Film Review – The Lone Ranger (2013)

The Lone Ranger

Title – The Lone Ranger (2013)

Director – Gore Verbinski (Mousehunt)

Cast – Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, William Fichtner, Tom Wilkinson, Ruth Wilson, Helena Bonham Carter, James Badge Dale, Barry Pepper

Plot – Native American Indian and outright loon Tonto (Depp) must team up with the left for dead lawman John Reid (Hammer) and set out to stop a bunch of no good evil doers lead by the nefarious Butch Cavendish (Fichtner) therefore creating a vigilante team like the Wild West has never seen before.

“If we ride together, we ride for justice”

Review by Eddie on 18/11/2013

The Lone Ranger is rock solid proof that a big budget does not a good movie make. Criticism has actually been thrown back to those that looked upon the budget and production of this film and took it apart and whilst this is somewhat unfair The Lone Ranger’s problems do seem to extend from a lot of cash for horses, trains and explosions and not a whole lot of thought about how to construct a good and involving story, for while trying to appeal to many masters The Lone Ranger ends up mastering none.

Unsure of whether it wants to be a comedy (drunk horses anyone?), an action driven movie (there is one high body count for a Disney movie), a dark prose of the white man/Indian time of America (witness a sad little Tonto in his burnt down village) or a mismatched buddy comedy (Depp and Hammer have a somewhat unique bond here) The Lone Ranger’s tone shifts far too many times throughout it’s bloated 140 minute plus runtime to ever feel cohesive. This lack of a film soul really works against the film, as many times one will wonder why on earth one scene has happened to the next and an abundance of characters coming and going only increases the feeling that too many voices had a say in the writing process. Criticising the film in this way only increases the letdown feeling one gets, due to some elements of the film that promise a much better picture.

Director Gore Verbinski certainly knows his way around an action set piece, and The Lone Ranger has many commendable such moments that made his original Pirates of the Caribbean such a joy. It is in the more practical and stunt driven scenes where this again shines, while the seriously suspect CGI works against some of the more overwrought and downright cheesy action scenes (horse on a burning barn roof anyone?). Some scene stealing supporting actors such as William Fichtner and James Badge Dale also seem to come from a much better film. In regards to the leads, Depp has his moments although his shtick is wearing somewhat thin, and Hammer doesn’t really get out of first gear with his supposed hero and one feels in the end he was miscast in his first leading man duties.

I really wanted to like and enjoy The Lone Ranger, but not once did I ever feel truly entertained by the picture that so clearly wanted to be the Wild West version of Pirates of the Caribbean. Upon conclusion one gets the sense that somewhere out there in this wide world of ours there was a much better and more productive way to spend 200 million dollars.

2 dead crows out of 5

52 responses to “Film Review – The Lone Ranger (2013)

  1. I think I was the only person in America who liked this movie, although it was flawed to be sure. My biggest problem with it was that it didn’t seamlessly handle the mood swings from funny to serious very well. But I was entertained and when it was funny it was very funny…to me.

      • I have to agree with rango. It was way better than lone ranger. I was also very disappointed by this movie, since I have thought it would be another funny action movie, but most of the time it was boring and too long. For me, the highlight was helena bonham carter’s role with her leg :’D I liked that very much, since I like her as an actressas well. And although I am a big johnny fan this might belong to his rather weak movies.

      • I would agree on all those points Melancholy. It felt like they were not sure how to edit it all together and make it truly cohesive. It almost felt like a modern day Wild Wild West type big budget turkey.

    • Rango is one of the best animated movies I have ever seen. A Chuck Jones tribute with references to Chinatown, Apocalypse Now, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas? How could you possibly go wrong?Unlike Lone Ranger, Rango adheres to no formula. The whole thing is one big chance. It’s Verbinski’s best film by far (Mouse Hunt being a distant second).

  2. I avoided this one because I know it’ll be on cable in what… five months or less at this point? Rango surprised me because I wasn’t expecting much from it when someone sent me a DVD in the mail. Then again, TLR is a CURSED character in the movies. Anyone recall the last time someone made a movie based on the man? Yeah, it was pretty awful…

      • Just like his friend Tim Burton, Depp was once an iconoclastic genius who worked in Hollywood but was, in reality, its antithesis. And just like Tim Burton, he became mainstream and slick. I still can’t believe that either of them made Alice in Wonderland. Burton is not coming back, and I don’t think Depp is, either. He’s lost in Prosthetic Makeup Land, where everyone overacts.

  3. This movie wasn’t bad. It wasn’t great, but it did not deserve to bomb the way it did. The critics were way off… I’ve seen FAR more bloated action movies this year (Star Trek Into Darkness, for example, was much more overproduced). I would place Lone Ranger on the same level as the first three Pirates movies, which I love despite their myriad flaws. Lone Ranger was dark and weird and unexpected. It took an old, cliched property and reimagined it in a pretty startling way.
    My complaint is with the extreme violence. Lord knows it doesn’t bother me personally, but this film was released under the Disney label, and I think that Bruckheimer and Verbinski really shot themselves in the foot. A man’s heart getting torn out and eaten? A man getting shot in the spine, then writhing around on the floor for two minutes? There was too much of an edge to this movie. It was too ugly and menacing for a “Disney” film, and word got out pretty quickly. THAT is the primary reason the film bombed.

    • Hi Reasonable.

      Gald you enjoyed the film, I feel that there were many reasons the film bombed the way it did and I think a very valid point is that violence you mention. It felt like it alienated a large chunk of it’s target audience with the decision to ad those dark violent elements.

      • You’re right, there were other reasons. The bad reviews were toxic, as was the goofy dead animal that was on top of Tonto’s head for some reason. And big-budget Westerns never make money. And kids today have never heard of the Lone Ranger. I hear that Disney has taken the final cut away from Bruckheimer on the next Pirates movie, and I have to say that Bruckheimer might deserve it. I enjoyed the film like I said, but hijacking an established property and trying to transform it into a remake of a film from a different franchise was not the best idea in the world, though I’m sure everyone involved thought it was a sure thing at the time.

      • You do get that feeling that those involved internally had the feeling they were onto a goldmine, It really seemed to take them by surprise when critics and audiences alike felt blaze about the whole thing.

    • Spot on mate – it is nice to read someone else’s thoughts that seem to mirror your own. I am surprised it has a 6.6 on IMDB as most feedback from audiences seem to be more negative than that.

      • Yeah i keep thinking the same thing. Idk though, to me it always seems as though IMDb tends to overrate things, but that could be me. I wonder if the sample size of reviews is larger on IMDb than on RT or Metacritic etc. . .

      • I believe it is mate, when you consider some large titles have upwards of around 400,000 votes. It’s true though by law of average IMDB does tend to rate a movie more higher than average.

  4. I haven’t seen this yet, but I probably will. I think casting Depp as Tonto was one of the more offensive (racially and otherwise) and absolutely absurd and embarrassing casting decisions in my short lifetime.

  5. Absolutely spot on when you say that the movie took on too many things and tried putting them all into one coherent movie, which ended up in it being a long, confusing and ultimately drab movie. I couldn’t quite enjoy any one aspect of it long enough which ended up in the movie not working for me at all.

    • It would of been so much more beneficial of them to really focus on one element! A comedy buddy action flick, supernatural action or any of the other thrown in elements. A real shame it is the film it is.

  6. I didn’t like three major aspects of this movie, the fact that they made the Lone Ranger a pacifist, they try too hard to add humor here which makes the movie more of a farce and finally the fact that they completely remove the lifelong friendship between TLR and Tonto. This was an integral part of their partnership and the animosity the characters have for each other doesn’t work so well here.

    Great blog and great post!

    • I think in the end the length could of been warranted if it had a more clear direction and identity, sometimes 2 and a half hours can be enjoyable if the movie justifies it.

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