by Ken B.
You’re not likely to be at all disappointed by The Lone Ranger if you knowingly buy a ticket to a movie called The Lone Ranger. If that is your boat, stop reading now and see it if you haven’t. On the other hand, I can’t imagine that’s many of you. While things that people with even the most minimal knowledge of the franchise are aware of, like the William Tell Overture, the basic characters, and the line “Hi-ho Silver, away!” are all present here (well, the third one in part), there really hasn’t been a very high demand for a $200 million movie based on The Lone Ranger. But honestly, it could have been worse. While I still do withhold some complaints about the film as a film, I don’t regret having seen it. There are impressive effects, good acting for a summer blockbuster, and a lovely score as always by Hans Zimmer, who composes a fantastic rendition of the William Tell Overture that blasts on in the film’s ending.
The film switches between 1933 and 1869. In the former, an elderly Tonto (JOHNNY DEPP) relays the events of the latter to a boy (MASON COOK) in a museum that’s part of a fair. The “events” detail the origin of the team of John Reid/The Lone Ranger and Tonto. John, an attorney played by Armie Hammer, is the only survivor of an ambush conducted by a group led by Butch Cavendish (WILLIAM FITCHNER). He, of course, shapes up to be the main antagonist.
As a majority of the movie is set during a time of expansion in American history, the film’s two largest set pieces (they occupy the first and last 20 minutes) are set on newly minted railroads and pristine trains. Because this is an action movie, they are not pristine for long, gleefully destroyed in entertainingly excessive scenes. Truly, The Lone Ranger’s biggest asset is big, fast moving, well choreographed action sequences. Of course, this is what one would expect upon the re-teaming of Johnny Depp, director Gore Verbinski, and producer Jerry Bruckheimer. And, if that’s what you’re looking for, this movie is a mostly solid choice. I say “mostly”, because there are problems. At 149 minutes, the middle portion of the film has a tendency to feel overlong, and there is an annoying tendency of this movie to have an odd switch between comedy laced action and just plain action. Of course, this isn’t the first movie to have problems staying in a specified genre, but these concerns are usually reserved for dramedies, where there is a jarring split between lighthearted comedy and emotional melodrama.
The Lone Ranger is not likely to be remembered that much in the next couple of years, but I can’t see it fading into obscurity. It has that feeling of coming back into the public mind in two or three decades – it might be re-reviewed, re-considered even. It’s already a divisive film between other critics and the general public, and that could be a future point of interest. I dunno. I just hope people see it, because despite a handful of noticeable errors and shortcomings, it’s still, well, worth seeing.