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The Lone Ranger: My Review

I went into this movie with low to medium expectations. The trailers looked good to me yet the overwhelming negative reviews did concern me. I did end up really enjoying this movie although I do have mixed feelings about some of it. I had been a big fan of the Lone Ranger TV show starring Clayton More and Jay Silverheels as the Lone Ranger and Tonto respectively. If people had expectations that this new film would mirror the iconic TV show then they are in for a disappointment. The times certainly have changed since the 40s-50s and the clean cut wholesome Lone Ranger of that era would not work on the big screen today.

On with my review as I list the pros and the cons:

Pros:

1. Tone of the film. This one positive aspect of the film is actually a mixed point for me. Today the trend in Superhero type movies, and many other movies, is gritty realism.  There are times when gritty realism works and times when it does not. I am also a fan of the more lighthearted approach to these types of movies. The Lone Ranger does take the lighthearted approach for the most part, yet there are moments that are very serious making the overall tone of the film a bit uneven.

2. Johnny Depp. This is his movie. I really think the movie should have been called Tonto and the Lone Ranger. Some people have complained about this point but for me Depp’s performance really make the picture very enjoyable and worth watching. Honestly, had I not know Johnny Depp was playing Tonto (I was very surprised he was cast in the role) I would never have recognized him in the part.

3. Armie Hammer.  I have read that many did not like the fact that he was a bit of a complaining, whinny and wishy-washy and a  reluctant Lone Ranger…at first. This is an origin story so his character is not clearly established. We watch John Reid grow into the iconic role of the masked man and by the end of the movie he is the Lone Ranger.

4. The Plot/the story. The movie does have an interesting story. We learn much of Tonto’s back story which does explain his motives and behavior. The same for the Lone Ranger who has to overcome some of his stiffness and sibling rivalry to really become the Lone Ranger. John Reid as a new lawyer fresh out of law school has lived his life in the shadows of his Texas Ranger warrior brother, Dan Reid. When his brother is killed by the Cavendish clan John has to find the strength and courage within himself to bring Cavendish to justice. Within that part of the story is the plot of greedy silver barrens who are using the new railway system to take control of the territory.

5. The villains. There are two main villains in this movie. Tom Wilkinson as Latham Cole, a burly and unscrupulous railroad tycoon and William Fichtner as Butch Cavendish, a ruthless and cannibalistic outlaw, who Tonto believes is a wendigo. Fichtner is really great in this role and like Depp, is well disguised almost unrecognizable in the role. I always love to see Tom Wilkinson play a bad guy, he does so well in these types of parts.

6. Scenery and Cinematography. The film is pure eye candy. It was filmed in six western states: Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, New Mexico and California. These locations all provide for terrific views of magnificent vistas that captures the iconic old west.

Cons:

1. Tone of the film. Yes, it is both a positive and a negative. While I do like the more lighthearted touch there are moments when the movie goes into extremes on both ends of the spectrum. There are some moments where the comedy is not subtle but over the top and hits you on the head. Then there are moments that are almost too dark and serious for the film.

2. Length of the film. At two and a half hours the movie is a bit too long and could have used more editing.

In my opinion the Lone Ranger is an overall fun lighthearted movie that is enjoyable despite its flaws. Some of the positive things I have listed are the negatives things others have listed and this reminds me of the subjective nature of analyzing movies. The best part of the movie is the last 20 minutes which contain the best of the action and adventure.

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Happy New Year! Year in Review!!

These are the Science Fiction/Fantasy films I saw this year. Here is a simple list of the ones that were my favorites and the ones that I enjoyed and the ones I was disappointed with. In the weeks to come I will review each of these films plus keep you updated with new science fiction and fantasy film news.

Pacific Rim
Man of Steel
Star Trek Into Darkness
The Lone Ranger
Oblivion

Enjoyed:

After Earth
Olympus Has Fallen
G.I. Joe: Retaliation

Disappointment with:

White House Down
Oz the Great and Powerful
Iron Man 3

Jack the Giant Slayer

This is the End

The Lone Ranger: My Expectations

Since I won’t see the Lone Ranger until it comes out on DVD and the movie is just about to hit theaters I wanted to give a brief review of my expectations based on the trailers and the reviews I have read.

I grew up watching The lone Ranger TV series with Clayton More as the Lone Ranger and  Jay Silverheels as Tonto. To me they will always be these characters and they are iconic. That doesn’t mean that I am not open to other portrayals of the character. I am very open to this movie.

I have loved the trailers for this movie. It looks like a fun western with great visuals and special effects. At first I questioned the selection of Johnny Depp as Tonto! I don’t believe he is Native American so why not cast a Native American in the role? Those were my thoughts. However, after seeing him dressed as an authentic Native American and viewing the trailers, I am sold with Johnny Depp playing Tonto.

I like Johnny Depp but he is hit or miss for me. Loved him in Donnie Brasco, hated him in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. While I am not a fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies I do like his portrayal of the pirate Jack Sparrow. From the reviews I am reading it seems we have a similar situation where Depp is really playing Jack Sparrow once again but this time dressed as Tonto.

As I type this blog post the reviews are pretty awful. On Rotten Tomatoes.com it has an abysmal 16% rating with only 6 fresh ratings and 26 rotten ratings. Now in context all of these negative ratings are mixed and very few say the film is down right terrible. But some of the complaints are that it is too long, Johnny Depp is too much of a focus, that Armie Hammer, who looks great in the part, plays an unwilling, too square and weak Lone Ranger. Some reviews complain that the tone of the film and the plot are both a mess. They say that there are some lulls in the story where it drags. There are times when it is serious and times when they say it borderline on parody.

I still want to see this movie. I don’t mind if it is a mindless action popcorn movie and the mixed tone doesn’t concern me at all either. I am a little concerned that Johnny Depp as Tonto is more of a focus than the Lone Ranger. It does seem more like  Depp/Tonto movie. What concerns me the most is that it seems that the character of the Lone Ranger himself is not done well or done right. From the reports is that he is at first a wimpy reluctant hero. Now since this is an origin movie I can excuse that if it done as character development and we see the Lone Ranger evolve into the self-confident hero.

All of this has lowered my enthusiasm just a bit. So I will watch this movie on DVD with slightly lowered expectations. My bigger concern is for the Lone Ranger franchise itself. The last big screen Lone Ranger movie was in 1981 and that too was a critical and financial flop! If this fails I fear it will be another 30+ years…or if ever…we see the Lone Ranger on the big screen again.

 

Summer Block Busters: Part 3

There were just a few movies I overlooked in this series so allow me to post them today.

White House Down (June 28, 2013)

This is the year of two movies about the White House being taken over by terrorists. Olympus Has Fallen is in theaters now while White House Down is coming in June. This movie stars Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Richard Jenkins & James Woods.

Despicable Me 2 (July 3, 2013)

I really liked the original and I hope this one will be just as good. No plot synopsis as of yet. This movie stars Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, Al Pacino, Steve  Coogan, Ken Jeong

Hammer of the Gods (July 5, 2013)

This movie takes place in Scandinavia in the year 871. A young Viking warrior, faces hostile conditions and tribes to bring back his estranged brother to the kingdom he will one day rule. The movie stars Charlie Bewley, Elliot Cowan, Clive Standen, Guy Flanagan, Michael Jibson

The Lone Ranger (July 3, 2013)

The Lone Ranger has not done well on the big screen. In 1980 or was it 81 the last time he was on the big screen and it failed miserably. Johnny Depp stars as Tonto (can he pull it off?) with  Armie Hammer as the Lone Ranger. From the looks of the trailer the tone of the film looks like the movie will be an action adventure with somje fun mixed in. My type of movie! These stars round out the cast. Tom Wilkinson, William Fichtner, Barry Pepper, James  Badge Dale, Ruth Wilson, Helena Bonham Carter.

The Wolverine (July 26, 2013)

The X-Men’s favorite superhero is back with another solo film. His first solo film, 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, did pretty good at the box office but reviews are mixed. It was an alright film but not the ones fans really wanted. Here is hoping that this one will be it! It stars Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Hiroyuki Sanada, Hal  Yamanouchi, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Brian Tee

300: Rise of an Empire (August 2, 2013)

This is the sequel to 300. With Zack Snyder, who directed 300, now directing Man of Steel, Noam Murro is sitting in the directors chair. Based on Frank Miller’s latest graphic novel  “Xerxes” Greek general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) attempts to unite all of Greece  by leading the charge that will change the course of the war. The movie stars Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, Hans Matheson, Rodrigo Santoro,  David Wenham, Igal Naor, Callan Mulvey, Jack O’Connell, Andrew Tiernan

Kick-Ass 2 (August 16, 2013)

Kick-Ass  & Hit-Girl are back to fight crime. Jim Carrey also joins in on the fun. This movie looks like a raunchy fun action and adventure! Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chlo Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Morris  Chestnut, John Leguizamo, Donald Faison, Jim Carrey

The World’s End (August 23, 2013)

This movie stars the wonderful comedy team of Simon Pegg, & Nick Frost (Paul, Sean of the Dead) and it is about drinking parties and the end of the world…what more could you ask for? As they re-stage an old drinking marathon and decide what they need to do for their future, they must also face the world as it comes to an end. The movie also stars Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan, Rosamund Pike

There you have it….I knew there were more movies coming out that I wanted to see. Keep posted to this blog for further reviews!!

What’s in the hopper?….the Lone Ranger!

I was a big fan of the 1950s Lone Ranger TV series starring Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels. Every Saturday it was on I didn’t miss it. The last attempt at a big screen film of the Lone Ranger was in the 1981 movie, The Legend of the Lone Ranger, which was a huge disaster. I remember reading about Johnny Depp being cast as Tonto and just rolling my eyes thinking what a huge mistake that was and further thinking that Hollywood must really want to see another Lone Ranger movie fail.

However, seeing the above picture, which is shocking because it is an authentic depiction of a native American and not the usual sanitized Hollywood version, I began to have higher hopes for this movie. Now after seeing the trailer which was released yesterday, my enthusiasm and hopes for this film has increased. Other than Johnny Depp, the movie stars, Armmie Hammer as the Lone Ranger and Helena Bonham Carter and Tom Wilkerson. Sounds like a great cast and the movie does look good! My expectations are up for this one! 

The movie hits theaters on May 31, 2013.