JOHNNY DEPP ARMIE HAMMER TOM WILKINSON WILLIAM FICHTNER HELENA BONHAM CARTER BERRY PEPPER RUTH WILSON
THE LONE RANGER
There is a lot of confusion and irregularity about director Gore Verbinski’s latest collaboration with Johnny Depp, the first being that his character Tonto is actually the main focus and not The Lone Ranger. Perhaps it should have been Indian of the Wild West, since this is clearly Pirates of the Caribbean back in time. Rife with budget and production problems, The Lone Ranger’s chance at a remake is all but ruined because Depp overshadows the entire project and Hammer (J. Edgar, The Social Network) just isn’t ready for lead action hero status.
A young boy dressed as the famed lone ranger listens to a very elder Tonto (Depp) recall the adventures he once had with the masked outlaw. Colby, Texas in the late 1860’s, the continental railroad was making its way across the barren deserts of the West, leading small towns to the future--or at least San Francisco. Searching for Butch Cavendish (Fitchner), one of the most wanted criminals in the US, District Attorney John (Hammer) and his Texas Ranger brother Dan are ambushed. Rescued by a nonsensical Comanche Indian named Tonto, they team up to bring Cavendish to justice.
There is entirely too much action as the film opens with these two characters we know nothing about; they are just tossed in what will be many actions sequences involving trains. Too often seen in these types of “fun action comedies,” a piece of flying steel nearly kills them and yet saves their lives – thus the disassociation with reality is set and we understand how this movie will function. This origin story script unravels these two misfit heroes into one catastrophe after another, always with a narrow escape and fast healing wounds. The body count is pretty high for a Disney film (this is only their 4th PG-13 of all time).
Bojan Baxelli’s cinematography is stunning; even though the film is set in Texas, it was actually shot in Utah and Arizona. Baxelli makes even the most deserted canyons look marvelous in his wide shots. Hammer and Depp don’t come with a lot of surprises to their characters, yet Fichtner (nearly in every Jerry Bruckheimer production) is particularly evil and grotesque, not to mention barely recognizable. Unfortunately, everything misses the mark here with too many trains, pocket watches and carnivorous rabbits that never really add up in the films over-drown conclusion. It’s a difficult time, middle of the summer, surrounded by all this junk (i.e. special effects, expensive sets, remakes/sequels), when what we really need and can’t find – is good old-fashioned storytelling.
Final Thought – More is never more when it comes to westerns.
By: Dustin Chase