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Review: 'The Lone Ranger'

Mara Hyman |
June 30, 2013 | 8:05 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Armie Hammer as John Reid and Johnny Depp as Tonto in 'The Lone Ranger' (Disney).
Armie Hammer as John Reid and Johnny Depp as Tonto in 'The Lone Ranger' (Disney).
The Wild West returns to the big screen on July 3rd with "The Lone Ranger," a revival of the wildly popular TV series, radio series, and movie from the 1950s.

Starring Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp, the highly anticipated movie comes from producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski, the creative team behind the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise. Much advertising has relied heavily on the phrase "from the creators of 'Pirates of the Caribbean'," which makes sense given that the music, visual effects and overall ambiance seem to mirror each other slightly. 

The visual effects of the film are highly intricate and transport viewers to the world of Texas in the late 1800s when railroads were the dominating form of transportion. There are several montages of flashbacks that are well-edited and focus on the perspective of the Lone Ranger. Shot primarily in New Mexico, the 360-degree landscape shots are simply stunning.

Not only were the visuals spot-on, but so were the acting performances. Like many people, I am intrigued by the genious and oddity that is Johnny Depp, so of course I was interested to see how he would take on the role of Tonto. Not only is this probably his strangest role to date, but he really transforms and breathes new life into the character.

Whether it is a positive or negative thing, he seems to overshadow Armie Hammer's character and dominate every scene in which they interact. While Depp steals the show a bit, Hammer still gives a great performance as John Reid/The Lone Ranger. Like Depp, he also brings a lot of humor to scenes with his overall presence and execution of dialogue. The two are an unlikely duo, but they have good on-screen chemistry and are very funny together.

The action scenes, while dialed back in order to be Disney-friendly and PG-13, are very intricate and captivating. There are several fight scenes on top of trains, in saloons, and on horseback. Depp and Hammer also apparently peformed most of their own stunts with little need for doubles, which is very impressive given some of the more complex scenes.

The movie's biggest drawback is its length: at 2 hrs 29 minutes, several of the scenes seem too dragged out and there are a few somewhat dull moments between the high-impact action scenes. The storyline is woven through forgetful, unneccesary interaction between a young boy and Tonto at an exhibit at a fair in the 1930s. There are some occasional random moments sprinkled throughout the movie, such as a scene where seemingly cute rabbits show their fangs and attack a piece of meat. Nevertheless, the action scenes are well executed and timed perfectly.

While as a whole the movie is very entertaining, in many ways it appears as a parody of itself and the 'The Lone Ranger' classic. Many of the scenes are funny, but occasionally it feels as though the humor is overused. One can also tell that while Hammer and Depp breathe life into the characters, they don't take themselves too seriously with the roles either. Some of the words and phrases also seem too modern for the time. The two even poke fun at the Lone Ranger's mask as well as the iconic line "Hi Ho Silver, Away!" at the end of the movie. While the humor isn't necessarily a bad thing, it definitely gives a new, more modern perspective of a classic. 

Overall, the movie could have been shorter and taken a different angle on the classic, but the visuals and acting certainly rise to the occasion. If you want a healthy dose of action, romance, and humor (or if you're just a fan of Armie Hammer or Johnny Depp), then this movie is a must-see.

Watch the trailer for "The Lone Ranger" below.

Reach Staff Reporter Mara Hyman here.



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