On Saturday night I went to a SAG screening of The Lone Ranger. I almost bowed out because I'd heard so many disparaging comments about the film. I especially relied on a negative review by Kenneth Turan, film critic for the Los Angeles Times, who didn't think much of the movie. You can read his thoughts here. I often agree with Mr. Turan but not this time. I loved the movie, loved Depp, loved Hammer (although John Reid was a bit too much of a doofas for my taste), loved Silver...ah the horse. The radio shows, which launched this franchise, were before my time but I enjoyed learning the poignant back stories of the two main characters. I also loved learning why he's called the LONE ranger.
The Lone Ranger was at times silly, over-the-top, sweet and hilarious. When the beginning notes of the William Tell Overture sounded late in the film, I felt a crescendo of nostalgia and exhilaration. The audience was made up of actors. There was much laughter and applause. Despite the naysayers, the movie will be a success.
Depp's Tonto costume was inspired by "I am Crow" by artist Kirby Stattler
Turan claims there were no avenues for audiences to connect emotionally with the film. Okay, I didn't cry but I did laugh—a lot. Joy is also an emotion. The bad guys weren't especially nuanced, but if you look closely most did display some sort of humanity, i.e., railroad tycoon Lathom Cole has always dreamed of a family of his own and wants that to be Dan Reid's widow and son.
TLR is a Western and the genre's white-hats-versus-black-hats formula generally leans toward stereotype. The film is also a comedy. John Vorhaus, in his book The Comic Toolbox, posits that "comedy is truth and pain." The truth is John Reid (TLR) believes the path to justice can only be achieved through the rule of law. His pain? He soon discovers that his belief is an illusion. There will always be people who control our lives who subvert justice for money and power. Once you've dispensed with one powerful bad guy, another steps into the void. And isn't that the dilemma facing all our crime fiction heroes?
Here's an opposing review by Mark Hughes of Forbes magazine as he ponders the negative press:
"...Which is all a shame, because it's a wonderful movie. Let me be honest and tell you up front, I originally was excited when I first heard about he film, but as more news came out the negative press coverage sank my hopes. By the start of this week, I didn't even plan to see it in theatres, and felt it probably wasn't going to be very good...Bravo, Mr. Hughes. I couldn't agree more.
Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be funny, exciting, heartfelt, and just full of real joy and great entertainment...
I am really at a loss to understand how a film like this has generated so much animosity from the press. This is the kind of film I would imagine critics normally rushing to support as the kind of really well-written, well-acted, superbly-directed adventure story we need more of for the summer. It manages to sort of smile and invites us to laugh a bit at some of the cheesier elements of the character's sense of duty and righteousness, but we come to realize it's not meant to mock him, and in the end we are rooting for him and his desire for justice and the rule of law...[it is] a testament to the hero's commitment to his ideals [that he] will become an outlaw rather than compromise his principles to stay within the corrupted law."
"Hi-Yo, Silver! Away!"
"Who was the masked man, anyway?"