Film Review: ‘The Lone Ranger’ Rides Again in Classic Western Style

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CHICAGO – In trying to revive the Western film genre, Walt Disney Pictures is also reviving the “Pirates of the Caribbean” formula – extreme action, intrigue, flamboyant characters and Johnny Depp. Add a dash of a familiar American legend – “The Lone Ranger” – and it’s summer movie time. Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

“The Lone Ranger” succeeds because it also sticks to what makes a classic western fun. There are bad guys, shoot-outs, taverns of ill repute, heroes that save the day and miles of train tracks to play with in the movie, and a Native American named Tonto to add the comic relief. Thematically, the film touches upon the injustices done to the Native Americans of the old West, and makes the industrial progress of Manifest Destiny as much an enemy as Butch Cavendish. Director Gore Verbinski, the architect of the Pirates series, performs the same ritual upon “The Lone Ranger,” with the only problem being the length – TLR clocks in at over two hours, and pads that time with unnecessary exposition.

The film begins in 1930s San Francisco, at a carnival with a Wild West show. A young boy (Mason Cook) is surprised to discover that the Native American display contains a live Comanche named Tonto (Johnny Depp). The very old veteran of the 1869 Western territories starts to recount his story, the legend of John Reid (Armie Hammer), also known as The Lone Ranger.

This is the origin of the character, the only Texas Ranger to survive a shoot-out ambush, which has killed John’s brother Dan (James Badge Dale). It is the notorious Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner) that has led this ambush, and the newly minted Lone Ranger dons a mask, and takes on Tonto as his partner in justice. Together, they will seek the revenge for the murders and find out who is really behind them, returning to those thrilling days of yesteryear.

“The Lone Ranger” opens everywhere on July 3rd. Featuring Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, William Fichtner, Tom Wilkinson, Ruth Wilson, Helena Bonham Carter, Barry Pepper and James Badge Dale. Screenplay by Justin Haythe, Ted Elliott and Terry Rosario. Directed by Gore Verbinski. Rated “PG-13”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “The Lone Ranger”

Armie Hammer, Johnny Depp
Wilder West: The Lone Ranger (Armie Hammer) and Tonto (Johnny Depp) in ‘The Lone Ranger’
Photo credit: Walt Disney Pictures

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “The Lone Ranger”

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