Monday, July 22, 2013

Masked Mayhem

Disney pans for gold with the Silver horse-riding remake of the old west's iconic masked vigilante, The Lone Ranger.


ARTH VADER (AV): It has been quite some time since the legendary tales of the masked marvel of the old west appeared on the silver screen. When the Lone Ranger (TLR) was relevant, Pontificator, a new home cost $4,200, movies were still in Black and White and the 'Red Menace' was the greatest threat America had ever known. A noble gentlemen who campaigned for justice in the lawless old west, this American icon of rebellion and good, along with his Native American sidekick, Tonto, helped settle scores, bring evil men to justice and right the wrongs of the new frontier. How do you think Disney fared on re-establishing one of fantasy's original larger-than-life-heroes, Ponty? 

THE PONTIFICATOR (TP): I used to watch the Lone Ranger on television as a child Vader, and was always entertained by it. Admittedly, I was a fan of Tonto and thought he was cooler than the Ranger. Fast forward to today and I’ve browsed through a Lone Ranger comic book, or two. I’m not a collector of the title since there was nothing in the book that captivated me... much like the recent film. Yeah... this is going to be that type of review.


AV: Hollywood leading action front mean, Johnny Depp was cast as the mysteriously quirky Tonto, a native American shaman who befriends and allies himself with what's-his-name to right the wrongs of the west. Armie Hammer was cast of the masked man and one of my all-time favorite British actresses, Ruth Wilson, graced the screen as the love interest and rugged western woman, Rebecca Reid. Pirates of the Caribbean's Gore Verbinski, brings his visionary directing style to TLR and makes a run at bringing some new perspective to the old west. Tonto was funny, introspective, engaging and thoroughly interesting in this film that would have been more aptly named "Tonto and his pale-skinned buddy." 

TP: About the best choice for casting this film offered was William Fichtner as Butch Cavendish. I wasn’t impressed with Armie Hammer... and although Johnny Depp managed to be mildly entertaining, once they showed real Native Americans, Depp just didn’t sell anymore. I was confused about what this film was supposed to be... action? comedy? drama? It dragged on in some parts so badly that I began not to care what it was supposed to be... and realized what it was: boring.


AV: Too bad special effects, good film work and action sequences don't make for a blockbuster cause this would be one of the greats. Live action stunts, explosions-a-plenty and enough CGI to make your ten-gallon hat go five gallons flat. You could say that if this movie was only attempting to be a brainless action flick it would have succeeded. Silly, ridiculous, high-caliber fun–give or take the fun. Ponty?

TP: Ho-hum. If there were some effects in this film that were meant to impress... or even make a mild impression, then I missed the train on that one. There was no new ground broken, and no particular flare to the stuff we have already seen done a million times... and done a million times better.

AV: It is fitting that at the movie's grand finale there is a horrific train wreck because, Pontificator, that is exactly what this movie is. I don't understand the casting of Armie Hammer in the lead role. I don't understand what this movie's goal was and I certainly don't understand why this movie was more than $130 million over budget or why it was ever green-lighted in the first place. Ruth Wilson's beautiful eyes, hearing the William Tell overture and Johnny Depp's Tonto are the only reason's to EVER engage in this movie. It is too long, poorly paced and Armie Hammer's laughable portrayal is just way off as the oafish, bumbling and vaguely effeminate Lone Ranger. Even the iconic theme (William Tell overture) was oddly out of place during the movie's climax. While it had it's (mostly failed) attempts at comedy, this movie is a throw-away. 

TP: There is not much to look at here Vader. The deeper I look, the more I realize what a missed opportunity this film was. Here was a chance to make the Lone Ranger relevant again, to bring him to life for a whole new audience. This could have been done without leaving the PG-13 rating, all that was required was a little attention to detail and a bit more of a serious approach to make the audience invest some emotion into the characters. I was more interested in the villains of the film than anyone else because they were focused with a purpose and made me care about their machination... even if it was in the hopes that they would fail, with no help from the heroes.


AV: Mercy killing, Hollywood, please... just no. Please don't further harm the memory of this American icon. Maybe, just maybe, we should let the idea of any more attempts at TLR ride off into the setting sun. P-Man?

TP: They left it a little open... but I’m hoping that box office sales (or lack thereof) have convinced them to close that door... and bolt it! There is no need to subject anyone to another round of nonsense. It’s unfortunate... but this film was so bad, I’m even going to advocate for not doing a reboot, at least not until every living person on the planet that has seen this film has passed away.


ARTH VADER rates The Lone Ranger: With a 149 minute run-time, this movie feels like I am riding a horse through the desert. On the plus side, this movie will fade quickly from memory. I cannot say it was an outright bad film but you have to pan-handle pretty long and hard to sift through to something worthwhile to say. It is best to leave this one to fade away from our collective consciousness. Though I can't say I outright hated it, I lasso only 3 busted blocks for Disney's The Lone Ranger to drag behind me and my trusted steed as I gallop away into the setting western sun. 

THE PONTIFICATOR rates The Lone Ranger: There have been very few films reviewed here by me that have made me wish I could get my money back as I exit the theater. This movie is proudly inducted into that elite category. Instead of shooting out four (4) busted blocks, I’d have preferred to face a firing squad than this defecation on the silver screen.

The Lone Ranger–3.5/10 Busted Blocks
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