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Customer Review

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad but could have been great..., 29 Dec. 2013
This review is from: The Lone Ranger (Blu-ray) (Blu-ray)
The initial critics reviews that came from the U.S. made this film sound terrible, there were even comments indicating Johnny Depp's career was at an end. I'm glad to say, after giving it a view, that neither of these things are true. My real motivation for watching it was to vet it to decide if it was suitable for my son who got some of the accompanying Lego for Christmas. We decided not to let him watch it as there is some violence and mild gore despite this being a Disney production.

The film itself is not bad... The problem is it could have been much better. It struggles to decide what audience it is aimed at, quirky and slapstick enough to be a family film but then peppered with some moments that made me apprehensive about sharing it with my son, namely, the main bad guy having a slightly cannibal approach to the ending of his victims lives (SPOILER ALERT) like in the scene where he takes a knife and cuts out a mans heart while he lies wounded from a gunshot. This isn't shown in any graphic detail but the concept itself was enough to solidify its 12A rating. A lighter approach to the bad guy and a few other omissions of adult references could have brought it down to a PG, which I feel is more like the level that the story writing and humour belong.

The humour is great, straight out of the Johnny Depp play book but sadly felt inconsistent throughout the film and clashed horribly with the darker moments. Again, if a commitment was made to follow Depp's always eccentric approach there would have been a much better general feel. That said, his portrayal of the delusional and scatterbrained Tonto is a great spin on the original character alongside Armie Hammers' classic, square jawed, Lone Ranger. If anything, it could have done with more screen time for the pair.

It became apparent quite early that some of the criticism from stateside will have been generated by the brave and respectable decision to have the bad guys, railway developers and silver prospectors, shown to be responsible for the wiping out of many Native American tribes and settlements. There are a handful of moments that recount otherwise proud and patriotic parts of Americas history tainted with blood. I applauded this untypical approach to a western but at the same time, it is these dark themes that rub up against the 'Stoodges' style comedy.

In short it is trying to achieve too many things: to be a comedy, to have a serious story, to appeal to kids, to have adult themes, to tell the tale of too many people and, hardest of all, to be a successful remake/update on a very classic story. With all those aspirations it had to fall short somewhere. Sadly, the story is told by an aged Tonto and feels quite final when he wraps it up. I say sadly because the hardest part is done with this 'origin story' film and the table was set for a much easier sequel where the established Lone Ranger and Tonto partnership (and the Depp and Hammer chemistry) could roll from the opening sequence.

I don't think many people will find themselves wishing for the 149 minutes of their life back but you probably won't be in a hurry to find a spare 149 for a second viewing. I will watch it with my son once he is older but in the meantime I hope the people at Lego can throw out some decent support material for the toy range (cartoon or video game maybe), my story scenarios are starting to dry up!

P.S. Check out the Lone Ranger Lego, it is fantastic.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 24 Feb 2014 22:21:08 GMT
Scottie says:
Just a little follow up... I have now watched this a second time and I actually enjoyed it much more. I found I wasn't caught up in trying to figure out its 'angle' and just enjoyed it as a piece of entertainment. I really hope a sequel is on the cards now and I'm bumping it up to a retrospective four stars.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 May 2014 15:57:43 BDT
Last edited by the author on 23 May 2014 15:58:55 BDT
Dave says:
Excellent review and points throughout,totally agree and spot on,i can sort of get what you mean watching it a second time but while more easy just to sit and watch still only a 3 star film for me.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 May 2014 12:42:58 BDT
Scottie says:
Thanks man. Yeah - hopefully it can get a sequel that can put it back on track!
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Location: North East England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 12,674