The King is Dead

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Lone Ranger is AWESOME - Updated

(Updated)

I'll expand on this more later, but suffice to say that everything the naysayers have said about "The Lone Ranger" (2013) is wrong and you should go see it now before it disappears from theaters.

Especially if you're a Deadlands fan.*

***

OK, I'm home now and can write a bit more.

Again, everything the naysayers have said is dead wrong -- or at least just a matter of taste.  This is not a classic Lone Ranger film -- heck, it's not the Lone Ranger movie I would have made -- but it is a Lone Ranger film by the director, star, and writers of the first three "Pirates of the Caribbean" films and those three movies are some of my all-time favorites.  It is a tall tale of a Lone Ranger film that completely succeeds at being what Verbinski, Depp, Elliott and Rossio tried to do. 

Like the PotC films, it demands audience attention.  It may be a popcorn movie, but it's a popcorn movie filled with double-crosses, foreshadowing, and backtracking told through the filter of an unreliable narrator -- a narrator who is repeatedly questioned and doubted by an audience surrogate in a manner reminiscent of "The Princess Bride."  It is dense with metaphor and symbolism.  Have you heard of magical realism?  Yeah, this is magical realism.  I'd even go so far as to joke that this is "Sherman Alexie's 'The Lone Ranger.'"

Like the PotC films, it's long.  Would you complain about getting an extra-large order of french fries for the same price as a small?  No?  Then why would you complain about a movie being long?  The only people who should be complaining are the theater owners who can't fit more showings into a day.

Like the PotC films, it has Johnny Depp playing a crazy person using the stalwart hero to further his own agenda.  The casting of Johnny Depp as Tonto has been very controversial for very good reasons.  Throughout the first half of the film, I often found myself questioning why Disney just didn't tell Depp it was in bad taste for him to play a Native American no matter how much he thinks he is one, but that ambivalence about Depp as Tonto is exploited by the script to address the controversies about Tonto the character -- the monosyllabic sidekick who gets captured all the time, the embarrassment to Native Americans that is nevertheless a role that has actually been played by a real Native American actor in every previous film version -- in a manner that is disarming and perceptive.

Like the PotC films, there's a subtext criticizing the symbiotic relationship between capitalism and the military-industrial complex.  Yes, there really is subtext in the PotC films.  Hell, it's barely a subtext at all; it's pretty danged overt.  This will bother some people, but I like it.  In fact, "The Lone Ranger" (2013) could practically be titled "Occupy the Old West."  Again, I like this. 

Finally, like the PotC films, there are some fantastic action setpieces.  Tears of joy streamed down my face during the entire ten-minute train chase/fight scene that finished the film (in no small part because of Hans Zimmer's extended take on the "William Tell Overture").  Some viewers have criticized that John Reid's competence during the finale comes out of nowhere, but the seeds of his heroism are sown throughout the film (such as when he slides down a bannister onto Silver's back much earlier in the movie).  Like the PotC films, everything fits together like clockwork if you just pay attention to the movie.

I'm not new to the Lone Ranger.  I am just old enough to have grown up watching endless repeats of the Clayton Moore series on a local UHF station in black and white on a black and white TV.  I watched the Filmation cartoon in its original run; I saw "The Legend of the Lone Ranger" in the theater.  I had some of the dolls!  This is not that Lone Ranger.

This is different.  It is wild and wooly.  It is joyous and sly at the same time.  It is -- like the Pirates of the Caribbean films -- both an homage to and satire of what came before it.  But it works.

*It has a poisonous mineral, cannibalistic wendigo, haunted undead heroes, and carnivorous rabbits.  Most of those might be metaphors, but that's magical realism for you.

     

7 comments:

  1. It bored me to death and from what else I’m seeing out there: I’m not alone. Good review Sean.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It didn't bore me. I love westerns. I thought it was a wonderful ride from beginning to end, so much so that I've gone back to see it multiple times. And I am also one who grew up watching black and white repeats.
    Wonderful review!

    ReplyDelete
  3. And several months later I have discovered a review at Tor.com that backs me up: http://www.tor.com/blogs/2013/07/the-lone-ranger-movie-review

    ReplyDelete
  4. And Tarantino likes it too: http://www.tarantino.info/2013/10/05/quentin-tarantinos-top-10-films-2013-far/

    ReplyDelete
  5. I like your comparison to the Princess Bride's framing device -- I hadn't thought of that.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, and I'm glad to know I'm not along!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Alone! I meant alone! Not along. Sigh.

    ReplyDelete
  7. As Hamlette already knows, I love The Lone Ranger movie. There are a number of you on Blogspot who liked it to, and I want to thank each of you for writing about it.


    Thank heavens for Blogspot and Wordpress. It’s in those two locations that I found the most positive, personal reviews of The Lone Ranger.

    http://thejadesphinx.blogspot.com/2013/07/dont-believe-what-you-hear-lone-ranger.html

    http://fencernanowrimo.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-lone-ranger-2013.html

    http://hamlette.blogspot.com/2013/07/a-second-opinion-lone-ranger-2013.html

    http://nilesfilmfiles.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-lone-ranger-stupid-or-just.html

    http://theblogofdelights.blogspot.com/2013/08/film-lone-ranger-2013.html

    ReplyDelete