July 17, 2013
Watching this movie is a gamble because the critics and US ticket receipts have already condemned this to be a bad movie as well as a box- office flop. The trailer was not really too convincing for me as well.
But there are very big names behind this movie -- Disney, Jerry Bruckheimer, Gore Verbisnki, Johnny Depp, Hans Zimmer, among others -- all of whom have a Hollywood pedigree you cannot just deny.
"The Lone Ranger" was the story of how idealistic young lawyer John Reid got exposed to the "real" wild wild West, and how he was influenced by a quirky renegade Comanche named Tonto to become the titular masked vigilante.
The story was actually good and even substantive, dealing with important issues like white man's greed leading to genocide of Native American tribes. It also had neat little twists and turns in the plot that were not predictable.
However for me, the way it was told by Director Gore Verbinski was too long-winded and snail-paced. OK, there were some very exciting moments here and there (namely at the beginning and towards the end), and those were the best parts of the film. But it cannot be denied that there were times when the momentum would slow down so much and dip to boring levels. There were supposedly funny gimmicks that simply fall flat, like those inexplicable vicious rabbits.
From the very start, the carnival museum scene employed as the framing device, was already dragging and too weird. That is not good when your film has a running time of 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Johnny Depp's Oscar-nominated antics as Captain John Sparrow did not translate well in the character of Tonto. Many of his deadpan one- liners were only mildly funny at best, since Tonto was not exactly a visually flamboyant personality. However, seeing him feed a stuffed crow with peanuts, or put his head in a birdcage, or carry a parasol in the desert was downright UN-funny for me. It even felt demeaning to the character.
It was also strange how poor Armie Hammer, who gets to play the title role as the Lone Ranger, actually felt more like the side kick here. Of course, Depp was the star and you feel it! This story revolved around Tonto, going all the way back from his childhood to his old age. The way the character of John Reid was written, he was never truly fully in control of his own actions throughout the film. Hammer was a striking Lone Ranger, looking good in his mask, ranger hat and riding on Silver, but even his iconic pose and line got a solid knock from Tonto.
Overall, watching "The Lone Ranger" is not a total loss. Those extravagant train stunts were very exciting to watch. Although you would wonder if those were physically possible in the real world, you will enjoy the way these elaborately choreographed stunts were executed and edited. Hearing the familiar "Lone Ranger Theme" (actually the "William Tell Overture") still makes the scenes it accompanies more exciting.
It is just the over-indulgent style of story-telling resulted in an over-long and over-stuffed pie that was not too easy to eat and digest. 5/10