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Lone Ranger too much of not enough

Paul Peterson

Paul Peterson

In preparation for this week’s column, I watched one of the original episodes of The Lone Ranger just to see  the differences. It was a simpler time and let’s not forget the inherent racism that was part of the fabric of the times, but it was still rather entertaining.
Caricatures of good and evil fighting it out for a small piece of the wild west and perhaps a bigger chunk of the afterlife.
This was about a man and his horse and his sidekick, in that order and Clayton Moore WAS The Lone Ranger.
I’m not so sure about this year’s model, some dude named Army Hammer.
OK – let’s get the obvious out of the way.
Johnny Depp is always entertaining and he brings a certain cachet to any role. In this case it’s Jack Sparrow in a head dress. You may have enjoyed this film the first time you saw it and it was called Pirates of the Caribbean.
Everybody’s back. Well at least director Gore Verbinsky and Depp.
There’s a lot of overlap which is a polite term for been there seen that.
In all fairness, the story is told from Tonto’s point of view. It’s his recounting of the legend that became The Lone Ranger to a young lad that drives the story arc. It’s awkward at times but we need some device.

Our story so far. Butch Cavendish is a bad man. He kills John Reid’s brother and leaves Reid for dead. They’re lawmen trying to tame the west.
Reid is rescued by Tonto mostly at the insistence of a mysterious white horse who is to Mustangs and Palominos as The Littlest Hobo is to German Shepherds. The horse, by the way, is absolutely amazing and deserves to be in more films but apparently it wants to go back to its roots on Broadway. Go figure.

Reid reluctantly becomes a masked man on the side of the law although back in the day wearing a mask suggested you were either a bad guy or Europe freaky. It makes for some difficult moments for the never quite comfortable Lone Ranger.
Turns out there’s more than just this Cavendish behind his brother’s death. It’s a big old wild west conspiracy and so the game is afoot. They must root out all of the evil to truly avenge his brother’s death.
Ho hum
They spent 250,000,000.00 on this.

Here’s the thing.
Once you’ve seen one massive fight/chase/swordfight on top of a train you’ve kind of seen them all and all that’s left to the director is to make the ensuing ones even more ridiculous.
I got bored.
I didn’t buy the evil businessman angle and I thought the train stuff was tedious.
Some of it works, but again, this movie is 149 minutes long. That’s about 35 minutes more than it needed.
I know I beat that drum a lot but you watch it and tell me I’m wrong.

There are good parts to the film. The simplicity of the old west is fun. Handguns instead of battling robots is a welcome relief. Depp in anything is great and Helena Bonham Carter is unusually lovely in this.

I didn’t mind the story being told backwards, it actually worked well at times because parts of the story could be left dangling.
It was just too much of not enough. It may well be the biggest grossing western of all time but it certainly isn’t the best.
It’s ok summer fun and if it was shorter I would probably give it more than a tepid might be worth a look.
When will these directors learn?
Less is more.
I’m just saying.
As always, other opinions are welcome, but wrong. That’s it for this week. The cheque’s in the mail and I’m outta here. Paul

Filed Under: News from Everywhere ElsePaul Peterson

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  1. Jake S says:

    hi fed up: thanks for the tip…makes sense if Paul is not a critic, but all the more reason not to say “When will these directors ever learn”?

    anyway, thanks, fed up!

  2. Marnie says:

    Maybe those of us living in the “small pond” enjoy the observations of our local critic, just as written. We are not NYC and things work a little differently here. When in Rome – – –

  3. fed up says:

    fyi Jake–reasonable comments if directed at a real critic, but just to be fair–Paul runs the local drive in–he’s not a professional critic.

  4. Jake S says:

    Good evening, Paul

    Just to start, I’m up here from the NYC area looking at maybe finding a summer place for the family. Finding anything in my state is not easy and you sure have some beautiful spaces in Prince Edward County.

    I’ve been paying attention to your reviews and sharing them with the kids: Here’s the thing, if I may say. Don’t small-town it so much…you are reviewing movies, man. Who says, “I don’t mind the movie being told backwards”? I’ve made a couple of movies, and i do not want a critic saying that: Who cares? That is not criticism

    And this, “Once you’ve seen one massive fight/chase/swordfight on top of a train you’ve kind of seen them all and all that’s left to the director is to make the ensuing ones even more ridiculous.
I got bored.”

    You got bored? Well, you said it yourself “once you’ve seen”. I can understand you get bored, but could you watch some quality stuff, and write on that?

    And, please don’t ever close with “When will these directors learn?”

    It’s weird, man. Reviewers don’t talk this way, and when they do, well, not a good idea. You sound too “above it all”.

    Thanks though: most of your reviews are good/helpful Just remember, you’re in a small pond, and even here, you can’t get away with making the review about your boredom or’s about the audience!

    Thanks Bud
    Jake S Elliot

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