FILM REVIEW: The Lone Ranger

GS the-lone-ranger-banner
The Lone Ranger is due to be released on 9th August here in the UK, over a month after it’s come out in the US and pretty much everywhere else. Geek Syndicate managed to sneak in a couple of reporters to watch the film early so we can give you the low down on if you should be eagerly awaiting this to be released or let this one pass you by.

Disney’s Synopsis:

From producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski, the filmmaking team behind the blockbuster “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, comes Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer Films’ “The Lone Ranger,” a thrilling 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), a man of the law, into a legend of justice—taking the audience on a runaway train of epic surprises and humorous friction as the two unlikely heroes must learn to work together and fight against greed and corruption.

“The Lone Ranger” also stars Tom Wilkinson, William Fichtner, Barry Pepper, James Badge Dale, Ruth Wilson and Helena Bonham Carter.

A Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer Films presentation, “The Lone Ranger” is directed by Gore Verbinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Gore Verbinski, with a screenplay by Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio and Eric Aronson and Justin Haythe.

Run Time: 149 mins

Certificate: 12A

Now at this point I was going to put some of my own views on the film and then add Silverfox’s view to give a couple of different view points of the film. However I found that after putting my own thoughts down, there was very little difference in what we had both written (he’d referred to the westerns of the 60’s and 70’s which I’d like to point out were a little before my time).  Due to that I have just included Silverfox’s write-up below but I do add a couple of points in below though.

Okay, so I am a fan of westerns, having grown up with them all through the 60’s & 70’s (and even 80’s), although it is clear they have been out-of-vogue for some time now. It’s been a while since The Quick & The Dead, Young Guns, Silverado, Shanghai Noon or even The Unforgiven had any box office impact. But, if Disney were hoping that The Lone Ranger would do for westerns what Pirates of the Caribbean did for swash-buckling high-seas adventures, then they have well and truly “missed the side of the barn” with this one. The Lone Ranger is not necessarily an un-entertaining film, but it fails to hit the mark for a number of reasons. It certainly won’t stand up to repeat viewings, and word of mouth will not travel that this is a ‘good-value-for-money’ family film outing, so financially, it is a watershed for Disney’s summer.

For starters, it doesn’t know who its target audience should be: some of the humour tries too hard in a ham-fisted way to be funny; I suspect Disney hoped the kids would be rolling in the aisles – sorry my kids will shoot me if I take them to this at the expense of Pacific Rim or The Wolverine. And I suspect that some of this humour was thrown in as a re-write to counter-balance some the darker realities portrayed in the movie. You see, the problem with westerns is that history has actually made them difficult to romanticise today, in the way that Pirates did so well. And a large part of that is that in this politically correct world that we live in, the wild west was divisively racist. The white man was all-conquering through theft of land and resource and spilling blood, the red man was marginalised and all but exterminated, the black man was kept largely in abject slavery and the yellow man was totally exploited as a second class citizen – sorry, that’s the accurate history of the time, and you can’t dress it up any other way. In particular, this film focuses quite starkly on how big business (the railroad) and the US cavalry (the government) treated the native Americans, and it’s not pretty. And I just can’t see middle America taking their children to see this after a baseball game and a Maccy-D, and then having to answer unpleasant questions about whether their great-grandparents or great-great-grandparents benefited from the conquest of the wild west…it makes uncomfortable watching. And just as uncomfortable were Armie and Johnny as the Ranger and Tonto – neither of them looked particularly at home in their roles, although Depp did dominate of the two. A roughly two-hour and twenty-minute film, it takes a good hour to establish the masked man, and really only in the last fifteen minutes do we get a proper action western with the thumping bars of the William Tell Overture used to proper effect. Sorry Disney, forget any ideas of a sequel, commercial success, or a score above 3/5 from anyone.

As I said above I do agree with this view, especially on the humour, it’s a shame as I was looking forward to Johnny Depp creating another mad as a hatter character, but it just never really happened – to me it felt like he was a bit more restrained, maybe because he was trying to not be seen as disrespectful to the Native Americans but I would have loved to have seen a character somewhere between Jack Sparrow and The Mad Hatter, but sadly when a horse manages to steal the show and get the loudest laughs something is not right.

Lone Ranger Horse

Saying that though I don’t think that this is as bad a film as has been reported and has been harshly critiqued before it’s release. I have to doff my cap to Disney for backing this film and releasing it, it was a brave decision as the film pulls no punches in how the wild west was really ‘tamed’ and was quite refreshing to see. This is the exact reason though why I understand it got panned in America – it simply asks too many questions.

With only a few days to go check out the trailer below:

Rating: 3.5/5 – Just to disagree with SilverFox slightly above, I’d love it for the film to deserve more but I just can’t justify it – Sorry Disney
Reporter: JMS1701 & SilverFox

More from the world of Geek Syndicate

%d bloggers like this: