There is Silver in them hills! Slapstick Depp has never been better! - The Lone Ranger Review


Posted by Craig Grobler on Google+ On Thursday, August 08, 2013

The Lone Ranger Reviewhave a soft spot when it comes to the Lone Ranger and I love a good Western. I enjoyed the Clayton Moore, Jay Silverheels TV show like most kids at an age when TV, Cowboys, gunplay and masked men are a fascination - however my interest started years before with the Dell comics and especially the Brown Watson Lone Ranger Annuals.

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Initially I just enjoyed them and it never occurred to me that there was more to John Reid's alter ego title the "Lone Ranger" than it was to signify he was lawman that rode alone, a man apart who walked his own path - despite the fact that Tonto was a partner at his side at all times - I wrote that off as one of those odd quirks of a forgotten time. Only years later when watching the 1981 release of The Legend of the Lone Ranger did I discover the origin of the Lone Ranger and the significance of both the "Lone" and (Texas) "Ranger" parts of his name.


The Lone Ranger Poster
The Lone Ranger Poster

Despite being universally panned I quite enjoyed The Legend of the Lone Ranger. Not only was it pretty damn amazing to see the tale of the Lone Ranger unroll on screen in front of me but when discovering his origin the Lone Ranger completely changed for me - he was no longer an out of date illustration on a comics page or a black and white TV show he rode from my imagination into the modern age. This revelation gave the tale of the Lone Ranger more weight and lifted the comics up, alongside the Tarzan of Burne Hogarth's Tarzan of the Apes graphic novel. If you are not familiar with Burne Hogarth's Tarzan of the Apes I recommend you pick it up. The older you are the better it's definitely not one for the kids - unless they are ready for violence, human treachery and brutal law of the jungle killings. I'm pretty sure my folks had no idea of the content of Hogarth's Tarzan of the Apes when I received it. I would say it had a similar impact on me as The Killing Joke or The Dark Knight Returns. It's heavy stuff.



THE LONE RANGER Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer
THE LONE RANGER....Ph: Peter Mountain..©Disney Enterprises, Inc. and Jerry Bruckheimer Inc.  All Rights Reserved. (Click to enlarge)
Where is all this going? Well 32 years later history repeats itself and Gore Verbinski's The Lone Ranger doesn't seem to be getting much love - I however quite like it. It is by no means a perfect film and it's incredibly frustrating to think back upon it as the team behind it get so much of it awesomely right but so much of it wrong. The Lone Ranger very nearly addressed every complaint I had about The pirates of the Caribbean franchise and is very nearly an awesome film.

From producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski, the filmmaking team behind the blockbuster “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, comes Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer Films’ “The Lone Ranger,” a thrilling adventure infused with action and humor, in which the famed masked hero is brought to life through new eyes.

The Establishing Shot: THE LONE RANGER TRAILER - 9 AUGUST 2013 

Native American spirit warrior Tonto (Johnny Depp) recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid (Armie Hammer), a man of the law, into a legend of justice—taking the audience on a runaway train of epic surprises and humorous friction as the two unlikely heroes must learn to work together and fight against greed and corruption.

“The Lone Ranger” also stars Tom Wilkinson, William Fichtner, Barry Pepper, James Badge Dale, Ruth Wilson and Helena Bonham Carter. A Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer Films presentation, “The Lone Ranger” is directed by Gore Verbinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Gore Verbinski, with a screenplay by Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio and Eric Aronson and Justin Haythe.

THE LONE RANGER Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer
THE LONE RANGER Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer as The Lone Ranger Ph: Peter Mountain ©Disney Enterprises, Inc. and Jerry Bruckheimer Inc.  All Rights Reserved (Click to enlarge)
Issues that took me right out of the film included poor development of some characters which seems to either come down to not being given enough decent material to get their teeth into or being horribly miscast, this could probably be overlooked if two of them weren't lead characters. And like this Summer's The Wolverine it is a film of two very contrasting tones which seems more extreme in The Lone Ranger as the one tone works absolutely brilliantly and shines with intelligence and the other, well I'm still trying to get my head around it. But if you can ignore these huge misjudgments which do unfortunately have an impact on other areas of the film there is a rich vein of clever storytelling Silver running through the The Lone Ranger.

The Establishing Shot: THE LONE RANGER END OF THE LINE CLIP - 9 AUGUST 2013 

Gore Verbinski's The Lone Ranger is the revised origin story of the Lone Ranger and it is pretty close to the equivalent of Batman Begins for Batman. I should stress that I mean that in terms of creativity and tone - not story. The story is very much its own and an inventive take on the western genre.

The Lone Ranger has all the hallmarks of an epic western film, along with some welcome neat surprises. There is a very dark tone to the film which works well, as this really is a serious film about a tough developing country towards the end of the 1800s full of; steel, steam, heat, snakes, danger and men willing to take advantage of others. Some of these men are almost pure evil and indulge in misdeeds that are pretty dark I'm talking cannibalism and coercion of the military into mass genocide. This side of The Lone Ranger is great and an ideal environment for a hero to rise. This is all an engaging adult film addressing adult issues with a startlingly stark reminder behind it of a dark stain in American history.

THE LONE RANGER James Badge Dale as Dan Reid
THE LONE RANGER..Center: James Badge Dale as Dan Reid. .Ph: Peter Mountain..©Disney Enterprises, Inc. and Jerry Bruckheimer Inc.  All Rights Reserved. (Click to enlarge)
The mythos of The Lone Ranger is explored and explained in a great modern way, however if you are not an existing fan some of the references and updated elements may not be as effective if not entirely lost on you. As an example in his native tongue Tonto's name for his trusted partner, The Lone Ranger was "Ke-mo sah-bee" almost everyone knows this. But not everyone knows that Ke-mo sah-bee did not actually mean" trusted partner" or "friend" as we were all led to believe. This amongst many other elements is addressed and updated and I loved that The Lone Ranger gets these seemingly small details right bringing The Lone Ranger into the modern world. As I say if you don't know about the contention of the meaning of "Ke-mo sah-bee" this and much of The Lone Ranger may be meaningless to you - but it spoke directly to me and I loved it.

THE LONE RANGER Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer as The Lone Ranger up to their necks in it
THE LONE RANGER Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer as The Lone Ranger up to their necks in it Ph: Peter Mountain..©Disney Enterprises, Inc. and Jerry Bruckheimer Inc.  All Rights Reserved. (Click to enlarge)
I am surprised no one else has pointed out the correlation between The Green Hornet and The Lone Ranger they are family and this is made more referential as Tom Wilkinson who stars in The Lone Ranger was also in the recent version of The Green Hornet. If you read my Green Hornet review from a couple of years ago you may already know this. In the early Lone Ranger mythos John Reid, The Lone Ranger is related to Britt Reid, The Green Hornet most recently played by Seth Rogen. The Silver mine that feature throughout The Lone Ranger stories, the same mine that he gets his silver bullets from - is the source of the Reid family's fortune and how Britt Reid bought the newspaper The Sentinel in The Green Hornet. Because the rights to these characters are owned by different ccompanies this link seems to be disappearing, which is a shame.

THE LONE RANGER Armie Hammer as the Lone Ranger and Silver Ph: Peter Mountain ©Disney Enterprises, Inc. and Jerry Bruckheimer Inc.  All Rights Reserved. (Click to enlarge)
If I was to compare the tone of The Lone Ranger I would say it is more poignant than that of Batman Begins and if the entire film was built around this tone we may have had not just a great intelligent film but a great entry into the Western Genre.

THE LONE RANGER Armie Hammer as John Reid/The Lone Ranger, Bryant Prince as Danny Reid and Ruth Wilson as Rebecca
THE LONE RANGER Armie Hammer as John Reid/The Lone Ranger, Bryant Prince as Danny Reid and Ruth Wilson as Rebecca Reid Ph: Peter Mountain ©Disney Enterprises, Inc. and Jerry Bruckheimer Inc.  All Rights Reserved (Click to enlarge)
The only thing better than all of that in The Lone Ranger is Johnny Depp - he is both tragic and hilarious and incredibly gets the balance right. His performance as Tonto is his most engaging and accomplished in years. He plays the extreme light parts with aplomb and the dark side with deep sadness.

The Establishing Shot: THE LONE RANGER ARRESTING TONTO CLIP - 9 AUGUST 2013

Depp's Tonto is the crux of the film and has a much more complex weave to his character than you would expect from a film like The Lone Ranger. In the lighter moments he hits the rights notes of zaniness somewhere near the great Peter Seller's performances. There is some great play between Johnny Depp and Arnie Hammer sadly not enough. In some outstanding scenes whilst the world erupts into chaos Johnny Depp hommages Buster Keaton and I loved it. I didn't care if it was stuntmen or special effects - Johnny Depp pulls it off wonderfully and I was a kid again watching the magic of film on screen, timeless entertainment that touches everyone.

THE LONE RANGER Armie Hammer as The Lone Ranger and Silver
THE LONE RANGER Armie Hammer as The Lone Ranger and Silver Ph: Peter Mountain ©Disney Enterprises, Inc. and Jerry Bruckheimer Inc.  All Rights Reserved
However the same cannot be said for Arnie Hammer's John Reid,whilst he comes to life as the Lone Ranger towards the end, his portrayal of the central character lacks a lot and kind of brings the whole film down somewhat. In essence it seems as if they were aiming for a more extreme Clark Kent goofiness, if so Hammer pulls it off - unfortunately it is not a 70s Superman film, it's 2013 and as I explained earlier there are some serious themes addressed like cannibalism and mass genocide the rift between the the two tones is just too wide. Possibly this may work for a younger audiences though.

The chemistry between Arnie Hammer's John Reid and Ruth Wilson's Rebecca Reid is awkward and clumsy. It feels like Wilson is struggling to find her feet next to strong performers and not given enough to get any traction. But; Helena Bonham CarterJames Badge Dale, Tom Wilkinson and William Fichtner bring life to their by characters, particularly Fichtner who hams it up as the villainous Butch Cavendish.

THE LONE RANGER Armie Hammer as The Lone Ranger Johnny Depp as Tonto Helena Bonham Carter as Red Harrington
THE LONE RANGER Armie Hammer as The Lone Ranger Johnny Depp as Tonto & Helena Bonham Carter as Red Harrington Ph: Peter Mountain ©Disney Enterprises, Inc. and Jerry Bruckheimer Inc. All Rights Reserved (Click to enlarge)
The story of The Lone Ranger is fleshed out in a Pulp Fiction style narrated by Tonto in a similar fashion to The Princess Bride in which he recounts the tale of how The Lone Ranger came into being and partnered with Tonto who has his own backstory. I loved the way the story is introduced and rolls out but storytelling Tonto is deeply tragic and left me feeling hollow, possibly hinting towards more of a story to be told and I for one hope that we get to see Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer ride again as The Lone Ranger and Tonto in further adventures after they iron out the wrinkles.

The Lone Ranger Slideshow

The Lone Ranger is in cinemas from this Friday 9 August 2013 
Native American warrior Tonto recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid, a man of the law, into a legend of justice.

Stars: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, William Fichtner, Tom Wilkinson, Ruth Wilson, Helena Bonham Carter, James Badge Dale, Harry Treadaway, Barry Pepper

The Establishing Shot: THERE IS SILVER IN THEM HILLS! SLAPSTICK DEPP HAS NEVER BEEN BETTER! - THE LONE RANGER REVIEW
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Craig's is a retired superhero, an obsessive hobbyist, comics fan, gadget lover & flâneur who knows an unhealthy amount about Ian Fleming's James Bond.

When not watching or making films he takes pictures, eats, drinks, dives, tries to connect to nature whilst mentally storyboarding the greatest film ever made. He also  & sometimes utilises owl-themed gadgets to fight crime. 

A list of his 132 favourite films can be found hereIf you would still like to contact Craig please use any of the buttons below: 


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