Posts Tagged ‘The Lone Ranger – movie review’

Today’s movie review is for the 2013 version of “The Lone Ranger” starring Armie Hammer (as the Lone Ranger) and Johnny Depp (as Tonto).  Now, I don’t know Hammer from beans, but I’ve grown to really like Depp since he went through his “Pirates of the Caribbean” phase.  This is a remake / reboot of the classic Western genre movie hero.  It is also a classic “buddy-movie”.  I grew up listening to “The Lone Ranger” as a 78-LP, even before I started watching it on TV with Clayton Moore.  Needless to say, I first saw this movie on its opening weekend and this viewing is from the DVD which I was recently given.  (You can read my first review here.)
The “Lone Ranger” myth is a classic story of good versus evil.  In this version, a man, dedicated to law and order, and to justice, survives an ambush, teams up with an American Indian (Depp / Tonto) and they seek to bring justice to the gang which slaughtered the posse of Texas Rangers and the Indian’s tribe.
Within the context of the struggle between good vs evil / power vs justice, the movie has an over-arching theme and then two sub-themes.  The over-arching theme is exaggerated action typical of the “Pirates” series (same director).  This is meant to visually stimulate and entertain the audience with “eye-candy special effects”.  The first (for me) sub-theme is that peaceful folks survive by luck and this is represented by almost slapstick comedy (basically, the first half of the movie).  The second sub-theme is that criminals can “really” only be confronted and controlled by violence (the second half of the movie).  In this movie, there is a palpable change between sub-themes when the main character (John Reid / Hammer) decides to “become” the avenger for Justice: “The Lone Ranger”.  After this inflection point, the action becomes intended instead of “chance / coincidence / slapstick”.  While I don’t agree with the “philosophy” of the decision towards violence to confront the criminal, it is (probably) mostly inescapable in real life.
So, is this a Disney / family / kids movie?  Kinda to mostly, but not entirely.  There are a few scenes which are surprising graphic and may be too intense for very young children (under 8), but all in all, it remains a “Disney” film.  I found it to be long, but entertaining, well worth the purchase price and I hope there will be sequels.  Final recommendation: with the minor qualification about age appropriateness, this is a highly recommended film.
In case anyone cares, most of the “professional” reviewers hated this movie, while most of the regular folks either liked or loved it.  I think (still) history will show it was better than the professional reviews.  When I went to see this movie at the theater with my daughter (Sarah), there was a line!  I was stunned and said aloud, “Don’t you people realize this movie was trashed by the critics!?!”  What I noticed was there were of lot of older Dads and Grand-Dads bringing their kids and Grand-kids to see this movie.  I like to think of this as cross-generational pollination of the “good and worthy” hero to those who follow.  And so the myth of that hero in the Old West continues…
On This Day In:
2013 Warning:
2012 Thinking About Beauty
2011 A Founding Father’s Argument Against Public Funding Of Religious Education
Weekend Update
So Far, So Good

Read Full Post »

This past weekend was a good weekend for entertainment and a bad weekend for exercise.  Basically, Saturday I binged on a TV series and Sunday I topped it off with a movie.
I spent all of Saturday watching the HBO series:  “The Newsroom“.  If you haven’t seen it, the series is about a fictitious cable news channel trying to go to a new “news” format.  This basically means they are trying to present “news” as facts and content and not as “entertainment”.  The overall result is a cross between “The West Wing” and “Keith Olbermann“, with a heavy dose of “the young and the restless” (soap opera) / “the young will save us” (America’s future is our idealistic youth) thrown in for good measure.
Now when I say I spent all of Saturday, I mean literally “ALL” of Saturday…  Apparently there is a newish phenomena going on, called “binging”.  That’s pronounced “binge-ing”, not like “ringing” (how it looks to my eyes).  It’s not unlike what we (older folks) grew up with — holiday marathons of “The Twilight Zone” or “Star Trek” or horror movies, but it’s without commercials.  The flip side of this “new” phenomena is that TV is adapting to our viewing habits.  Particularly on made for cable series, the writers are developing seasonal and multi-week story arcs.  Instead of adding to individual characters back story by dropping bits into a story one piece at a time, they are building the arcs with the crescendo meant to be at or near the series finale (sometimes as a cliff-hanger).
Now, don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t my first “binge”, but it was my first conscious binge, in that I knew what I was going to do (binge) and what I was trying to perceive (looking for the arcs, instead of simply watching the show).  Essentially, I was looking for the pieces which didn’t fit in the current story to build for the next (or future) episodes.  This is a fascinating way to “watch” a TV show.  I feel as if I were taken out of my chair as a viewer and moved into a new role – for want of a better term – an anticipator or predictor.  I’ve gone from passive viewing to active participation.
The problem, of course, is I don’t know if the format (binging) produces the effect (active participation) or if it actually is the writing.  I guess the test will be watching the next year’s episodes one week at a time.  There is something to be said for anticipation and mulling over…
In any case, as a conservative Democrat, this show is brilliant.  It is a mirror for our times, just as “The West Wing” was for its times.  It is not anti-Republican;  it is anti-stupidity.  I’m lovin’ it!  And the best part is I’m reading there’ll be more Republicans brought on to the actual writing staff to help point out the knuckle-head things the Democrats do, too.   I’m looking forward to more anti-stupidity…
On Sunday, I went to see “The Lone Ranger” with my daughter Sarah.  Sarah had no prior TLR experience, so this was going to be a fresh set of eyes on the subject.  As usual, full disclosure, I grew up watching this stuff on TV and listening to the LP (that’s “Long Playing” record to the younger readers, what you would call an “album” these days), over an over again until I could recite practically every word right along with the LP.  So, as soon as I saw the promo’s a few months ago, I KNEW I was all in for a first weekend viewing.
Is this movie great cinema?  No.  Is it going to change your life?  No, well probably not.  Is it going to bring back the Western genre?  No, well probably not.  Is it a good movie?  YES!  Is it a long movie?  Yes.  Is it worth going to see?  Heck YES!  This movie is being soundly trashed by critics and it is being predicted as a BOMB.  That’s not failure.  That’s complete bomb.  Well, it ain’t so…  It’s a good, solid, Western genre action movie.  It has loads of comedy, without being campy.  It has loads of pathos without being too maudlin.  Mostly though, it has a person of high ideals who has to struggle with the idea that life can be unfair and unjust, and that bad men can use violence and authority to do evil in the world.
Is this movie significantly better than the 1981 version (“The Legend of the Lone Ranger“)?  Well, I thought that was an okay movie (not many others did or have), too, but yes, this is much better.  Why? Mostly because the special effects of the time (1981) did not allow for the type of action sequences which appear in this current version.   Is this going to start a franchise / series of “TLR” movies?  I sure hope so…
Final comment:  this is not a MUST see movie, but it is a good solid entertaining movie – Highly recommended!
Sarah’s review:  “Not a ‘great’ movie, but very (surprisingly) entertaining“.   [From the mouths of children…   —   kmab]
On This Day In:
2012 Choices Matter
2011 Acceptance Is The Key
2010 Just A Permanent Crease…
Bodily Functions

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: