Walt Disney Pictures, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Blind Wink Productions,

Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, William Fichtner, Tom Wilkinson, Ruth Wilson, Helena Bonham Carter, James Badge Dale, Bryant Prince, Barry Pepper

In the 1930’s a little boy wearing a mask and carrying a toy gun visits the wild west museum at a traveling carnival. As he pauses in front of the display showing the Native American in his natural habitat, the very old Indian brave is suddenly startled to see the masked man in front of him. He comes to life and begins to tell the fascinated little boy his name is Tonto (Johnny Depp) and of his adventures in the olden days riding with John Reid (Armie Hammer) a Texas Ranger, and John’s brother, Dan Reid (James Badge Dale) also a Ranger. The were chasing the notorious outlaw Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner) as he did the bidding of one Latham Cole (Tom Wilkinson) who was overseer of the Transcontinental Railroad, but more interested in stealing, and certainly not afraid to do anything to get what they want.

This Princess Bride type story follows the tales of an aged Tonto as he describes (and maybe embellishes a bit) the story of the beginning of the lifelong friendship between The Lone Ranger and Tonto. I have been waiting to see this movie for over a year now. Somehow when it came out on NetFlix, I didn’t get it, and I fell into the “Very Long Wait” pit for a long, long time, until it got buried further and further down in my queue to never have a chance to get back to the top. I had planned to pick it up at Redbox, but never managed to do that. Out of sight, out of mind. Then along came the release of the new season opener of “Outlander” the series on Starz, and they offered everyone a free premier weekend to try to hook us all on the series. But I happened to notice “The Lone Ranger” and I set the DVR and now finally got to see this. It’s a long movie, well over 2, almost 2 1/2 hours. It got horrible reviews, and I heard nothing but bad things about it when it was out. I suppose that kind of suppressed my desire to see this film, as I didn’t want to mourn another Disney failure.

What I found was a very interesting and well done little adventure. This is a lot like what Wild Wild West could have been, but wasn’t, and it was actually a very good well thought out script. I have decided that the primary complaint most people have with the film is thinly disguised backlash against the two lead actors. I know that a lot of people have an instant dislike to anything Johnny Depp has anything to do with. That automatically brings criticism, and of course hiring Johnny Depp (who also helped produce the film) as a Native American when there are so many real authentic Native Americans who could play the roll is a bit of a backhand to them. Likewise, Johnny Depp brings his usual smart-ass slapstick off kilter humor into it as well. For example, he wears a dead bird on his head which he keeps feeding throughout the film. He does his usual Johnny Depp shenanigans which I’m sure turned a lot of people off. Remember that despite the huge success of the Pirates of the Caribbean films, Disney never wanted Johnny’s portrayal of Jack Sparrow to be the giddy childish fool of a pirate that he played, but he insisted and really couldn’t pull off anything else. But Tonto is a funny character, and he does bring a lot of humor to the situation. The Lone Ranger was made up of 20 minute episodes that fly by in a moment. It would get very tedious if they tried to keep up that level of seriousness for an entire feature film. Armie Hammer, likewise, is not a highly liked actor either. Many thought he was sorely miscast, although I don’t blame them for that choice either, as he has to be a foil for Tonto’s antics, and he’s supposed to be a big city tenderfoot who’s trying to play cowboy without the skills. Finally, I suspect there is the group that is a big fan of the original TV series, and doesn’t like the fact that they made a bit of a mockery out of it. All of these reasons, I think, rolled up together to sink this ship before it left the port. But I must say, I really enjoyed the movie, was quite interested in the entire story, and really, really liked it. I think it got a very bad rap and was not nearly as bad as people made out. Obviously it was visually stunning, the scenery in and around the West, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona is beautiful, and I thought the story was very well done. I would say if you shunned this film, to give it a chance now that it’s out on TV and DVD, and see if maybe they weren’t a little too harsh on this film.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog



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