Thursday, 11 July 2013

The Lone Ranger - Review

I saw The Lone Ranger two days ago and let me tell you something straight up: it is NOT a bad film.

Now that we got this out of the way and you already know this won't be an angry rant, let us proceed with the actual review/my impression of the film.

The positives: 

Depp's make-up, crow headpiece and outfit are a work of art. I don't care what anyone else says, it's beautiful. Full stop.

Johnny Depp gets his quirk on again but never takes it too far. You can see hints of Captain Jack a few times but other than that his take on Tonto is its own thing. It's ruthless, it's tender, it's funny and it's dignified in its madness. There is tragedy behind the quirks. I've never seen the original TV show so I have no idea how different the characterisations of Tonto & John in this film are from the show but this Tonto is a lone wolf. He doesn't "represent" Native Americans. He just happens to be one. One who wants to right a wrong he did eons ago. And I think Johnny Depp portrayed all this well.

Armie Hammer as the title character of the Lone Ranger (aka former lawyer John Reid) towers over the whole film. Dude is tall. He's also very handsome. And he can act. And most importantly he can do comedy really well. This man was the biggest positive surprise of the film for me.

Tom Wilkinson solid as usual, ditto Helena Bonham Carter (I kinda want that leg). William Fichtner gave a good, charismatic performance.

The main story of the film was never confusing, made sense all the way through and received a satisfying ending. If there's one positive in this whole "biggest flop in Depp's career" talk going around now, it's that it doesn't look likely this story will get weaker and more convoluted sequels. So yay.

Another of the positives of the film: it looked good. Apparently it features a hell of a CGI but honestly I wouldn't have been able to tell, it all blended well together and it was a joy to watch it on a big cinema screen.

Some people got confused by this but I personally love that the film is a blend of comedy and a serious take on something the US audiences know from old TV. Maybe it helps I really had little idea about the original and also the fact I do love a slight clashing of humour, drama and adventure, I didn't find it jarring.

The flipping action scene near the end of the film was AMAZING. Thumbs up to Gore Verbinski for pulling this thing off. The actors, the CGI, the choreography, the humour. I tend to find lengthier action sequences boring but this beauty kept me glued every second. Brilliant.

And I do think Hans Zimmer's score deserves a shout out as well. There were a few times during watching the film I thought - ooh, I like this theme, I have to get the soundtrack! I'm going to have to listen to the whole score on its own so I can compare where it stands with the rest of Hans's work but I did like a lot of what I heard in the cinema.

The negatives:

It's just fucking long. If you cut the framing scenes set in the 30's and John's sister in law/love interest & kid you wouldn't really lose much and the film would be tighter, shorter and probably overall better (in the 85% - 100% territory for me).

As the film is, it is definitely not flawless, though with some re-writing it could have nearly been. So the biggest fault I do not see with the main stars or with the direction but first and foremost in the script. But as you can see the positives still outweigh the negatives (however non-substantial those negatives are). The film is still well beyond average for me. And I'd urge everyone who likes good entertainment to give this film a chance. I can't grant you'll love it but you should not give up on it without giving it a try.


  1. Thank you for this. I have to agree with everything you said here, though I kind of liked the scenes from the 30's as I think it reinforces the idea of changing times and the loss of the Native American culture. However I realize that the film is more about entertainment than any political or philosophical statement.


    1. I didn't hate the 30's scenes but even though I get what they wanted to say by them I also think the film could have done without them. Thanks for your comment btw! x

  2. Beautifully written Maj ... Must see this film ...