The Lone Ranger-attachment0

The Lone Ranger

Movie Information

The Story: Revisionist take on the origins of the Lone Ranger. The Lowdown: Big, spectacular, amazingly personal blend of the Western epic and comedy that addresses issues more weighty than one usually finds in summer movies — and this makes it troubling to some.
Score:

Genre: Revisionist Epic Western Comedy
Director: Gore Verbinski
Starring: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, Tom Wilkinson, William Fichtner, Helena Bonham Carter, Ruth Wilson
Rated: PG-13

Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger proves that it is indeed possible to make an inventive, highly personal, subversive big budget summer movie that’s actually about something. It also proves that there’s not much market for such a thing — with either the majority of the critics or the public — which means we may never see its like again. I’m not surprised. Before the first review hit, I had figured it was going to face a rough time on several counts — the ire of nostalgists who think the old Clayton Moore TV series is the bee’s knees, the wrath of those who grew to hate the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and, of course, the disdain of those who have decided that Johnny Depp is box-office poison. The Lone Ranger was the movie people seem to have wanted to see fail long before they had seen a single frame of film. That desire has been rewarded — guaranteeing us countless summers of movies like Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, Fast & Furious 6, Man of Steel and World War Z. Not that all of those are bad, but I’d trade the lot of them for a single film as imaginative and well made as The Lone Ranger.

If there’s anything actually wrong with the film — apart from the length, which I didn’t mind surprisingly — it’s that it’s too inventive, too clever and contains enough ideas for at least two movies. More films should have such “problems.” But let’s look at where I’m coming from. I have liked everything Verbinski has made (yes, even the Pirates sequels) since The Ring (2002). I am not suffering from Johnny Depp burnout. And I have zero reverence for the 1950s Lone Ranger TV show. That — combined with the fact that I expected to like this — probably makes me the perfect audience for it. Now, having said all that, I also have to say that the film far exceeded my expectations. This is awfully close to the summer blockbuster as “art film” — and it may even cross that line (except “art films” aren’t supposed to be fun).

Let’s start with the film’s framing story, set in 1933 (the year the radio series debuted). We’re in a San Francisco where the Golden Gate stands unfinished and about to meet in the middle (just like the transcontinental railroad of the main story). The camera wanders across this and over a fairground where a red balloon drifts away like a lost dream. Then the view settles on a tent promising the story of the Old West inside. There, a little boy (Mason Cook) — dressed as the Lone Ranger — looks dispassionately at dioramas until he reaches one labeled “The Noble Savage,” in which its occupant comes alarmingly to life. This is the fantastically aged Tonto (Depp) — whose make-up recalls Dustin Hoffman in Little Big Man (1970). It is he who will tell the film’s story — and despite what has been claimed in some quarters, this is not just a device. It’s central to the story and the question of how reliable any historical narrative is — including the film’s revisionism, because it’s not clear how credible Tonto is — especially, when the peanut bag he got from the kid in the framing story ends up in the main narrative. That Tonto’s possibly disarrayed memory and the framing story set up one of the film’s best gags is another plus — and just as important in its own way.

The story he tells is partly Buster Keaton-esque wild fun and partly a deeply disturbing look at American history. The combination of these elements seems to bother some people. It’s like our standards have been systematically lowered to the level of primetime TV drama where a story is either all comedic or all dramatic, and anything deviating from that is bad. Much has been made of the fact that the apparent main villain, Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner), is a mutilated sadist who indulges in cannibalism. Sure, this is disturbing, but it struck me as far less chilling than a later scene in which a cavalry officer (Barry Pepper) chooses to go along with the bad guys — because to do otherwise would mean admitting he and the Army just slaughtered hundreds of people for no remotely justifiable reason.

In other words, this is a post-modern revisionist Western decked out with slapstick, elaborate action gags, black humor, cinematically savvy references and spectacle. But, yes, this is a film in which John Reid/the Lone Ranger (Armie Hammer) starts out as something akin to Jimmy Stewart in John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) and finds himself pushed into being “the masked man” by a Tonto who really would have preferred Reid’s late brother in the role. Indeed, according to this film, Kemosabe means “wrong brother.” And this is the sort of thing that won’t sit well with purists.

But don’t sell the spectacle short. This is a movie that stages a huge train disaster in its earlier scenes, only to create an even more elaborate one in the film’s climax — thrillingly set to, yes, Rossini’s “William Tell Overture” (with some embellishments from Hans Zimmer). These sequences are not only breathtaking, they’re masterpieces of action filmmaking (easily the best action scenes this summer). Everything is coherent and even the CGI enhancements look solid. All this blends with wild comedy and countless references to other movies — there’s even a gag straight out of Bob Hope’s Call Me Bwana (1963), of all things. For me at least, it all coalesces into a film that is at once divinely silly, surprisingly deep and deceptively complex. Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence, and some suggestive material.

Playing at Carmike 10, Carolina Cinemas, Epic of Hendersonville, Flat Rock Cinema Regal Biltmore Grande

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About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress since December 2000. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

74 thoughts on “The Lone Ranger

  1. Voicedude

    I’m shooting a Western coming up myself, so I was interested to see how this one would do. When my theater started mistakenly showing Despicable Me 2, it wasn’t long until we started to regret changing back to Lone Ranger. This is so, SO bad! Not only are Jay Silverheels & Clayton Moore up in heaven shaking their heads, but Clinton Spillsbury is alive and well and shaking his head, because it makes that 70s remake look like a masterpiece! My review can be summed up indirectly with three points:

    1) Every scathing review I read was spot on! This movie had such disrespect for the Lone Ranger and it’s legend that it literally drags him through horse crap. Literally! Bad snark humor to debunk every myth & legend associated to it.

    2) It couldn’t be any more misguided than if it was called “Wild, Wild West 2Ф, for they are the same overblown, racist, cruelly violent revisionist films, and we expected more from those star/director teams whose unions we’ve so enjoyed in the past.

    3) They shouldТve just called it “Tonto”. That way they wouldn’t of trashed the legend so much because we would’ve expected it as a revision. Plus it would at least have one tiny piece of logic: it’s biggest star would actually be the title character.

    Hi yo, Silver! Go away! D -

  2. luluthebeast

    Mr. Voicedude.
    As one who watched THE LONE RANGER when it first came out and still do, I have to say that I think you’re completely and udderly wrong.

    There is no disrespect, but a love of the characters done with fantastic style, humor and pathos. The battle between the soldiers and the Native Americans, along with the Chief’s words, are worth the price of admission alone. The Chief’s description of Tonto’s history is beautifully done. I don’t know if you remember Lee Marvin’s Oscar speech for CAT BALLOU ( I would doubt it), but Silver was superb.
    Sorry if I go on, but comments like this really stirrup my emotions. I think you should giddy-up and go back and view it with an open mind. I’ll just bite the billet and leave. I could look up some more words, but that wouldn’t be farrier.

  3. Chip Kaufmann

    This early in the game I’ve come away with three observations…

    1) By opening this LONE RANGER on the same day as DESPICABLE 2, it seems the execs at Disney don’t like the film and are deliberately treating it as a tax writeoff since they have the profits of IRON MAN 3 to fall back on.

    2) I sure would be curious to see what kind of Western Voicedude is planning to shoot and what he plans to call it. For the sake of accuracy VD, THE LEGEND OF THE LONE RANGER came out in 1981 which a quick trip to -imdb- would have shown you.

    3) I do agree that the movie shouldn’t have been called THE LONE RANGER since very few people under 40 know who the Lone Ranger is. Considering the nature of the treatment, a Robert Altmanesque title like TONTO OR HOW THE LONE RANGER CAME TO WEAR HIS MASK would have been more fitting.

  4. cwebb

    Most reviewers at least pretend to be objective…this one went already planning to like it. I went expecting to love, but came away with this:

    This boomers opinion of The Lone Ranger.

    Well, its entertaining, I’ll giv’em that. Forget everything about the TV series, its really the story of Tonto with Lone Rangers as HIS sidekick…and told as what if Tonto was really the reincarnation of Captain Jack Sparrow and our beloved Clayton Moore was possessed by the spirit of Dudley Dooright and dumber than Lil Abner. Movie can’t decide if it is a spoof, a super hero movie with indestructable characters (including Silver), or Apocalypse Now, including US Army mowing down Indian warriors with gattling guns and a character cutting out a living mans heart and eating it. Throw in Dustin Hoffman’s Little Big Man for story telling device and voila’, today’s version of a western classic. Big business is the bogeyman with US Gov/Army as willing dupe. Lone Ranger’s takeaway…trust no one, so he NEEDS the mask. Even “Hi Ho Silver… Away” is served up for Depp punch line.

    …entertaining and worth seeing, but don’t expect a sequel. Maybe Disney will make a ride out of it for its theme parks…wouldn’t that be ironic. Hi Ho, Me Hardies, Yo Ho! :)

  5. Ken Hanke

    3) I do agree that the movie shouldn’t have been called THE LONE RANGER since very few people under 40 know who the Lone Ranger is. Considering the nature of the treatment, a Robert Altmanesque title like TONTO OR HOW THE LONE RANGER CAME TO WEAR HIS MASK would have been more fitting.

    I take it that the tone of the film reminded you of Buffalo Bill and the Indians or Sitting Bull’s History Lesson, too.

  6. Ken Hanke

    Most reviewers at least pretend to be objective…this one went already planning to like it.

    The operative word there is “pretend.” The prospect of an objective critic is essentially a myth and any critic who claims to be objective is either lying, or pounding sand up his own ass.

    Well, its entertaining, I’ll giv’em that

    So…what exactly is your beef?

  7. Big Al

    “except “art films” aren’t supposed to be fun”

    I think that is an outdated paradigm.

    Is “Lone Ranger” really doing that poorly at the box office? That is a better barometer than the cumulative reviews.

  8. Ken Hanke

    I have heard its not as racist as you might think but still kind of racist according to Slate at least

    It’s only racist if you consider Johnny Depp playing an Indian racist.

  9. Ken Hanke

    I think that is an outdated paradigm.

    Haven’t seen Amour, have you?

    Is “Lone Ranger” really doing that poorly at the box office?

    Not compared to Glitter or Gigli, no. Attendance is actually pretty good — but not vs. the cost of the film.

    That is a better barometer than the cumulative reviews.

    Not really — unless you consider, say, Transformers a great movie.

  10. Voicedude

    Luluthebeast – The word is СutterlyТ. And no one has yet deciphered your last word. With things like spell check, how do people miss that? Same way talented people can make bad films, I guess…
    Also, didnТt you find the execution and slaughter of the Natives hysterical – because it was IMMEDIATELY followed with a silly horse up a tree for laughs? How moving, no!?!? They did that thing twice. And of course I remember MarvinТs line, and IТm a bit impressed with your reach…

    Chip – 1) Disney and Dreamworks have been doing this kind of undercutting for a long time now. They HATE each other & actually go out of their ways to screw each other. 2) ItТs not MY Western, IТm just an actor in it. Plus, youТre right about Т81 & I almost did check, as thatТs me. I was thinking 1979, but if thatТs your biggest quibble. ;-) The interesting difference in the two is that 1981Тs was too reverent and this one was too flippant! 3) Agreed! See my first big point with Ken.

    Cwebb – You rock! Gave it more slack than I did…

    Ken – I donТt think it matters whether people directly remember a source or not. The obvious point of an ‘origin filmТ like this is to introduce them. But if theyТre going to do a whole new version of it (like JJ Abrams), then say so! And letТs face it: the ENTIRE reason they do a project like this IS name recognition – otherwise, why bother with rights? * Depp is apparently 1/8th Native American. One tribe recently honored him. * You canТt compare this to Glitter or Gigli because they didnТt cost $250 million! Maybe compare it to Ishtar or Waterworld.

    Save for one date, I stand by every word of my review. If you didnТt feel you wasted you time and money, good for you! Interesting how so many of you focused on me rather than the review or the movie – am I on Facebook? And those of you obsessed with an Сwhere’d the stranger came fromТ vibe kind of creep me out a little…

  11. Ken Hanke

    Luluthebeast – The word is СutterlyТ. And no one has yet deciphered your last word.

    Puns are completely lost on you, huh?

    Interesting how so many of you focused on me rather than the review or the movie

    Why? You brought nothing new to the table. You merely told an anecdote about going into the wrong theater (or having the theater start the wrong movie) and then repeated the basic rants of the negative reviews.

    And those of you obsessed with an Сwhere’d the stranger came fromТ vibe kind of creep me out a little…

    I’m a little creeped out by people hiding behind screen names, so we’re even. My curiosity, though, was aroused when you showed up shortly after this review went up on Rotten Tomatoes.

  12. Sophia Paryder

    FYI, ‘Voicedude,’ has just been copying and pasting that exact same message on various TLR reviews. So no I would say that he’s not a regular reader and I would bet that he hasn’t seen a single frame of TLR apart from the trailers.

  13. Voicedude

    Ken – you really think it was deliberate misspelling? That sheТs being clever? Honestly?!? * And any repetition was coincidental since I used all my OWN words, thoughts, and comparisons.

    OK, IТm officially creeped out by your Сwe donТt like strangers hereТ attitudes! DonТt worry folks, IТll never attempt to stimulate intelligent conversation here again. Clearly, the internet has killed that. So feel free to smugly post snark after I leave, because it shows such class…

  14. Ken Hanke

    Ken – you really think it was deliberate misspelling?

    In fact, I know they were. And a farrier is a blacksmith.

    I find your idea of stimulating intelligent conversation…interesting to say the least.

  15. gthi1955

    Ken – having read numerous reviews of this movie – good and scathingly bad – I found yours the most spot-on of them all! Clearly, you took time to appreciate what the movie really offers. Yes, it is a stirring action movie, but it is so much more.

  16. luluthebeast

    At least Ken caught that, I have been around horses all my life. And voicedude, you should check out how symbolic the horse is in Native American life, it might add some perspective for you.

  17. Big Al

    “I think that is an outdated paradigm.” Me.

    “Haven’t seen Amour, have you?” K.H.

    No, so I don’t get the reference, but I think you are making my point, that art films are no longer expected to be boring or elitist. I am glad to see some artsy spillover into mainstream film, just like I am glad to see art films let their hair down a bit.

  18. Big Al

    “Not really — unless you consider, say, Transformers a great movie.”

    Reviews on movies made for kids are irrelevant, they don’t read them, they just go to see films with lots of explosions and action.

    I see your point re: cost vs return, but what I really wanted to know was are the number of viewers of “Lone Ranger” supporting or refuting the negative reviews?

  19. liza

    good job, ken… i think you are completely and utterly spot on with your review… since i’ve seen the movie a few days ago, i couldn’t stop thinking about it in general and about its various pieces in particular… i do feel there is a lot of information on different levels and for different audiences packed in this movie… and that’s a good and rare thing in modern blockbusters… and you are right, that’s what differentiates art from a standard popcorn cg adventure… i figured out the trick, you need to see this movie several times to give it justice and yourself a chance to get into the multi-layered content and just get a grasp on it all… i did not expect anything as complex and beautiful like that from the trailer, i am with you here… it’s one of the best movies i have seen since batman, that’s for sure… a piece of art in the skin of a blockbuster?! wow! verbinski outdid himself, happy to say… thank you for the review…

  20. Ken Hanke

    No, so I don’t get the reference, but I think you are making my point, that art films are no longer expected to be boring or elitist.

    Not really. There are few things less fun than Amour, but it was the best reviewed art film last year.

    I am glad to see some artsy spillover into mainstream film, just like I am glad to see art films let their hair down a bit.

    There’s always been some overlap, but once upon a time — back in the “real” 1960s, which means roughly 1965-75 — things that are now in the art film niche were playing in the mainstream. But release patterns were very different then. There was no such thing as a movie opening on 4,000 screens.

    Reviews on movies made for kids are irrelevant, they don’t read them, they just go to see films with lots of explosions and action.

    But in terms of target audience, you’ve kind of described The Lone Ranger.

    I see your point re: cost vs return, but what I really wanted to know was are the number of viewers of “Lone Ranger” supporting or refuting the negative reviews?

    How can you really tell? Are the numbers on the low side because of the reviews? Or is it word of mouth? So-called “Depp fatigue?” The fact that westerns don’t do well? The fact that most people don’t care about the Lone Ranger, if they even know who is? But one thing is sure: if the movie hadn’t cost so much to make, this would all be a non-issue.

  21. liza

    the numbers of viewers of lone ranger are certainly refuting negative reviews… 1) they are much bigger than for most artsy movies released, 2) they have been influenced by the blunt massive crap written and rewritten by those trusted to be pros but still are around $80mln after just one week, 3) disney’s chronic inability to professionally budget and promote a good movie has been criticized as the main drawback although it has nothing to do with the quality of the movie, 4) as more people go to see and like the movie, a campaign against vile reviews is building up… it’s probably only the beginning

  22. Ashley

    Great review, Ken! Seeing it again with your points in mind. Perhaps a critic who actually gave the film a chance would appreciate these SPOILER tidbits from this article: http://www.uc.edu/news/NR.aspx?id=18092

    “With the exception of Tonto speaking pidgin English, the film employed authentic Native American details, many of which could be missed by the casual viewer:

    - Tonto drops corn on the ground and appears to feed it to the dead raven he uses as a headdress; this is actually a blessing, because corn is sacred.

    - The raven is a symbolic messenger in both Native American culture and the film to signify impending events. TontoТs raven headdress comes from a painting Depp saw that depicted a warrior.

    - A few Native American practices were borrowed from other tribes including the windigo, an evil cannibal spirit that is the villain in the movie. The windigo comes from Algonquian mythology, rather than the Comanche tribe.

    - Tonto frequently calls the Lone Ranger “kemo sabe.” The word is from the Potowatomi language and means Уfriend.Ф

    - The Spirit Horse (which the Lone Ranger rides) is white, symbolic of the Spirit of the North Wind, which provides guidance and wisdom of the ancestors.

    - Tonto remains in face paint through most of the film. Typically, Native Americans donned the paint only during ceremonies. Because Tonto felt threatened by the windigo through much of the movie, the paint served as a mask to protect him from the evil windigo spirits. The paint does not appear in scenes that took place after the threat was eliminated.

    -TontoТs costume includes a typical Comanche breastplate. Filmmakers took artistic license with its color and composition (they typically were white bone or shell, but TontoТs is black water buffalo horn).

    - Tankersley also noted that the Comanche actors wore real eagle feathers, while the non-Native American characters donned painted turkey feathers, since only Native Americans are permitted to have eagle feathers.

  23. But one thing is sure: if the movie hadnТt cost so much to make, this would all be a non-issue.

    It would be interesting to see a budget breakdown and find out how much of that was above the line costs like Depp, Verbinski and Bruckheimer’s fees. Watching the film, it certainly didn’t surprise me that the budget had been north of $200 million. It has the most convincing effects work I’ve seen since THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. Not to mention the stunning location work, which I understand contributed to budget overruns as weather issues delayed the schedule.

    The other thing to note, of course, is that if the film were doing better, the budget would be a non-issue. MAN OF STEEL cost $225 million, IRON MAN 3 and MONSTERS UNIVERSITY cost $200 million, OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL cost $215 million.
    STAR TREK 2 and WORLD WAR Z look like indies with their sub-$200 million budgets.

    To put contemporary budgets in perspective, THE OOGIELOVES IN THE BIG BALLOON ADVENTURE cost $20 million dollars.

  24. DrSerizawa

    Er, in case no one’s noticed the term “racist” has been so overused that it has become virtually meaningless. “Genocide” is being used more and more now and will probably suffer the same fate.

    My point being that I no longer pay attention to such accusations when deciding to see a film.

  25. Xanadon't

    It has the most convincing effects work I’ve seen since THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.

    And more memorable, I’d say, since I’ll have to take your word on that. I’ll add that I’d have to go back to the Sherlock Holmes sequel to find a match in the level of fun and imagination that went into the action sequences. I don’t if it’s possible for anyone to admire Keaton’s The General and then take, at the very least, this aspect of The Lone Ranger for granted.

  26. Ken Hanke

    My point being that I no longer pay attention to such accusations when deciding to see a film.

    To be honest, I never did. I’d rather see for myself — and I’ve never bought into the idea that someone playing a character of a different race is automatically racist. Intent is always a factor for me, for one thing.

  27. Ken Hanke

    And more memorable, I’d say, since I’ll have to take your word on that.

    Has that all but completely evaporated from your mind, too?

    I don’t [know] if it’s possible for anyone to admire Keaton’s The General and then take, at the very least, this aspect of The Lone Ranger for granted.

    While I would agree with you, I saw at least one critic claim that the use of CGI to enhance the scenes…well, you can fill in the rest. I always wonder if people who go off on this sort of tangent have the same problem with glass shots, matte paintings, traveling mattes, process work, and rear screen. (I also wonder if all of them even know what those are.) Did they also suddenly write off Harold Lloyd and Fairbanks the Elder when they found out that the idea that they did all their own stunts was PR?

  28. DrSerizawa

    Every scathing review I read was spot on! This movie had such disrespect for the Lone Ranger and it’s legend that it literally drags him through horse crap. Literally! Bad snark humor to debunk every myth & legend associated to it.

    Respect – disrespect. Eh. It was a TV show fer heaven’s sake! Talk about much ado over nothing. It’s just critics inventing controversy.

    Myth? Legend?

    Since when? There ain’t no such thing connected to The Lone Ranger. Nor Whirlybirds nor Sky King nor The Cisco Kid nor any other defunct 50s TV show.

  29. Ken Hanke

    Well, The Cisco Kid has a more impressive history than the others — at least he was invented by O. Henry and was in a landmark early talkie, In Old Arizona.

  30. DrSerizawa

    I can only imagine how the critics would howl if they made a movie of The Cisco Kid and depicted Poncho just like they did in the TV series. If Poncho was modernized it would be “defiling a legend”. If he was left as he was originally it’d be racism.

    Note that The Lone Ranger isn’t the only movie that’s tanking. Monsters University is sucking too.

    How do you spend $200 million making a cartoon anyhow? I mean really. I thought the advantage to animated features was the huge profit margin.

  31. DrSerizawa

    Watch it there. I don’t want to hear anyone talking shit about WHIRLYBIRDS!

    I loved Whirlybirds when I was a kid. I wouldn’t want to watch any of the original shows now because I’m pretty sure it would ruin the memory. It’s like old cars. You think nostalgically about them but if you actually acquire one you get to relive just how crappy they actually were. Don’t start me on the Olds Cutlass Convertible I had briefly a few years ago. What a hunk a junk.

  32. Ken Hanke

    I can only imagine how the critics would howl if they made a movie of The Cisco Kid and depicted Poncho just like they did in the TV series. If Poncho was modernized it would be “defiling a legend”. If he was left as he was originally it’d be racism.

    “Oh, Pancho!”
    “Oh, Ceesco!”

    And yet, after we showed History Is Made at Night with Leo Carrillo (Pancho) in comic relief support, I bet we could’ve started a Leo Carrillo Fan Club.

  33. Ken Hanke

    I wouldn’t want to watch any of the original shows now because I’m pretty sure it would ruin the memory.

    I tried that sort of thing years ago by attempting to watch old episodes of I Married Joan. I adored that when I was five or six. Ye gods. Even some newer stuff like Good Morning, World that I’d liked when I was 13 or 14 should not have been revisited. As for old cars…well, my days of them are over, but I do dearly love an MG and most Brit sports car. I’ve also gone through enough of them to know that they’re unreliable as hell and are constantly breaking down.

  34. DrSerizawa

    As for old cars…well, my days of them are over, but I do dearly love an MG and most Brit sports car. I’ve also gone through enough of them to know that they’re unreliable as hell and are constantly breaking down.

    I had an MG Midget briefly. What a lot of fun but what a nightmare. Ironically the best “British” sports car of the late 60s was the two-seater Datsun1600. My brother had one for a couple of years and had very few problems.

  35. Ken Hanke

    Yeah, but it ain’t British. I’m amused that it’s one of those Datsuns pictured rusting away in the Mazda commercial when they’re touting how “when everyone else had given up on the roadster” they made a huge success out of the Miata.

    Thing is, if my physical condition would go for it (and it won’t) I’d buy an MG TF tomorrow.

  36. Ken Hanke

    Perhaps a critic who actually gave the film a chance would appreciate these

    Thank you, Ashley, those were indeed interesting.

  37. carlos

    This is a must see film. I was taken by my nieces, kicking and screaming-thought it was going to be horrible, but it is great!
    Best anti government, anti corporation film I’ve seen in years. Lots of hidden meanings and innuendos. If you aren’t brain dead, this is a great film to go and contemplate–think about the historic use of a fool ( a tonto) in the king’s court as the conscious of the kingdom, or about the use of the military to keep corporations in control…etc etc.

  38. Bob Voorhees

    Wow! The Tomatoes” critics have really fried this one! I tend to agree with The Crankster that it was both silly and brilliant. It’s as though some company gave the director countless millions and said: “Do whatever the hell you want” and he replied with: “Look ma, no hands.”
    A few random comments:
    1)With about 20 minutes to go, one character yelled:”What the hell just happened?” and I was one of the 6-8 in the audience who laughed aloud at the irony.
    2) Johnny Depp can do anything. If someone decides to do a film based on the life of Ethel Merrman, I want Depp in the lead role.
    3) How could they have picked a bigger dufus than Hammer to try to act with Depp? What in the hell was he trying to do in the first half of the movie? Depp looked more like an Indian than he did a 19th century Western law-dude.
    4) Why didn’t they just get the black sherrif from “Blazing Saddles” and really have some fun?
    5) Here’s a hunch: go back and listen to the voice of Jay Silverheels in the 50′s TV stuff. See if you don’t think Depp was doing a little homage to Silverheels in the way he used his voice
    in the part
    6). Scout’s agent should be livid!! A ten second cameo at the end! Are you kidding me!
    7)Is it possible that this mish-mash of craziness was actually made by Mel Brooks?
    8)Why would KH call this movie a “disturbing” look at aspects of our history? Didn’t we know about the genocide going in?
    9I really liked William Fichtner as the flesh-eating monster. I mean, what he did was disheartening (sorry) but “tasteful” (sorry) in that the consumption wasn’t overt in the movie.
    10) I wonder what percent of the national audience knew what was being done with the goofy rabbits? Maybe you had to know Midsummer Night’s Dread to understand.

  39. Ken Hanke

    Why would KH call this movie a “disturbing” look at aspects of our history? Didn’t we know about the genocide going in?

    I think the context — being in a deliberately goofy movie — makes it disturbing. That and the scene where Barry Pepper’s character deliberately chooses to side with the villains rather than realize what he’s done.

    I really liked William Fichtner as the flesh-eating monster. I mean, what he did was disheartening (sorry) but “tasteful” (sorry) in that the consumption wasn’t overt in the movie.

    People see what they want to and remember things differently than what was actually on the screen. I’ve seen one person note that she “doesn’t like gore.” There’s precious little actual gore.

  40. Jeremy Dylan

    There’s precious little actual gore.

    Outside of the small reflection in Armie Hammer’s eye for a couple of seconds (will this even be visible on smaller screens?), there is close to zero.

    This is fun for all ages action and adventure, ala PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN. The perception that’s floating around in some quarters makes it sound like Eli Roth presents THE LONE RANGER.

  41. Timothy Vance

    Ken, your review is the one comes closest to my take on the movie. This is what I posted on my facebook page after seeing the movie tonight:

    Ter and I saw “The Lone Ranger” tonight. Was unexpectedly emotionally affected. The movie was often hilarious and slapsticky with the mad, quirky humor of Johnny Depp throughout and strangely reminding me of “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.” Then reminding me in places of two movies Ter and I saw from the early 1970′s, Dustin Hoffman in “Little Big Man” and the heart-breaking “Soldier Blue.”

    One can go to the movie and enjoy it merely for its humorous, quirky portrayal of the Lone Ranger and Tonto. Or one can see the story’s humor as cathartic, because we know from the start the Native American never had a chance against the greed of Manifest Destiny Americans, and thus like Abraham Lincoln, we must laugh “for if I didn’t laugh, I would cry.”

    A young boy listens to a very old Tonto tell his tale and asks, “Is your story true?” To which Tonto lofts a silver bullet to the young boy and says, “Whatever you want to believe.” Which is the message to the movie-goer.

  42. LYNX

    Tonto’s not a simple character, either; he’s not only Native American (and why don’t we get real; the government’s the only ones who can start reparations sorely needed by the Native Americans)he’s suffering from ptsd, by the invasion and takeover of what might as well be hostile Aliens).He has abandonment issues, since he was forced from his tribe at an early age because he was pressured by white men he brought back to the tribe, because they were nearly dead, to show them the river where silver lined the hills. The use of CGI was where it should have been; the beginning of the film, after the intro by the kid with the sad, pretty eyes to an aging Tonto, who (and I believe that’s some kind of wax skin makeup blended with cgi, which is a brilliant place to use it, and even enlarging the kids eyes a little, as they did with Johnny Depp in “Alice in Wonderland”)Of course Lucas’ Light and Magic scorpions and killer rabbits are right on the money. Tonto starts his tale where he’s sharing a train ride to a hanging with the villain; for being guilty of being Indian, defined as a crazy Indian at that, so he has a mental illness stigma. I agree that the film’s deceptively deep and complicated, and for some reason was sent out like a bull’s eye target, Depp at the center, for everyone to shoot down. why, I don’t know it is sooo misunderstood. Lack of imagination in viewers, maybe. Glad someone besides me thinks it’s way underrated.

  43. Ken Hanke

    That needs some kind of government health warning on it.

    Thank you so much for sharing. (That’s dripping with sarcasm in case it escapes you.) It’s instructive to see how you spend your time.

  44. lynx

    Ken, at least that’s not how I make my money. Do you really think I spend time writing these reviews to be sarcastic? I usually spend O time on this #^%#!
    So sorry I like your review. Who cares about you? as long as you ‘get’ the film and put it out there, who cares about you?

  45. Lynx

    BTW how do you think you know how I spend my time, since I wrote that once and pasted it here? It’s obvious you don’t appreciate the humor, and actually try to negate the point that it’s the government that needs a health check. This happens to be a matter of national concern, our government is ignoring Native Americans treaties. So I’ll spend as much time as I like on this issue. I don’t care who likes it or not, just like anyone else so why bother. Not exactly the sharpest observation Mr.”Me”

  46. lynx

    “Instructive” doesn’t even make sense! Instruct you to do what? You have this online so people don’t share? NOW I’m WASTING time because every remark you’ve made about what I said is ridiculous. I was just glad someone (who cares if it was you?) pointed out the obvious about the film. Guess you can’t take my originality. That’s why someone like you is just a critic.

  47. Ken Hanke

    What in the hell are you talking about? My comment was in reference to the post by the person who calls himself “Me” (who, I assure you, is not me). I didn’t say a word about your post.

    You’re awfully quick to take offense. What needs a government health warning is the link “Me” posted. And what is instructive is how he spends his time. I thought the fact that my comment came directly after his would make this clear.

    For the record, I agreed with what you said.

  48. Ken Hanke

    What, they are serious about films.

    I’m going to guess that refers to that link you provided?

    I know someone else on here that is quick to take offense it’s his schtick.

    I really can’t think of a regular on here that describes. And I’m not sure that’s this guy’s schtick. I think perhaps he just doesn’t pay very close attention to what he’s reading. Now, I know somebody on here that describes pretty well.

  49. lynx

    Okay, I apologise. “Me” is confusing matters. And yes, I’m quick to take offense. It’s not clear who’s talking to who about what since “Me”‘s talking about
    everyone else, and I knew “Me” isn’t you, Ken. And thanks for clarifying that, and I’m glad someone (and of course that’s Ken) gave a great review, and
    got what I meant.

  50. lynx

    To leave it on this note; The Lone Ranger’s worked up a lot of controversy, good and bad about Native Americans, and I’ve become aware of Indian online publications. Now, even when our government does something right; they’ve been providing Native Americans with a good education,(which as pointed out in the article; it can be tough to graduate high school when confronting below poverty conditions like hunger, no electricity, water or plumbing. Doesn’t all that come first, even before Third World Country aid? Not to mention that our government, our reluctant to help the Indians government, Indians most of us love, in the general sense one loves flowers, is making it hard to get a higher education for those Indians who can and want to, even under too difficult to imagine conditions. They’ve invented a Sequester. Their news should be our news, since we never hear about them, because they have no access to our media, and it’s easier for our government to ignore their needs, and not do right by them, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out we want their land for minerals like oil and uranium, it’s not silver this time. So why can’t our government get like the friendly humane Aliens, instead of the unending hostile, greedy, invasive ALIENS? “Me” I don’t care what you say, I’m not responding to you. This is an important issue and shouldn’t settle after The Lone Ranger’s controversy is gone and settles in the dust.

  51. Me

    That makes two of us that are cranky. Crankys not your schtick?

    Pay attention i don’t read it at all. Maybe skim it.

  52. Ken Hanke

    Crankys not your schtick?

    There’s a difference in being cranky and being quick to take offense.

    Pay attention i don’t read it at all. Maybe skim it

    And yet you feel compelled to remark on it. That doesn’t strike you as peculiar? I’m pretty sure that you haven’t seen The Lone Ranger, have no intention of seeing it, and haven’t read this review.

  53. Ken Hanke

    But…have you even seen the film at hand? If not, you’re commenting about articles unread on movies unwatched.

  54. Jeremy Dylan

    On another note, THE LONE RANGER is still the best movie I’ve seen this year.

    If anyone reading this hasn’t seen it yet, get your ass to a cinema posthaste.

  55. Jeremy Dylan

    Ears and eyes might elevate the experience. Mouths, however, should be kept shut or left at home until the movie is over.

  56. DrSerizawa

    Yes yes, very nice. What I like about an actual good movie is that things like Monument Valley being in Texas or Promontory, Utah being only a days horse ride from there aren’t annoying. I decided I even liked the way they cribbed some of Enio Morricone’s scores.

    Ruth Wilson looked so much like Meg Foster that I had to check her bio because I would have sworn she was Meg’s kid. She did a pretty good job on a mostly thankless role I thought. In fact everyone was good. Tom Wilkinson looked like he was having a great time. And how can one not love Helena Carter with a 12 gauge ivory.

    I want a horse like that.

  57. Edwin Arnaudin

    Ruth Wilson

    Discount Emma Stone.

    And how can one not love Helena Carter with a 12 gauge ivory.

    She has a severe case of Rose McGowan leg.

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