“The Lone Ranger” – Review
Taking the time to stop and watch someone damn up over flowing water. Checking the time at least 12 times a day on your new wrist watch. Reflecting with a sense of accomplishment at your freshly cut lawn. Spending some quality time on your lunch break looking upward with wonder at new high rise construction. Making due with water on your breakfast cereal instead of milk. Singing casually to a song on your radio at a gas pump. Making your coffee differently this time with no cream or sugar. Asking your dog questions as if he will finally answer you this time in English instead of with a bark. Reheating spaghetti in a frying pan instead of a microwave because you saw someone else do it once and it looked like it might taste better. Drinking a pilsner size glass of beer through a straw. Locating those 6 cents you lost under your car’s floor mat. Finding a $10.00 off food coupon to some item you will never need.
Oh, oh, I apologize, I am completely sorry, I digressed for a moment. You see what happen is I started to sit down to write my review on “The Lone Ranger” and for some unexplainable reason I just started to wander off listing all of the many things that could be potentially far more interesting to do than spend money to see “The Lone Ranger”.
Now to be fair, it is not horrible. But what it is, is completely both story wise and directorially incoherent right from the beginning and remains so through out its 2 hours. Why? I think the director, writer or producer; who ever green lighted this finalized script wanted it to be a movie to all things and to all people. It wanted to be a western; a drama, a comedy, have some satire, show some romance, provide some suspense, have some historical context and even a bit of slap stick included that would be all etched and hopefully held together with some timely and highly choreographed action. The problem is you can’t have these genres meandering in and out of each other and hope the story feels real, sensible and honest. Midway through the film I felt the only thing I had not seen that was missing from this goulash of a film was a Broadway musical scene performed by the cast of “A Chorus Line”. Actually, I did step out for a minute so I am not sure they didn’t.
You want more incoherence? Besides the Ranger stating early in the film he doesn’t want a gun because he doesn’t believe in them (What – huh, this is a western right?) there was one scene I will never forget where the Ranger is in a Tipi talking to a solemn looking acutely silent Native American Chief making a case to the Chief that he should not take his tribe into war with an approaching US Army Calvary. When the Chief finally moves from his mode of silence to respond to the Ranger’s verbal pleadings, he uttered his lines not within the historical context style where English might not have been his first language, he instead recites his lines with the resonance of some mob boss with a New Jersey accent from the movie The Godfather.
As far as the acting, well Johnny Depp played Tonto similar to the grumbling sounding voice of his Jack Sparo character with at least an appropriate effort to recite his somewhat broken English lines tastefully. We also see him incorporate his trademark self invented odd ticks of rolling eye balls and uniquely unusual Depp-ish acting gestures to round out his vision of Tonto. His co star Armie Hammer to me was a mess who devised to playing the Ranger so submissively it was as if they’re roles had reversed and it was he who was subordinated to the needs and plot interest to his companion Tonto. From what I saw in the theater I began to wonder if this movie shouldn’t had been entitled “The Lone Tonto” and his masked man side kick named “Ranger”.
Armie Hammer has delivered solid work in past films such as in the Best Movie nominated film “The Social Network” and as the implied paramour Special Agent Clive Tolson to FBI Director Hoover in the film “J. Edgar”. But here he seems so overly affected in his manner, so emotionally self involved, so stripped of any masculinity and so prissy whimsical I thought I was watching someone doing their rehearsal interpretation of The Lone Ranger for the show “
’s Got Talent”. America
So, what was good about “TLR”? Well, I liked the humor and talent of the white horse. I also got a bit stirred up and excited at the famous theme song of The William Tell’s Overture originally composed by Rossini. And finally given the movie was clearly shot digitally, the cinematography and the backdrop of the American west was just breath taking to look at in all of its majestic beauty of rock laden Monument Valley with its wonderful isolation and other rolling mountain range vistas. That area of the country is always a joy to see in the big format of a movie screen.
Is there anything else to mention? Nope, that pretty much sums it up. A lot of millions of dollars of technical wizardry went into making this film entertaining such as watching Tonto taking a running 100 foot leap off of a moving train down onto another moving train filled with huge rocks and not be injured, so I will never tell anyone not to see that amazing feat. But if this movie has you drawn to it for what ever reason whether its part of your youth, you like Westerns or Johnny Depp, you be advise to place this on your rental list. Way down on your rental list. Ah, maybe more so, like when it’s free on your basic cable viewing night.
1 – 3/4 Stars