The Movie: 7/10
To say I was not looking forward to this movie is an understatement. I don’t know why, but it never appealed to me. I had seen the trailer, thought about the subject, the characters, and even the cast, and was as neutral as I have been about watching any movie in a long time. This would seem to set me up for finding every fault, every ho-hum moment, every flaw in the story or dip in the dialogue. What happened in the over two hours of the story would not only shock and amaze me, but remind me that my first instincts about movies are not correct and I should go into each one as a blank slate, at least. I used to do that. I didn’t judge movies ahead of time, they were all endless possibilities of good movie entertainment. After watching thousands of films of all kinds, the vibe has changed. I get a whiff of a movie that does not appeal to me and I am awash with “Ugh”. It’s not fair and I vow now to not succumb to it again. (Exception to this will be the sequel to TED, so get over it.)
As for the movie, and not so much about my personal struggle with pre-judging, I absolutely enjoyed it. Love is a strong word. I LOVE Midnight Run and True Romance. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Wizard of Oz. Not many movies can live up to those capital letters. Thoroughly enjoying, completely being entertained by, and genuinely being surprised by a movie are precious things. The Lone Ranger did all this, and up against my preconceived notions. It has flaws, of course. It has glaring moments of forehead wrinkling uncomfortableness, but that’s part of its charm. I could do some trimming here and there, if they decided to let me have the chance:) But overall I had a memorable and satisfying experience with Tonto and The Ranger.
The cast is pretty good. Some folks are a bit overly campy at times, like they are on a Broadway stage instead of a movie set, but I guess the original Lone Ranger TV series might scream out for some of that. Let’s not forget the director is Gore Verbinski, and he loves a bit of melodrama and goofiness strewn through a lot of his movies, so I can accept it. Hammer and Depp have their moments as well, some good, some excellent, some almost borderline ridiculously not good. Variety is the spice of movie watching:) William Fichtner steals the show in every scene he does. He’s maniacal and menacing and as villains go, he’s got the creep factor I am always looking for. Ruth Wilson does a great job of being the damsel in distress, but with that 21st century look at that kind of character. She’s not weepy and weak, but she still has a certain vulnerability that men seem to love we all inhabit.
The action is big and there is just enough that it doesn’t get bogged down in big stunts and humdrum fight scenes. There are two big scenes with trains which are quite the spectacle. There are several fight scenes, but nothing that my brain can’t handle. I have a low tolerance for mind-numbing fighting in movies. We get it!! The good guy fights with the bad guys a few times before the final scene. The good guy always wins most of the time but might get the shit kicked out of him a little bit to remind us that he is in peril. No spoilers here, it is the way of storytelling for humans. The Lone Ranger doesn’t indulge in too much of this so that’s a good thing. There is a lot of dialogue and well paced scenes that take their time, which I always appreciate.
Overall I had a great time with The Lone Ranger. It will wake up some uncomfortable politically incorrect hairs on the backs of some of our necks. Any movie that has ever or will ever include the subject of the indigenous people of this continent being murdered so the greedy Europeans and newly self-proclaimed owners of the land could come along and take over, well, it’s going to be appropriately thought provoking. Don’t worry, if you don’t give a shit about any of that you won’t be bothered with the moral lessons that are included. Those are only visible to those of us who do think about these things in the bigger picture, outside the one on the movie screen.
- Bloopers – I was looking forward to seeing Johnny Depp fall over, alas everyone else falls over but he remains upright.
- Deleted Scenes – A deleted scene that involves a locust swarm. It’s unfinished and looks like a PS2 game but interesting and kinda nonsensical.
- Riding The Rails Of The Lone Ranger – This extra focuses on the set building, they actually laid a real railroad in the dessert and built trains just to achieve the final sequence.
- Arnie’s Western Road Trip – This is my favorite featurette here as Armie Hammer takes you on a tour of all the different filming locations. I love this guys enthusiasm it’s quite obvious he loves making movies.
- Becoming A Cowboy – The cast were sent to a cowboy boot camp for a whole month before filming began. Here you get to see them being put through the paces on the lead up to the movie.
- DVD & Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 5/10
I understand the cover, it is what it is. We must have Depp there to titillate and yet make sure that Armie Hammer is just as prominent, his IS the Lone Ranger after all. It’s just kind of boring. I wouldn’t have it as a poster, that’s for sure. The menu has some landscape happening and it moves a little, but also pretty much underwhelming. Let me just remind you, however, as I have said in other reviews, I couldn’t care less about the menus anymore. I just don’t see the point of making a menu anything other than navigation. I don’t want to spend time looking at the menu. I just want it to be functional.
Audio & Video: 9/10
The Lone Ranger is presented in 1080p AVC and is a pretty fine transfer that stands along the rest of Disney’s 2013 stellar releases. I did however see some ringing around the edges of some scenes so I cannot give it a perfect score. Black crush is not an issue and skin tone and fine detail are as good as it gets. Say what you like about the movie the presentation here is great.
The 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio surround track here brings the thrill of the wild west right into your living room. The end sequence here on the train is a standout with some amazing pinpoint perfect surround effects that will put you right into the action. Dialog is very clear and never overtook by the superb Hans Zimmer score.
The price for the blu ray is too much…so rent it online and enjoy. I don’t understand why they want to charge over $20 for a movie. I understand, you spent a lot to make the movie, but guess what, I didn’t tell you to spend that a much. You need to budget better or accept that movies aren’t frigging’ cures to diseases and shouldn’t be so expensive that they rival the cost of a monthly bill for things like water and food.
Overall Score 7/10