Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Lone Ranger: Not Even Bruckheimer

Jerry Bruckheimer has made some of the most entertaining movies of the last 20 years - The Rock, Beverly Hills Cop, Bad Boys, Armageddon, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. This was not one of them. Bruckheimer and his production values, Johnny Depp, and a reported $225 MM budget couldn't get this slow-moving piece of trash off the ground.

The only review you need to read (besides mine) is Christopher Orr's: Somewhere, around the hour-and-a-half mark, The Lone Ranger makes the fateful decision not to end. Worse, the movie keeps not-ending for another full hour.

Story: 2/5 - As Orr writes, the pacing in this movie is atrocious. At one point, our heroes confront the villains, and while it does not feel climactic, I found myself hoping the movie was over. The movie was about 60% done. As far as plot, the big twist is very obvious, and there is never any real sense of drama. I kind of liked the general storyline of the first act.

Writing: 2/5 - There was nothing even close to new or challenging in the dialogue - the jokes were recycled and leaned heavily on Depp's delivery, and most were downright stupid (the horse dragged him through the poop!). There was no wit or cleverness to any of the comments.

Acting: 3/5 - I actually liked Armie Hammer as The Lone Ranger. Depp was what you would expect - a carbon copy of Jack Sparrow in facepaint. He was the highlight of the film, but it was nothing new or exciting from him. Many of the smaller bit parts and character actors did a great job of re-creating the feel of the West - I'm looking at you, James Badge Dale.

Aesthetics: 4/5 - The high point of the movie for me was the first half-hour, which was filled with cool shots of guys riding around the desert in dusters, the sun in the distance and a colourless tone added in post-production. At one point I turned to my friend and said that I wished this was still a genre - and I do; modern Westerns like Open Range, 3:10 to Yuma, and Appaloosa were fantastic movies. The Lone Ranger really makes you appreciate the art form.

Final Grade: 55%

Addendum: I should note that I saw this movie with two people, my white friend and another aboriginal friend of ours. One was actually pretty offended and you only need one guess as to which one it was. I was actually glad that I got to see it with somebody with a dog in the fight, as it were. The movie supposedly took great pains to avoid being offensive, with Depp allegedly learning the Comanche language, and getting the go-ahead from a Comanche nation. Still, the movie relies heavily on Native American customs for the vast majority of its humour, and I am frankly surprised that there has not been more uproar about it. Maybe if more people were seeing the movie, there would be.

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