The Lone Ranger (2013) - 3 stars out of 10
There is a reason that “The Lone Ranger” was nominated for Best Visual Effects and Best Make-Up… but nothing else. While it isn’t as big of a flop as everybody says, it was still a major disappointment. As the first theatrical interpretation of the Lone Ranger and Tonto in 32 years (complete with “Disney” stamped all over it), there was a high expectation for this to be the start of Disney’s next blockbuster franchise. Instead, its story flatlines after about an hour and there is little to keep you awake aside from some cool special effects. I am dumbfounded at how Gore Verbinski could get this so wrong. He has one of the most famous characters ever written, stunning Monument Valley visuals, an enormous budget, and Johnny Depp. Still, this manages to be one of the most boring action movies I have ever seen. While the Lone Ranger is completely motivated by bringing justice to the West, the script failed to make that exciting. Most action film characters are motivated by love and perhaps it is our modern perception of what is worth fighting for that makes his quest for justice seem boring (even with a small love interest tossed in on the side). Or maybe it is the fact that, just like the unpopularity of pirate films like “Cutthroad Island” in the 90’s, cowboy movies are out of style (a la “Wild Wild West” and “Cowboys and Aliens”). Or even the fact that it is an origin story and they over explained everything. Regardless, this film’s failure began with a poor script, continued with major budget issues, and ended with Armie Hammer who managed to make the Lone Ranger seem dull and boring. The film has its moments. It is hard not to get chills when you see the Lone Ranger riding Silver to the tune of the William Tell Overture, and Hans Zimmer’s musical score gives you something enjoyable to listen to as the story slowly plods along. The train scene is everything that we could have hoped for from a big-budget Western - maybe the greatest train scene in the history of cinema - and the cinematography is great. Honestly, I recommend reading the Wikipedia article on the film to figure out what happens in the first two hours and then just watching the final twenty minutes of the film. It is highly entertaining and will leave you smiling. It’s just the other 75% of the film that makes me shake my head and wonder how they could have not seen the inevitable failure from the start. I’m sure that there is a group of people out there somewhere that loved this film but I don’t think that we will be seeing a “Lone Ranger” ride coming to Disney World anytime soon.