Published on July 3rd, 2013 | by gareth0
The Lone Ranger
With much of the pre-release coverage of the film centered on the reportedly $250 million plus shooting budget, audiences can finally see the fruits of this labor as Disney brings “The Lone Ranger” to the big screen. The movie stars Johnny Depp as Tonto and tells a slightly updated tale of the masked ranger, yet stays refreshingly grounded in the traditions and history of the source material.
Armie Hammer stars as John Reid, a district attorney who returns to Texas to provide justice to a lawless land that is in the process of great expansion thanks to the pending completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. In the 1860s, the country is in a great state of change as the completion of the railroad will allow people to travel coast-to-coast across, something that was once an extremely long and dangerous journey to undertake.
The local railroad administrator plans to do a public hanging of notorious outlaw murder Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner), as an example of how law and order has come to the wild frontier, a show to encourage Western expansion and install a sense of security in the local populace. The local Comanche tribes are told that as long as they continue to honor the established treaties they will be able to coexist in peace with the Western settlers.
Following a daring escape from the train that is carrying him to justice, Cavendish departs into the desert with his gang of outlaws. Not willing to let him escape justice once again, Reid’s brother Dan deputizes John, and leads the posse to bring Cavendish to justice. Now as anybody who’s followed any of the previous incarnations of the story knows, the posse is ambushed and all the Rangers are brutally murdered by Cavendish and is outlaws. Enter Tonto, who discovers John barely alive, and overseas his restoration to health. It is Tonto who convinces Reid to wear a mask as he is convinced that Cavendish had help and that it would be best for John and his brother’s family if the world believed John died with the other rangers to save them from any possible retribution
In a refreshing change of pace, Reid is not a swaggering fountain of machismo. He is a man who puts his faith in the law rather than in a six shooter and is actually hesitant to fire a weapon and use lethal forms of violence to dispense justice. This brings him at odds from time to time with Tonto who tries to walk the thin line between his people and his beliefs and the ever-changing modern world around him.
When the military began systematically retaliating against Tonto’s people for perceived raids against the townspeople, Reid and Tonto not only must deal with Cavendish and his gang of outlaws but must get to the bottom of a larger mystery that threatens to not only eradicate the Comanche people but to threaten the good citizens of the area. With his trusty and at times comical white horse, Silver, Reid and Tonto must learn to coexist with each other in a desperate race against time.
The film was an extremely enjoyable and fresh take on the characters that I really enjoyed. By giving the characters slightly more updated and relatable personas and traits yet retaining their core identities in history, Depp and Hammer made this a Western that was fun and cool and yet stayed true to the origins of the characters while making them more appealing to a modern audience. What really impressed me was Depp how he took what is often jokingly seen as a stereo typical Western sidekick and made him a very compelling yet diverse character. Yes, there is a lot of humor in the film but it is entertainingly at the expense of Reid, most often with Tonto getting some of the best lines in the film. I really appreciated the fact how it told a story without being overly politically correct or preaching, letting the characters and the action convey the message.
The action in the film is solid and the harrowing finale had people in the test screening cheering the action. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Director Gore Verbinski are to be commended for bringing a lively story that introduces the iconic characters to a new generation of fans. I hope that the film is able to draw fans and gives Disney’s a good return on its large investment as I would love to see Depp and Hammer back for future adventures. “The Lone Ranger” was the most pleasant surprise of the summer to date and the only summer film so far that I would pay to see again.
3.5 stars out of 5.