ALone Ranger in the box office
By Esther Chang, Special to The China Post
July 19, 2013, 6:08 pm TWN
Walt Disney's latest adventure movie “The Lone Ranger” is a remake of a classic American Wild West legend. The 2 1/2-hour-long movie was just that — too long. Filmed in Utah and Colorado, the film presents great visuals and an authentic atmosphere of a classic Western. The beautiful sceneries were matched by appropriate costume designs, making a winning best-selling look for the movie. Sadly apart from the aforementioned attributes, the movie proved much of a disappointment everywhere else.
Native American Tonto (Johnny Depp) and young, college-educated prosecutor John Reid (Armie Hammer), who later becomes the Lone Ranger, join forces under unlikely circumstances to fight against villain Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner). The plot quickly thickens after the death of seven Texas Rangers, including Dan Reid (James Badge Dale), brother of John, as the pair discover a bigger conspiracy surrounding a railroad development lead by representative Latham Cole (Tom Wilkinson).
The movie runs on two interchanging timeframes, jumping between the storytelling narrative in the 1930s and the story happenings of the 1860s. The narrative starts at a 1930s circus in San Francisco. A masked boy dressed up like the Lone Ranger wonders into the Wild West exhibition tent and encounters an old Native American mannequin who springs to life and tells the young boy the story of the Lone Ranger.
The editing of interchanging timelines was disjointed and sometimes interrupts the flow of the story.
Under the leadership of producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Gore Verbinski and actor Johnny Depp, from the crew of Disney's top-grossing “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, the movie was a let-down and is mediocre at best. The fight scenes with long running-times became a bit of a yawn and a few scenes could probably have been left out, as they didn't add much to the development of the story. Although the plot was interestingly written with jokes and humor throughout the story, the turn of events lack originality and the Johnny Depp-quirkiness humor was certainly not enough to fill up the space of the lengthy movie.
Another disappointing aspect is the similarities between this film and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series. For instance, in both films there is a side character of a skinny man with trans-dressing traits and obsession with feminine objects. The similarities peaked at the pink parasol and dress picked up by the villain.
The soundtrack of this movie also didn't escape its mediocrity as it doesn't always match with the story details. At a mass massacre scene of Native Americans the music doesn't match the sad emotion of the scene or the complexity behind the murders; instead it blends into a big overall mood of a fighting, action scene. It also feels overdone when Offenbach's Can Can music kicked in at the shooting scene with the Lone Ranger riding on horseback on top of a train.
In terms of acting, the overall quality is convincing. Armie Hammer is a man-of-law turned outlaw, the female leading roles are portrayed strongly by Helena Bonham Carter (as Red Harrington) and Ruth Wilson (as Rebecca Reid), and all the villains were all villainy enough. Johnny Depp flaunts his signature trait as usual, but one can't shake the feeling that his portrayal of Tonto is reminiscent of his other famous role – Captain Jack Sparrow.
Overall, the film delivers standard Hollywood quality in term of characters, production scale and great visuals. The editing perhaps could've been more concise and the lack of originality in the plot and humor mark this film as mediocre at best. ■