Saturday, July 6, 2013

Movie Review: The Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger
directed by Gore Verbinski
starring: Armie Hammer, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Wilkinson, William Fichtner, and more.

Spoilers!!!


The Lone Ranger is based off the old television series of the same name. Not being familiar with the original series, my review is based solely on what I thought of this movie. All I really knew of The Lone Ranger was the theme song and that other song from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air: "Tonto, jump on it! Jump on it!"

Anywho... Regarding the plot... The story takes place in the 1930s at a carnival.  There's a young boy who is dressed similarly to the Lone Ranger. It's at the exhibit of the Old Wild West, where this boy encounters Tonto (played by Johnny Depp). This is a much older Tonto. He recounts the story of the Lone Ranger to this child, of how he first met him, why the Ranger must always wear his mask, etc. At intervals the story will cut back to the older Tonto as it seems like his mind might not all be there and he might not be remembering the stories correctly. It's totally left up to the viewer whether or not you want to believe that what Tonto is saying is true, which I like. It makes for more mysticism around the original tale.

The Lone Ranger (played by Armie Hammer) is John Reid. He's a man of the law, a Harvard grad, and the newest recruit into the Texas Rangers. He joins his brother, Dan, who's already a Ranger. His brother is married and has a child with a woman whom John has always been in love with, too. The settlers in the area share the land with the Comanche, though they each keep to their own territories. As progress in life ever moves forward, the railroads are being constructed so that they may connect the east coast with the west coast. The settlers promise this will not interfere with the treaties already in place with the Comanche. One of the biggest events to happen with the construction of the railroads is the bringing in of the outlaw Butch Cavendish to be sentenced to a hanging. Cavendish winds up escaping and it's the job of the Rangers to track him down. There's a traitor in their midst though. There's a trap and it seems that all of the Rangers have died. Tonto, who had been tracking Cavendish, too, sees the deception. A spirit horse comes to the graves that Tonto had dug up for the men and selects John as being the one to come back to life as a spirit walker, so that he might exact revenge upon the man who not only killed his brother, but as we see is also a cannibal. Cavendish ate the heart of Dan.

Tonto and the Ranger set out to work together to go after Cavendish for justice. Tonto refers to Cavendish as a wendigo. He says that nature is out of balance and until things get righted, it'll just keep being a mess. Tonto is a fantastic character. He really seems out of it. He continuously feeds a "dead" bird upon his head, but there's logic to his strangeness and it all makes sense when you understand that he had a really rough past. He sold out his tribe for a trinket when he was a child. He has a lot of guilt in him and a big sense of working for justice. The Ranger is also searching for the woman and her child.

There are a lot of "bad" men in this movie. The thing that perpetuates these kinds of men is the lure of silver in the region. It's Cavendish and Cole who found the place many years ago and have come back at this point in time to collect all the silver so that they can buy and rule the land.

What's upsetting, too, is the disregard for life these men have. If someone is in their way, they simply shoot them down, slap them or stab them. And it doesn't matter if that's man, woman or child.

The law isn't quite working the way it should, which is why the Ranger has to be an outlaw to set things right and the reason he has to wear his mask. And for the most part he does set things right in the end.

I had such a good time watching this movie. It's funny and there's a ton of action in it. Johnny Depp did an awesome job as Tonto. For all the eccentricities, there was great heart to the character underneath it all. Armie was fantastic, too. Watching him box was too funny. Or get licked by his horse. Or with Tonto, write a citation for the saloon for bad pickles. There are so many great parts to this movie and the whole ensemble works so well together. There wasn't a single bad thing about this movie. Once the music kicked in towards the end of the movie, it was non-stop good times. I absolutely recommend this movie. The bunnies and the horse were all quite freaky. I left the movie feeling sad for all the victims/casualties, happy that the good guys prevailed and it also made me stop and think about the history of this country and the hardships imposed upon all who were not Caucasian.

This movie gets five stars!
-O.Pelaez

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