The Lone Tonto

The Lone Ranger

Hey all, we’re back with another movie review as we approach the holiday weekend.  In honor of the patriotic holiday 4th of July, Hollywood decided to revive the classic Western heroes of The Lone Ranger and Tonto, in Jerry Bruckheimer’s latest production entitled well… “The Lone Ranger.”  While many of the younger generation have had little, if any, experience with the desperado of yore, Disney has once again attempted to bring a series back into the milieu of movies.  How do you do that?  Put popular actor Johnny Depp into the movie, make him the iconic character, and then advertise as an action flick for the whole family.  What was my verdict on the movie?  Read on to find out.

Let’s face it we all thought that this movie was going to be a Western knockoff of Pirates of the Caribbean and in many ways it is.  Unfortunately for this reviewer those similarities mirrored the latter films, whose qualities were a bit lowered than the epic first film.  The biggest similarity is of course Tonto, the Indian version of Captain Jack Sparrow, just with some broken speech patterns and a little less rum.  Depp has dived into the character pool once more, and has adapted well into the awkward tracker/shaman.  Using his unique personality, Depp places a spin on a character that is very entertaining to watch.  Tonto was the highlight of the movie for me, primarily in his ability to somehow take any situation and make me laugh with just a few words.  Like the infamous captain, Tonto also has the ridiculous movement patterns that get stranger as the movie continues on.  Unfortunately this film skimped on a few things that made Tonto less of a memorable character.  Sparrow had a story, a goal, and a history that bled into the swashbuckling tales and kept us on our toes trying to guess what his next move was.  Tonto does not, as his story is very simple, his relationships not well developed, and surprisingly his moves are a bit lacking when compared to his other roles.  My guess is they chose to focus on Armie Hammer’s story and tried to give Depp the main character role without the main story.  Regardless Depp fans will love the man once more, as his dedication and entertaining styles continue to survive the tests of time. 

Putting Tonto aside, The Lone Ranger lacks a lot of things that I look for in a movie.  It’s almost as if the directors of this movie couldn’t decide what type of a film they wanted to make and instead mashed a few genres together, skimped on the story, and then paid Depp to make the film great.  For instance, at the beginning it seemed like this was going to be an adventure that was light hearted, good Western fun that all audiences could enjoy.  Then somewhere along the line director Gore Verbinski decided to flip on the dark switch and turn one of the villains into a savage that had a taste for various organs, hello The Last of the Mohicans.  These dark moments were surprisingly frequent and often graphic enough, to issue the warning that this is not as much a kid’s movie as you might think.  When people weren’t being massacred though, the action is alright, often more chasing and haphazard shooting than anything really exciting.  I felt that the actions scenes were all about Depp making us laugh and less on the outcomes of the battle.   Had it not been for the amazing soundtrack by Hans Zimmer, I don’t think I would have had any interest in the music, yeah it was that lacking.  Needless to say, the story itself mirrored the action, where there really wasn’t much to grab your attention.  A simple linear story, that kind of had a Western feeling to it, but lacked the heart of the wild west that was made famous long ago.  Any attempt to develop the characters, was dropped for a hearty laugh and slightly touched upon later on in the film.

Speaking of the characters, most of the cast really didn’t impress me in both character and acting.  Despite the movie being about the Lone Ranger, his story was simple, not that entertaining, and rather bland for the most part.  Hammer looks pretty for the girls, but honestly there isn’t much to him other than a prop for Tonto.  The main villain Butch Cavendish, looked the nasty part, but they didn’t really pursue much with him or his party.  The damsel in distress Rebecca Reid (Ruth Wilson) but not much else can be said, because like the other characters, she just didn’t get a whole lot of interest from the direction staff.  If I really had to pick another character that stood out, it would have to be Ms. Red Harrington (Helena Bonham Carter).  Most likely this character got more attention because of the actress, but Red has some sass and attitude that mixed with Carter’s talents makes for an entertaining cameo with a little more “kick.”  Perhaps next movie, if there is one, will have some more background, but I wouldn’t count on it.

The Lone Ranger relies a lot of Depp for its entertainment purposes, but as many of us know one man can’t make a movie.  Verbinski dropped the ball on this one and I can’t really say it’s worth a trip to the theater.  If you’re a die-hard Depp fan you’ll probably still go and have fun, but skip this and wait for television or Netflix.  My scores for this film are:

Action/Adventure/Western:  6.0


Movie Overall:  6.0

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