Please don’t be fooled by the clunky “play on words” of this particular post’s title – I enjoyed The Lone Ranger. And I say this, perhaps as a caveat (use intended as a private joke), because this was movie #2 of a double-header that I experienced with my nephew the other evening and I’d already (pretty much) wasted 116 minutes of my life being disappointed with Red 2. And that’s to take nothing away from the company I kept that evening either – my nephew is a great guy to be around. I “ramble” all this in a convoluted fashion as I’ve noticed on imdb.com that Red 2 has a higher rating – 7.1/10 from 12,799 users – than The Lone Ranger – 6.7/10 from 35,505 users. WTF! At least with Armie Hammer (that’s NOT a made up name!) and Johnny Depp (and neither is that!) there’s a lot of on-screen chemistry. It’s clearly riffing on a buddy movie, and an entertaining one at that.
Brought to us by the same “team” that created the Pirates franchise – Depp (Star), Bruckheimer (Producer), Verbinski (Director) and Elliott & Rossio (Writers) – one cannot help but carry the influence of that box office behemoth into the viewing of The Lone Ranger. This is clearly not helped by the insistence of the Studio’s marketing team to constantly refer to “the team that brought you..” on posters and in trailers. Attempting to tap into the zeitgeist once more, there must a hope from Disney that the Pirates demographic will flock to see this latest incarnation of Mr Depp. And there is no denying the charisma of the man – with meatier material in the subsequent Pirates I’m sure his “stock” would have risen even higher.
The Lone Ranger is infused with Pirates DNA, even down to a Western version of Tortuga but I would propose that this infusion is not to its detriment. A chunky 149 minute running time is no surprise either. Some may suggest that it could be trimmed, but to do so would restrict the narrative from playing out at its natural pace. While the later Pirates contorted and convoluted the narrative to the point of “who gives a…?” we are afforded a much more straight forward progression, enabling our leads the necessary time to round out their characters. The story progression is an entertaining one and I invested my interest in it fully. Strong support from the always-classy Tom Wilkinson and ever-reliable William Fichtner, as well as solid turns from Helena Bonham Carter and Ruth Wilson take The Lone Ranger into the “it’s definitely worth a look” bracket. Don’t be put off by the “from the same team…” marketing ploy. I’m glad I experienced The Lone Ranger and hope they continue with some more straight-up story telling in the future. Chalk another (potential) franchise up for Mr Depp.