The Lone Ranger (2013)

Content by Tony Macklin. Originally published on July 3, 2013 @

When I was a small boy, I thought The Lone Ranger was The Long Ranger.

Little did I know how prescient I was.

In 2013 The Lone Ranger is long. Very, very long. And clumsy. And tacky. Director Gore Verbinski shows how tacky a "western" can be.

Laying actual railroad tracks, making actual locomotives, and using actual settings such as Monument Valley does not make authenticity.

At one point in the movie, the Lone Ranger is dragged through manure, which begs for comment. But it's self-explanatory.

The Lone Ranger is more hot flashes than flashbacks. At a carnival sideshow in San Francisco in 1933 an aged Native American, Tonto (Johnny Depp), tells the convoluted tale, beginning in 1869 in Texas of John Reid (Armie Hammer) and his journey into identity and action as The Lone Ranger.

Our heroes meet a motley assemblage on the way to destiny: a greedy railroad tycoon (Tom Wilkinson), a bizarre outlaw (William Fichtner), an armed - I mean, legged - brothel madam (Helena Carter Bonham), et al.

The three writers - Justin Haythe, Ted Elliott, and Terry Rossio - mash together a hodgepodge of different genres. One can imagine that one writer did the spoofing, another did the homage, and a third did big effects and frenzied action. Then they threw it into a silver spittoon and shook the spit. Hi-yo, Sleazer. Away!

The original Lone Ranger, which went through radio, motion picture serials, and tv, had a basic simplicity to it. It had a kind of one-dimensional nobility. In 2013 the simplicity has morphed into messy, chaotic posturing.

The Lone Ranger is a movie of humongous effects. When one effect slams past another, the result has to be diminishing returns.

Johnny Depp has often flaunted convention. But as Tonto he too is at the point of diminishing returns. Armie Hammer gave him the make-up kit of crud that hid his character of Clyde Tolson in J. Edgar (2011). Depp puts it to use.

Given his experience in The Lone Ranger, It's no wonder that William Fichtner shakes a lot in his new tv series Crossing Lines.

I always enjoyed The Lone Ranger, but I was never much of a fan. My favorite was his great nephew Britt, who became The Green Hornet.

Seth Rogen pretty much destroyed him in The Green Hornet (2011).

I grieve for the Reid family. Seldom, if ever, has one family been so violated by modern movies as the Reids.

Johnny Depp and Gore Verbinski, please stay away from Kato.

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