Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Lone Ranger Review

The Lone Ranger was a huge movie project that came out this past week, right before Independence Day. Sadly it was a disaster waiting to happen and everybody knew it. The problem? The budget on the movie was upwards of $250 million and the attempt was at a western movie. The western genre was really popular back in the day and has had some recent attempts to bring it back, but the honest truth is that crowds don't swarm out to see westerns anymore as no western has ever grossed over $200 million in the US. Even highly reviewed recent westerns like the True Grit remake and Django Unchained barely topped $150 million, which was fine for them because their budgets were significantly smaller. The Lone Ranger was made by the same crew that made Pirates of the Caribbean and since that franchise has earned over $3 billion worldwide, they were certain that if they slapped that on the advertising and brought on Johnny Depp that they would have this in the bag and the huge budget wouldn't matter. Nope. Huge mistake. It made just under $50 million in the US during its five-day Independence Day weekend and will probably end with just over $100 million. Early reports are that Disney may lose close to $200 million on the project, which really won't matter that much as they have their Marvel movies coming out as well as Star Wars Episode VII, but still. That's a lot of lost money. All this is a really sad story to me because, despite the awful critic reviews, I actually found myself really liking the movie.

If I were to call myself a big fan of the original Lone Ranger TV series, it would actually be a lie. Nothing against it really. If I were to watch it, I am positive that I would enjoy it. I just haven't seen it. But I do know enough about it and I'm a huge fan of the classic Lone Ranger theme song, which is simply an arrangement of the William Tell Overture, one of the best classic pieces ever written. But back on track. In this Lone Ranger remake, what we have is essentially the origin story of the Lone Ranger. John Reid is a man of the law who gets promoted to Texas Ranger. After a series of events, the group of rangers gets ambushed and Reid is left as the "lone" ranger, finding himself teamed up with the crazy Indian Tonto. The two are out to get justice on one Butch Cavendish for different reasons but conflict arises when the two have differing views of justice. And thus we have our movie.

While admittedly a bit long, the movie is very engaging and quite brilliant in my opinion. Except for one major aspect. It is told Princess Bride style with old Tonto recounting the story to a young boy who wanders into a museum. In my opinion they could've totally scrapped that. Outside that, though, the story was good. It was balanced with plenty of drama, great action scenes, and quite a bit of humor provided by Johnny Depp as Tonto and the horse Silver. Overall the acting was really good and there was plenty of character progression throughout that worked. Armie Hammer took the lead role as the Lone Ranger and he pulled it off quite fantastically. Many will complain at Johnny Depp in this because he plays his same quirky character that he always plays. Do I see why people are bothered by it? Of course. Was I bothered by it? Not really. Sure, I think if they had cast an actual Native American for the role it would've been better. Yes, Johnny Depp is 1/16th Native American or something like that, but I'm talking full blooded Native American. They cast many of them in this movie and they could've cast one more. But it didn't bother me that much. Also in terms of the cast, the main villain was played by William Fichtner and he did a great job. Helena Bonham-Carter also made an appearance in more of a minor role, but was entertaining.

What really made the movie for me was the ending. I mentioned earlier that I really love the Lone Ranger theme. I wasn't completely sure if we were going to get it in full, but as the final battle scene began there it started. And my was it beautiful. Not only that, but as that fantastic song was playing, the actual end battle was super awesome. I obviously won't go into details as to why as that will spoil it, but needless to say I really enjoyed it. And along with that great action in the end going alongside the great music, it is of note that visually the movie is a masterpiece and that also helped it out a lot.

The most disappointing part of the movie was upon it ending, I knew that this was it. Due to the huge financial bomb, no way in heck will a sequel be made and that is unfortunate because this is a movie that really deserves a sequel. Oh well. At least I can go back and watch this one as much as I want as I am certain that will happen. No sequels will probably also motivate me to actually go back and watch the old TV series as I will need to get an additional Lone Ranger kick because I really was a huge fan of this movie. Best of the year? No. But it was entertaining enough to warrant an 8 out of 10 grade from me.

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