Friday, June 6, 2014

The Lone Ranger (2013) Review:

There are a number of lenses that are used to looking at the financial failure of this film. Was it that its genre was in based on the old west? Apparently as of late for the past decade or so, most vigilante westerns have suffered; Jonah Hex (2010) being the most recent. Or was it perhaps that the main lead was that of an unknown actor who which most viewers ignored? I don't know, it's a possibility. It certainly was definite that Disney was expecting first, partially its reputation and the other half of Johnny Depp's doing to bring in the profit. Weird as it is, even Depp couldn't help save it from not meeting viewers’ expectations. That's hard to believe considering Johnny Depp is like a magnet, but like most respected actors, it wasn't him that made the film almost mediocre. It was other parts – mostly the writing.

The Lone Ranger & Tonto meet Red Harrington
The entire movie is an origin story to that of how The Lone Ranger AKA John Reid (Armie Hammer) and Native American, Tonto (Johnny Depp) become the west’s most well-known vigilantes of the late 1800s. The first mistake that's made is Gore Verbinski's direction of how the story is told. Verbinski is better than this. A boy visits a museum at the local carnival and discovers a grotesquely aged Tonto. It is there that the elderly Tonto tells the origin. Wait though, why is Tonto in a museum? Is that his job? Yeah, it's supposed to be comical in some respects but it leaves other questions open without answers. For example, where is the aged John Reid? What occupation does he do for a living now? Or did he die? Why create a separate time with multiple questions when there's already a time being told, where questions need to be answered first? All it does is distract certain viewers.

This is just one problem with the writers work, surprisingly two of which have written for the Pirates of the Caribbean films. Unfortunately, the only writing that seems to work are the lines for Johnny Depp. And this would work IF Depp were the real main character. It's no doubt that Depp plays one of the main leads, but he is not The Lone Ranger, which leads to another issue; character interactions. Armie Hammer as John Reid is cast well for the part, but it's the way his character is written that feels out of place. Like most duo lead films, the pair will have friction because of conflicting opinions. However, it seems like John Reid is one of those characters who never learns to change quick enough. It's sad to see because audiences want to feel sympathy for a character, but making him or her look like a jerk, becomes difficult to actually like the character as a person.

Subplots are another thing that become unnecessary. A cursed rock is one of them. It was visited briefly, then retracted. Another one followed the idea that John Reid was secretly in love with his brother's wife. This wasn't given any real explanation why either. But the subplot that wasn't needed at all was the involvement of false accusations to the Native American Comanche tribe. Just to include them in the story for a staged action sequence is used for the wrong reason. I felt more sympathy for them than I did the U.S. Militia. These aren't small things that can be completely dropped from the conscience when viewing but there are pluses to the film. For one, I enjoyed the background story to Tonto. Fans of Depp at least get an understanding to why Tonto is the way he is. The action scenes are executed very well too. The best of them were the train scenes. Those, are always fun to watch because stopping a train is practically impossible. The cast is also fun too.

Sweet ride, too bad it doesn't fly!
Most audiences will remember William Fichtner as a ruthless scarred boss Butch Cavendish and Helena Bonham Carter as Red Harrington, a filly with some deadly legs. Bojan Bazelli's cinematography looks great too. Considering that he was the cinematography for Pumpkinhead (1988) as well, which involved western rural landscape, he was able to maintain his eyes on those wondrous shots after all these years. Editing is competent because the flow doesn't drag, although the direction isn't strong (as stated before) and it the running time is over 2 hours. Finally Hans Zimmer's score is all right too. He keeps the original main theme for the intro, finale and includes other tracks that are relative to the time but not much of it was memorable besides the theme. It entertains, but its story's weak.

Depp no doubt is good as Tonto and there a number of other elements that help make the film fun, but much of the writing and direction is weak. For two and half-hours, you'd think the screenplay would be a little more clear with its information.

Points Earned --> 6:10

1 comment:

  1. Definitely not a great movie but it has some exciting moments.