Caribbean, and that critics hated it. He’s 14, so that last item was a big draw. He wants to watch it again this weekend and maybe invite some friends.
I suppose with the big to-do and the hesitance of the theater audience that there won’t be a second movie. That would be a shame, because this is the sort of film that requires some time to catch on. My guess is that video sales will make up for any deficiencies at the box office and eventually it’ll become a cult classic.
We’ve screened The Lone Ranger twice this week and will be watching it again in a couple weeks with extended family. Believe me, it’s not a sacrifice. I enjoyed the second viewing more than the first. Armie Hammer has a lot more talent than I expected and I’m looking forward to seeing him in future roles, Johnny Depp’s Tonto didn’t put me off at all as I did expect, and Helen Bonham Carter’s ivory leg was just plain fun.
William Fichtner’s Butch Cavendish role was much more disgusting than it needed to be, but Fichtner did have his “good” bad guy moments. Tom Wilkinson is always an asset to any film, and he played Latham Cole perfectly.
The star of the show was the Spirit Horse (Silver—actually several different horses were used), but I loved the scene where Tonto is trying to convince the Spirit Horse to pick Dan Reid instead of John.
And then there’s the train race—what a finale! And here’s how they did that:
If you didn't see The Lone Ranger in the theater, watch it at home. Even though the action plays great on a large screen (ours is 8' and our recliners are 6' away, per my audio/video engineer spouse--who also has seven huge studio quality speakers each with their own amps... and I don't know what all), I'm sure the film would be great on a normal-size television. But go into it with an open mind and expect to be entertained, because this movie delivers.