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The Lone Ranger (2013) - Western Adventure with Comedic Flair

Seeing Disney putting out a new action-packed adventurer with Johnny Depp headlining it should be par for the course these days. With four Pirates of the Caribbean films to his resume, this re-boot of the classic shouldn’t have been a surprise – especially given studios affinity to re-make instead of, hey, here's a novel idea, originality. 

All of the whispered tales of The Lone Ranger and his trusty sidekick, Tonto tell of heroic adventures. Or so that is what the young would-be cowboy questions an aged Tonto when, while touring an exhibit on display at the carnival, Tonto (Depp) suddenly comes to life and regales the youngster. Stories of how the Lone Ranger legend came to be...

It starts on a train ride to a dusty Texas town where John (Armie Hammer), a good peace-loving lawyer who believes everything can be solved without gunfire, is on the train that will lead him back to his hometown only when the train is attacked by a gang looking to free a prisoner, John finds himself trying to handle the situation and instead finds himself shackled next to a second prisoner watching as the criminal rides away. That prisoner is Tonto.  

Unlike his brother in personality and choice of work, John’s return brings him face to face with his Texas Ranger brother and the woman he still desperately loves, his sister-in-law (Ruth Wilson). As the rangers prepare to ride out after the escaped prisoner who was being brought to their Texas town in order to be hung for his crimes, John insists on accompanying his brother and fellow lawman unaware that an ambush awaits the group of men.  

Despite some hit or miss feelings about "modern" westerns, trailers for this movie had me laughing at its antics. Couple that with my cousin recommending this as a really good movie despite its unwelcome reception from critics, and I was game to see it. Though I won’t be a girl reviewing this in consideration of the original, I will say that I understand some of the complaints. They're reasonable though to be honest, this would-be blockbuster is too much fun to dismiss. 

Starting off with a bang and a surprising bout of humor, the movie has a great albeit familiar set up, with an exception. Honestly, I wasn’t fond of the script starting in a latter “present” only to retreat into the past. I’m not sure what purpose this served aside from its powers of implication without really telling the audience how its characters eventually sought to be a part of something beyond story origins, and upholding justice in a system that became corrupt. This method seemed most foolish if studios have sequel plans (which is likely not going to happen considering the box office showing) and at the very least leaves the audience sort of depressed by what is, an otherwise rip-roaring hilarious film.  

Of course, the acting is nothing to sneeze at. Depp’s character acting continues to amaze. Then there is newbie Armie Hammer who many fairytale addicts may recognize from Mirror Mirror. He really stepped up to fit this role very well and it made me happy to see a cast suited to their respective roles plus Helena Bonham Carter logs some screen time. Disney has again created a production full of genius with its spectacular stunts and costuming though the film does run overlong (this isn’t helped by its “stops” in the middle of a sequence to return to the “present”), the excitement makes up for it as does the humor though for anyone who isn’t a fan of “slapstick,” this can flirt with the silly on occasion. Perhaps not my favorite adventuring blockbuster, one cannot argue that The Lone Ranger knows how to do exhilaration and they do it with a snazzy attitude all their own.

(Parental review: there are some “tense” sequences in which characters are threatened with guns or other violence [explosions, hanging sentences] and a group of rangers are murdered in an ambush. There is some thematic elements revolving around Tonto's heritage, cheeky innuendo as one character is a madam and perhaps a minor profanity here and there. The film is rated PG13.)
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  1. My family just watched this for the first time a week or so ago. We loved it. :) The humor in the script was really well done. Glad you liked it, Rissi!

    1. Yay! Glad you did, too, Rosie. I really enjoyed the film's humor as well - it was, of course, tops. And Johnny Depp is a large part of the reason why. He's comical brilliance. ;) Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. I haven't seen this one. But with your review I probably should! Putting it on my list of "to be watched".
    Also wanted to mention that I always enjoy reading your blog Rissi :)

    1. Hi, Funto! Glad you stopped by. :)

      Wait, you mean I'm not the only girl who hadn't seen this one?! ;) I laugh at myself because I'm always SO behind seeing most blockbusters that it feels like I'm the last person to watch them. I thought this one was fun. Of course, the cast (Depp is always hilarious) was a huge part of that as they make the film/characters "pop" on screen. Happy watching if/when you see The Lone Ranger. Glad you visited - and thank you. I enjoy your blog muchly, too!

  3. I hadn't really planned on seeing this one, but now I might have to give it a try! :) I do love Johnny Depp (I just watched Benny & Joon again yesterday...that's probably my favorite role that I've seen him in so far), and I thought Armie Hammer (please tell me that's not his real name) was hilarious and adorable in Mirror Mirror. So I think I'll go add it to my Netflix queue! :)

    1. You've named a Depp movie I've not seen, Kristin. I'll have to hunt it down next rental store trip. Love him in Finding Neverland, Cholocat, The Tourist, Pirate films and even as odd as the film was that one in which he played a vampire - cannot think of its title.

      Oh. My. Gosh. Armie Hammer... yep, you're right, please tell me that's a stage name. *giggle* He was cute in Mirror Mirror and while this role may be more of a "tough" guy, he still retains that adorableness. ;)

      If you see it, hope you enjoy!

    2. Dark Shadows? :) I didn't see that one, though my parents did (for nostalgic reasons because apparently both of my grandmothers used to watch the DS soap opera, ha). Except for a couple of swear words and one scene that I could do without, Benny and Joon is practically a perfect movie. It's hilarious (Johnny Depp plays a Buster Keaton wannabe and he is so sweet and likable), while still dealing with the more serious issue of mental health.

      I just looked it up: his real name is Armand Hammer- apparently he's named after his father. :) I added this one to my Netflix list, so I'll probably see it soon!

    3. Yes! Dark Shadows. He was quite funny in that also though it wasn't really "my thing" just because I don't get the appeal of vampires. Aw, that one sounds good. I like movies that can use humor and serious issues to the best advantage and still be a great film. Those are the best kind - what I don't like is when it's too lopsided.

      Well that makes sense then. Family names are fun and coming from a family who all the times uses nicknames, it makes sense to shorten the name. :) Yay! Hope you enjoy The Lone Ranger then. It runs a bit overlong overall, it's entertaining.

  4. I was kinda bored with this one, I wanted it either to be funny or serious, but not both!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

    1. It does run overlong, Missie though for the most part, I was entertained. Depending on the script, I like a good balance of comedy vs. serious but it has to be done "right" otherwise it just comes across as absurd. ;)

  5. I saw it when it first came to DVD. I thought it was hilarious, my mom wasn't as impressed. I will say, I don't go into see a blockbuster with huge hopes, but just for fun, which helps a lot. :-) The train chase with the Lone Ranger theme music. It was the best part of the movie I thought. Johnny Depp can make any character pop. I will watch anything with him in it.

    1. Well said, Kate! I love what you say about going to blockbusters with the expectation of having fun. That is such a cinema truism. :)

      I completely forget about mentioning that train scene - that was the best sequence in the film and it really pulls a viewer "into" the film with the action excitement plus great music. I've seen several of Depp's roles and find it funny when he plays a "normal" character - he does crazy so well. ;)

      Glad you liked this one!

  6. I really enjoyed this one! I grew up watching some of the old shows, but I didn't really compare the too because they are just different and that is ok. Really, it was just a fun movie and I loved Depp as always. :)

    1. YES! This is a fun one, Tressa. But then, really, anything with Depp really has no choice but to be fun, right!? ;) I didn't see the oldie show so there was nothing for me to compare this to an original source however on its own, it was a fun ride. :)


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