I’ll start by saying this is a strange one. It may already be well on its way to becoming a worldwide flop in that it’s set to lose Disney around $150,000,000, reminiscent of what happened with Disney’s John Carter of Mars last year. However, it’s by no means a bad film.
After seeing the trailer a couple of times beforehand, I’ll admit that I wasn’t keen in the slightest. That trailer did not do the film any justice. Don’t judge it by that and embrace the film for the entertaining surprise that it turns out to be.
It may be a Disney western, but it’s far from The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin or The Apple Dumpling Gang. Parts of it certainly belong in a Jerry Bruckheimer production, but not in a Disney one – until now that it.
It is essentially an origin story about how an upstanding lawyer becomes the legendary masked ambassador for justice. The story starts in 1934, where Johnny Depp’s Tonto recounts the tale of The Lone Ranger to a young boy. The introduction of the man who will become the titular hero, John Reid, played by Arnie Hammer, sets the tone and suggests he’s a buffoon underneath his well-presented appearance. It’s clear that comedy is on the agenda. It turns out that he’s just a naively upstanding stickler for the rules and is about to discover that his by-the-book nature will only go so far. The moments of slapstick scattered throughout are successful and induce a chuckle for the majority.
In the first half, the tone of the film changes whenever Depp’s Tonto appears. The role does not seem much of a stretch for him, but you can’t fault him for that. It’s a typically Depp performance which mostly leans towards the deadpan delivery of Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean with the intensity of Raoul Duke from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
It’s a family film, but isn’t suitable for younger children. It’s frequently violent with flashes of terror, including a scalping when a home comes under attack from a gang masquerading as Native Americans, headed by William Fichtner’s Butch Cavendish. Then there are the unexplained psychotic rabbits, which appear in the background of a couple of scenes.
It’s a shame about the bloated middle as the first half an hour flies by and the final twenty minutes are tremendous, featuring an exhilarating action sequence accompanied by the famous William Tell overture that is synonymous with the masked hero.
The Lone Ranger is released in cinemas on 9th August in the UK, is rated 12A at 2 hrs 29 mins and I’d give it a 3 out of 5. It is already on general release in many other countries worldwide.