Movie Issues: The Lone Ranger

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Movie Issues: The Lone Ranger

From producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski, the filmmaking team behind the massive blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, comes Disney/Bruckheimer Films’ The Lone Ranger, an adventure infused with action and humor in which the famed masked hero is brought to life through new eyes. Native American spirit warrior Tonto (Johnny Depp) recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid (Armie Hammer), into the legend that he becomes. The movie takes the audience on a runaway train of surprises and humorous friction as the two unlikely heroes must work together and fight against greed and corruption in the old west.

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The Lone Ranger is exactly what you’d expect from seeing the trailers. It’s Pirates in the old west. The same basic formula that made those films work is being used here again. Unlikely heroes must over come the odds to save the girl, the town, and their friends. All while fighting the standard villain archetypes: Greedy boss, evil second in command, comedic stupid henchman, etc. The henchmen in this are exactly the same henchman from the pirates’ films. Different actors, but the same, even down to one of them dressing like a woman, just like in pirates. The movie isn’t bad, you’ve just seen it before.

I felt the positives out weigh the negative, with talent and special effects being the best things the movie has to offer. The effects work really well in the movie. Much props to the cats over at ILM (Industrial Light & Magic) for another really good job. The CGI flows nice and doesn’t take you off the flick. Of course it’s better in certain places, but overall well done. The horse riding on top of the train is done extremely well, as well as the explosions, digital backgrounds, and trains. Everything looks and feels pretty real for the old west. Oh, and everyone is dirty, expect of course for our hero, The Lone Ranger.

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The filming of the movie spanned across six states: Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas and California. I only bring it up because the movie is shot beautifully. The giant rocks, the massive mountains, the hills, the rolling sandy plains that seem to go on as far as the eyes can see, the landscapes, and all the wide shots of the west and the deserts are just awesome looking. There is something quite beautiful about the desert and the filmmakers did manage to capture that beauty.

If you do decide to see this movie this holiday weekend, what you will be pleased with is the talent.  No stranger to the odd role, it was no surprise that Johnny Depp’s character of Tonto would be something he would be interested in playing. He does a great job, but the negative of his performance is he basically doing a Native American Jack Sparrow. Depp has allot of the same body language, mannerisms, eye movement and even some of the same speech patterns of Sparrow. Not in how he sounds, because he clearly doing a Native American accent, but more in how it’s delivered. There’s a lot of Jack Sparrow in Tonto. Which I’m sure people will enjoy.

Our hero in the movie is John Reid (The Lone Ranger), played by Armie Hammer. He carries the movie quite well and you believe in his character. He’s been presumed dead and has to become an outlaw to fight against the greedy train company and try to stop a war between “the white man” and the “savage Comanche” before it’s too late. Hammer is decent in the action scenes and has a charming sense of humor that you can’t help but like. I’d like to see him in a more serious action movie in the future, or out right comedy. He has a lot of talent that I feel hasn’t been tapped yet.  I look forward to see where his career takes him.

DF-03728-R2-jpg_183215Rounding out the rest of this great cast is Tom Wilkinison, William Flchtner, James Badge Dale, Barry Pepper and Helena Bonham Carter. All are used well and have their places in the movie. Carter is the most interesting of the bunch playing Red Harrington, a prostitute with an ivory leg that’s also a gun. Butch Cavendish, a notorious outlaw played by William Fichner, has one of the grossest prosthetics ever on his face, and though the course of the movie he gets grosser. Barry Pepper playes a military officer that arrives in the third act for no real reason other to blow stuff up and cause trouble for our heroes. He does what he can with such a two-dimensional character, but he is neither important to the plot nor should he be there.

Most of the movie seems to work well, but the biggest flaw of the movie is time. The movie is two and half-hours long. Now that’s not over kill, but when your movie is trying to fill the time with non-important things, it can get dicey. The flick suffers from having way too much story to tell. But the issue is, most of that story just isn’t interesting.

There’s way too much character development on characters that you don’t care about and have little to do with the plot itself. You get the feeling they’re trying to make a western epic, where they could have just worked on making a good western. It’s a western, there’s no reason to make it ginormous! The movie needed about 40 minutes cut out. If they had done that, this would have been an awesome action ride. It suffers the same way Pirates suffered too, where by the third movie there were so many characters and storylines going you get lost a little. The Lone Ranger struggles from the same issues.

Overall the movie is fun, has some great action moments, and will make general audiences have a good time. If you’re a Depp fan, then you’re gonna be happy. He is all over this flick, more so than the Lone Ranger himself, which is what I’m sure Disney was banking on so this wouldn’t flop and become this year’s John Carter. Depp fans will support him no matter how bad the product, how else do you explain The Tourist making well over 270 million dollars worldwide.  The movie is a big budget action summer popcorn flick, and if you can keep that in mind while you’re watching it, it should be fine and enjoyable. Because that’s what summer blockbusters are for: getting outta the heat and watching things blow-up.

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