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In 1933 the world was going through some changes that would shape the world we live in today. In Europe, Germany was beginning to become a force of power again, India, Gandhi was peacefully fighting indiscretions, and Siam dealing with rebellion is just a few things happening around the world.
Even in our own backyard we have changes happening; ‘Dust Bowl’ hurting crops, trying to initiate the ‘New Deal’ to end the Great Depression, ending of prohibition and building of new marvels such as the Golden Gate Bridge. All of this helped shape our country as it is today but an icon was also born that would become a symbol of good and justice in America, the Lone Ranger.
John Reid is the new lawyer to the territory. Before even getting to his new place of work, his old home, trouble amasses as the notorious outlaw “Butch” Cavendish breaks out of his custody to continue to reap the area in every possible evil way. With a posse, lead by his older brother, John heads after Cavendish, only to be gunned down in an ambush. A Cherokee Indian, Tonto revives John, partnering with him to right the wrongs that have been done. In the name of justice the two head out on an adventure to save the territory from a much larger plan orchestrated by an even more devious foe.
Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy) steps off the deck and into the old west with “The Lone Ranger”, partnering with his old side kick, Jerry Bruckheimer and Walt Disney Pictures to bring this campfire tale to the big screen in a big budgeted manner.
If you think you are in for “Pirates of the Caribbean” in the old west plains, you’re not far off. The screen story and screenplay were written by “Pirates” alum Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio along with upcoming screenwriter Justin Haythe (Snitch, Revolutionary Road). This band of three writers has created a story that holds the mythos of the Lone Ranger while trying to make this another tent pole feature for Disney. Their attempt is a very good comedy, action adventure but still has much of an undertone of “Pirates” that may keep some from going back and seeing this film over and over again. Then again Johnny Depp is in this film so they may not have had to rely so much on the story. Some of that can also be attributed to Gore’s hands on approach to every aspect of the filmmaking process.
Looking at a wide scope of the films direction, Gore has brought you a very visually appealing film both in real setting and in the ever expanding generated variety that you should watch to enjoy not analyze. That’s what we, reviewers and critics are here to do. Oh but wait, in our digital age everyone has an opinion as to how things should be done, so we’ll stick to the facts of our eyes.
With Gore’s direction, sharp eye shooter cinematographer, Bojan Bazelli (Mr. &Mrs. Smith, The Ring) has captured the essence of the old west. Even though we know the story takes place in Texas, Bazelli’s weaving of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and California locals into the Texas backdrop set up some stunning long shots that do take your breath away. What could not be done practically was painstakingly done by an army of visual effects artist who deserve their share of the booty, I mean Comstock Lode.
We all know that if Gore is working on a film he has to have his go-to guy Hans Zimmer to create the audible sense. Just as the writers tend to be resting on their laurels, Hans doesn’t go far away from the dock with the feeling of the films melodious character. A perceptible observation of this can be heard as character melody played when Tonto, played by Johnny Depp, is on screen solo is similar to the character melody of Depp’s Captain Jack. Coincidence? Hmmm, I’ll let you judge.
Since I mentioned characters lets step away from behind the bar and go to the true basis of this story, the actors. Obviously Johnny Depp has stepped into a role he is very capable of playing in Tonto. Although many in the industry and the reservations would have liked to have seen an actor from the Nations play the part of Tonto a Cherokee Indian, I was surprised and delighted to watch Depp’s portrayal. You can see a bit of Sparrow slide in there for a moment, but Depp tries to break the stereotypical playing of an American Indian and truly play this character as a broken man that is the Rangers equal not sidekick. Paired with Armie Hammer’s Lone Ranger depiction and you do have a ‘brothers in arms’ partnership. Armie brings much to the table that has not been shown in previous adaptations I’ve seen, namely the conflict inside of what is justice when the person you are judging cares not about the morals of the majority. To both men, I have to say, a very fine job all around.
And they are not alone as the rest of the ensemble proves, your overall cast makes your movie or at least helps it flow correspondingly and not trudge along. With some great character actors stepping up their game to relative newcomers to big budgeted films, every actor plays their part respectively well. William Fichtner (Black Hawk Down, The Dark Night) plays the ever evil elusive villain “Butch” Cavendish. Tom Wilkinson (Batman Begins, Shakespeare in Love) portrays the train man doing everything he can to get the company’s train schedule done. A little sexy comedy is played by the ever changing Helen Bonham Carter. And fairly new to the big screen, Ruth Wilson has upped her acting prowess as John’s sister-in-law Ruth Reid.
In all “The Lone Ranger” is a fanciful ride thru the tall tales of the old west told in a way that will grab the modern day young adult by the reins and set them on an adventure. This is a film to enjoy for what it is, entertainment and not a factual interpretation of the period in which it is presented. So turn off your judgment mind, sit back and just take pleasure in the fruits of many artists labor.
Now for a casual stroll down the street of life. As I do with my reviews, a little art imitating life feature I always include. The Lone Ranger has been part of our history for some time now. Popping up in many incarnations, even in different light or darkness as the film “The Crow” depicts. One thing stands out in all of the stories presented is his love. He is a man who loves his work, his family and even someone who he cannot be with, and does so all under the guise of truth and justice. But what is truth and justice? Who says what you can and cannot do? Is one man’s right another’s wrong and vice versa? I’ve had these dilemmas before. What should I do in a situation, choose what the majority of society feels is correct or follow my gut, my intuition, my heart? It all comes down to the important question can you live with the choice you make? I’ve lived my life each day to the fullest, knowing each step I take, each decision I make will be one that in the end I will answer for whether good or bad the choice. I live each day with love in my heart and the knowledge I’ve learned from the paths I’ve taken. Unlike the Lone Ranger though, I do it with no mask.
Follow my entertainment adventures throughout Southern California on Twitter @SCThrillsMarc.