copyright © Jedo Dre 2011
Do you remember, back when you were in school, your language teacher taught you that if you can remove a part of the text you are writing, and nothing is lost contextually, then you should keep that part of the text removed? Yeah, someone forgot to proofread this otherwise promising movie.
Let's start with the elephant standing in the corner over there, the one with its face painted. If you have a problem that the Indian Tonto is portrayed ridiculously by a white dude then you would of course not watch this movie or read this review, for you know from the trailer or the posters of the movie that this is the case and if you then still proceed to watch the movie then you are not very intelligent or nice for complaining about it.
Now, for those who do not have their head stuck in their politically correct rear ends, the film is really not as bad as the critics made it out to be. For one, the cinematography and music in this film are great. The desaturated sun rays piercing through the cracks in the wood, the dust and the texture of the withered faces make for great Western atmosphere. Nothing wrong with the camera work either.
There IS some really good acting in this movie. William Fitchner makes for a scary bad guy and James Badge is really good as the Lone Ranger's brother. Quite frankly if they took the two main characters, Lone Ranger and Tonto, out of this movie then it would have been much better, because if there is one character who is not very interesting it is the Lone Ranger himself, and if there is one character who is too ridiculous and ultimately flopped, it is Tonto.
I do not think it is the actors' fault. For the Lone Ranger, nothing of what he is given to say grants him any depth of character, besides his love of justice. He is supposed to be a morally straight gentleman, but this also makes him really bland. The fact that he doesn't speak as much as the other characters only makes that blandness worse. As for Tonto, Depp's delivery is odd. Sometimes it works and sometimes he is like a forced parody of himself. It is as if Tonto was a real guy and Depp was making fun of that person for a comedy sketch. The slapstick he does goes too far. It crosses the line from stupid fun to just stupid. But someone had to write and direct the stupid, so I would blame them for it and not the actors.
There is however a certain Helena Carter. I don't like her character. I don't really get why she plays the same weird character in every movie. So I feel like anything else I say about her performance here will be tainted by my bias about the actress so I will leave it at that.
The critics have spilled their criticism all over this film because it is not intelligent or original enough. It's Pirates of the Caribbean in the Wild West. Now, they are mostly right. There are scenes and characters that appear to have been taken straight out of the Pirates of the Caribbean. And at its heart, The Lone Ranger is about people doing slapstick comedy. However, I do not see a problem with that concept, unless you are so stuck up that you forgot what fun is. The problem is not with the concept but with the execution of that concept.
While the slapstick in the Pirates of the Caribbean was smart, funny and reserved, in the Lone Ranger they botched it up. The silliness goes over the top, crossing the line from silly to stupid over and over again. It often feels like a Charlie Chaplin film…crossed with Looney Toons…on steroids. The action goes completely off the rails towards the end. The laws of physics need not apply.
The mood is also all over the place. It goes from really serious and gruesome moments to silly jokes and back to gruesome again. Now look, I like me some dark comedy but in this case it feels more like 2 or 3 different movies stuffed into one; like 3 different people worked separately on the script and then 3 different people directed the film.
Botched humor aside, I think the anger about this movie is not about it being a bad film, but rather about it not being what it could or should have been. And because certain actors and the cinematography are so good, it makes the stupid stand out so much more by contrast.
But at the end of the day, The Lone Ranger is most certainly not an abomination; it is not the end of the world. It is just a silly movie with its fair share of stupid moments and misfired jokes. You can do much worse.
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