Tuesday, July 2, 2013
By James A. Molnar
The Lone Ranger,” in theaters July 3.
That great movie was “Rango,” a highly stylized and smart, animated feature from 2011. Depp voiced an ordinary chameleon that found himself the sheriff of a small town in need of a hero.
“Rango” is 40 minutes shorter than “The Lone Ranger” and more impactful. Plus, younger viewers won’t be as frightened.
“The Lone Ranger” features a gallimaufry of great storytelling, acting and visuals.
Depp plays sidekick Tonto and ends up stealing the movie. One could wonder why the movie wasn’t titled “Tonto: The Weird One.”
Armie Hammer, known for his roles in “The Social Network” and “J. Edgar,” plays the title character and appears to have stronger morals this box office season than the Man of Steel himself. It’s quite a refreshing portrayal, even with the gore and violence that surrounds him.
The 2.5-hour movie begins in 1933 San Francisco as the famous Bay Bridge is being built. Audiences are greeted with a curious young cowboy enthusiast who is visiting a historical exhibition on The Wild West. An older Tonto comes to life and begins to tell his story. There is a flashback to 1869 to Colby, Texas, and the adventure begins.
This flashback style of storytelling seems to be an odd approach for this movie, almost unnecessary and confusing at times.
Where this movie really works, however, is in the action sequences and the interaction between the Ranger and Tonto.
Similar to what Walt Disney Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer Films did for the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series, “The Lone Ranger” features ridiculous action sequences and blockbuster thrills.
Oddly though for a Disney film, this is not appropriate for young children. The PG-13 rating is easily earned. William Fichtner plays a convincing and scary villain — the unscrupulous outlaw Butch Cavendish.
Fans of the classic TV series will note sequences edited to the iconic William Tell Overture.
As box office fatigue begins to set in this summer season, it’s enjoyable to have a classic superhero at the cinema that doesn’t have to don a cape or fly through the sky.
Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence, and some suggestive material.