Friday, July 05, 2013

The Lone Ranger (Revised)

I've been waiting to see the Lone Ranger since I first saw the trailers. I was a fan of both the radio and TV shows. I liked Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels in their role and this is clearly not trying to do a Xerox of the original players that those of us who grew up with them would remember.   The Critics have had a hissy fit on the movie.  Kenneth Turan from the LA Times growled "For though it cost the earth (an estimated $250 million) and involved enough men and material to invade a small country, "The Lone Ranger" exists without a convincing sense of jeopardy or, more critically, any place for audiences to emotionally connect. That TV show may have been modesty itself in terms of production values, but we cared about its heroes in a way we do not here." From my perspective I do not quite understand why it is relevant what the movie cost to make.  But Turan spends 14 paragraphs in his review figuring every way to diss the film.

This is one of those movies where you will have to decide for yourself. The fan community seems to have come to a different conclusion. A typical fan review says "Was disappointed to hear that some movie reviewers did not like it. Now having seen it, I wonder how those reviewers keep their jobs at all. Quite a puzzle. Great movie, good character development, reasonable special effects. "

The plot of the movie is definitely revisionist. John Reid, the ranger, is a bit of a green horn and a goof. Turan describes him as an "incompetent tenderfoot" - which shows that he actually did see the movie. Tonto is a bit odd. Turan expected him to be less of a comic figure (Depp plays the character as a counterpoint to the Ranger's goofiness). The camaraderie is very different from the original pair that most of us remember. Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp play well off each other in a way that is in some ways more compelling than the original pair.   The original pair played off each other almost as lord and vassal.   I suspect that this revision is disconcerting to some of the critics.  So be it.

So is the movie perfect?  No.  I think it could have benefitted from a bit of editing, it was a bit long.   Surprisingly I was also not a fan of some of the special effects.  (But you expect those kinds of things in a summer movie.)    The character development between the two main characters and the villains is interesting.   The bad guys are also a bit quirky - but for this, I think it works.

The movie opened against Despicable Me 2 - which has gotten good reviews and much better box office (that movie raked in four times what the Ranger did on its first day).

If you want a carbon copy of the 1950s TV show you will be sorely disappointed.  Clearly many of the "professional" critics wanted the clone.  If you are ready to see a different image of these characters that is fun and different then you will be pleasantly surprised.

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