The famed Lone Ranger about a fictional masked ex- Texas Ranger and his Indian friend Tonto, who fought injustice in the Old West, first appeared in 1933 on a radio show. Since then The Lone Ranger has ridden into many sunsets as a comic book, television shows and movies.
Jerry Bruckheimer’s new 2013 film The Lone Ranger missed the lovely sunset and has arrived in the dark night of nonsense. If anyone knows how to capture the elusiveness and zaniness of Johnny Depp, it’s Bruckheimer who produced the Pirates of the Caribbean series. But not here.
Depp & Hammer
Depp plays the Lone Ranger’s Tonto who literally rescues the Lone Ranger (Armie Hammer) from danger and literally creates a road map for them both to conquer the evil railroad people who want to invade Indian territory.
The film actually begins when a young boy stops at the Wild West exhibition in a museum. The old Indian statue with a weird bird on his head surprises the boy when he begins to talk to the boy. It’s a rather poor attempt to bring the story into the current decade, and gets annoying when the already-too-long-story reverts back to this scene over and over throughout the film.
Meanwhile, back to the rest of the movie – it was very hard for me to get into. In the days of TV westerns, it was accepted that cowboys and Cavalries fought Native American Indians. In 2013 we fight against intolerance and discrimination. I had a problem with witnessing once again a slaughter by the Indians against the cowboys.
Prince & Wilson
One lone man, who wants justice for the outlaws who killed his brother Danny (Bryant Prince), dead when the outlaws leave him. Barely alive when Tonto finds him, he nurses him back to life and gives him his new name of The Lone Ranger – because “he walks on the other side.” His reason why they should ride together is eons away from that of the original story, but he does insist because the white man is a good man – he must wear a mask. Tonto tells his friend – Ke-mo-sah-bee – that he’s a Spirit Walker who cannot be killed.
Hammer is an exceptional actor, but from the moment he put on that mask and became a follower instead of a leader, I never identified him as the Lone Ranger. Also, the duo not only have trouble with the Indians, but Cole the railroad baron (Tom Wilkinson) scheming to take the money right out of his board of directors’ pockets; Fuller (Barry Pepper) the dishonest U.S. marshal; and Butch Cavendish, a murderous outlaw, who has the best portrayal in the film by William Fichtner.
Among the huge cast few stand out, mostly because of the sparse or artless roles they are given. That includes Ruth Wilson as Rebecca Reid, wife to Danny until he dies, then the love-interest to the Lone Ranger. The other is the talented Helena Bonham Carter who will play any character, in this instance the brothel madam Red.
There are some laughs in the film, but they come too seldom, and even the iconic Depp can’t raise much surprise in his character. There are long dry scenes, and transitions that don’t work. Not sure where the main fault of the disappointment falls, Director Gore Verbinski, producer Bruckheimer or the three screenwriters, but after the disappointing opening weekend in the U.S. of $29.3 million, the filmmakers have a long wait to recoup the estimated $250 million budget. And this movie is not worth the ticket price.