An elderly Tonto tells a young boy a story
about how the Lone Ranger and Tonto got together in what you could call the story of the unreliable narrator which does jump
a little bit (due to Tonto being crazy and being old in 1933 as he tells the boy the story which takes place back in 1869). John Reid is a morally uptight lawyer who decides to move back to his home of Colby, Texas
where his brother Dan (the Texas Ranger) has married Rebecca (the girl John has always been in love with). Murderous criminal Butch Cavendish (played excellently by a very unrecognizable William Fichtner) happens
to being transported on the same train John is traveling in. Butch and Tonto
are prisoners in the same car. Tonto wants to kill Butch Cavendish because he
believes Butch is a wendigo, but John trying to stop Butch from escaping and a rescue by Butch’s gang gets in the way. Soon, John is joining Dan and a posse of Texas Rangers to recapture Cavendish to hang
for his crimes. However, an ambush by Butch’s gang results in everyone
except a traitor and John being killed. Tonto and the crazy spirit horse Silver
save John and thus begins John’s quest as the masked lone ranger to bring Butch to justice for Dan’s death.
THE LONE RANGER is an overlong and somewhat
enjoyable Western reimagining of the Lone Ranger character for the 21st century with Johnny Depp playing another
eccentric character (or Tonto as performed by Johnny Depp being Tonto). I am
still not totally convinced by the flashback story structure as told by the unreliable narrator. The $250 million spent to make this film is all screen except for the amounts of money paid to secure
Johnny, Armie Hammer, and Gore Verbinski (even though they supposedly waived 20 percent of their salaries to help trim the
budget which ended up costing the amount they tried to trim to make it a little cheaper).
The action scenes and the various bits of humor are great, but I do think they could have trimmed back on the budget
given they somehow ended up spending $250 million to make this movie in an attempt to build another franchise to succeed Pirates
of the Caribbean (which has a fifth film coming in the future). Then you
have to remember it is Gore Verbinski who dream big for the second and third Pirates movies.
Also the other big problem is the movie
is an origin story did they need to spend a movie telling the origin of
the Lone Ranger via Tonto (who is crazy as a bat as he always feeds the dead bird on his head). You have the love interest, the brothel owner who wants to help them get Cavendish, and the usual
corruption in the railroad and military plot line mixed in with the often repeated military vs. Native Americans story (which
is just a smoke screen for the actual plot). Then you have Johnny Depp trying
to be another eccentric character who is over-the-top like other eccentric Johnny Depp has played so many times. THE LONE RANGER isn’t the train wreck that WILD WILD WEST was years ago, but I hope they learn to
trim the fat and make a leaner western with a smaller budget for the sequel. This
film is the type of movie that audiences will enjoy more than critics, but still the director could have made this movie shorter
because I was looking at my watch from time to time. It isn’t an entirely
successful movie, but making back the budget is the hurdle that has to be overcome before they can even make a sequel.
This movie review is (c)7-6-2013 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
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