Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

July 9, 2013

‘The Lone Ranger’ a gem despite box office naysayers

Movie Review

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat — We really live in quite a bizarre age when a movie can be condemned as a complete and utter financial failure before it has even had a chance to pass through the doors of theaters. Of course, much like when it comes to the speculation of prices for goods that have not even been purchased by consumers based on imaginary calculations of demand, predicting box office revenue also seems to carry with it a certain level of slime that penetrates any legitimate business practices.

The latest to fall prey to the cinematic vultures is today’s title, something which I admit wasn’t high on my own priorities beforehand, but after seems downright baffling as to why it has been tossed aside with so much distaste. Unless there was something most fans of the classic over the top westerns like this missed each time the cowboy hero saved the day, it seems petty that this is considered tedious when it actually succeeds at distracting us with something much more fun than the real world. No part of “The Lone Ranger” will ever measure up to the pedestal standards of art-house excellence, but it certainly does not deserve to be ignored as if it were the leper of the film colony.

Much of the story is set in the still somewhat unsettled west, about 1869, but is cleverly framed by the Comanche Spirit Warrior Tonto (Johnny Depp), who decides to share the tales of his life with a young boy who finds him in traveling museum in 1933. Switching time periods back and forth, we learn how he first came upon the man who would become the Lone Ranger, John Reid (Armie Hammer).

A rather tragic beginning that was supposed to be just the simple transport of a vicious outlaw named Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner), instead eventually turns into a deadly chain of events where John eventually is chosen to live in order to be a warrior of good. Focusing admittedly more on Tonto, but also making up for the fact that someone actually of a tribe was not playing the role, it is not all that hard be pulled into the action, laughs and even heartbreaking at times plot. You’ve got enough of the cartoony elements that made spaghetti westerns so enjoyable and just enough of a modern influence that it doesn’t drown everything in an attempt to wow with special effects.

In the end, there’s nothing here to overthink. Each character adds just enough to move the scenes along be it the love interest Rebecca Reid (Ruth Wilson), the rather mysterious Latham Cole (Tom Wilkinson) and for extra snarkyness, a brothel madam named Red Harrington (Helena Bonham Carter).

Another salute goes out to Hans Zimmer, who in many ways actually nails this soundtrack even better than he did “Man of Steel” with a downright amazing alteration of the William Tell Overture. I highly recommend it as something for the whole family as it is no less than a fitting tribute (the best example being why the mask never comes off) and in this reviewer’s opinion the better of the two films that debuted the week of July 4th. This earns “The Lone Ranger” three and a half out of five “Hi-Ho-Silvers!”

Movie viewing experience courtesy of the Royal Twin Theater of Pauls Valley.