Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski has reunited with producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Johnny Depp to bring the cult classic tale The Lone Ranger back to the big screen. The idea for the masked avenger was first conceived in the 1930’s as part of a radio show, which when onto become a highly successful TV series that ran in the 1940’s and 50’s. This is the first time it has hit our screens since the 2003 TV Movie version starring Chad Michael Murray and Nathaniel Arcand.
The film has been one of the most talked about of the summer; heavily criticised by the media for its big budget and production issues, which subsequently lead to many of the films high-profile cast, including Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer, coming out to publicly defend the movie.
The film follows the tale of John Reid (Armie Hammer) which is told through the eyes of his Capachi sidekick Tonto (Johnny Depp) in flashback sequences. Reid, an attorney general, witnesses the murder of his brother and the rest of his hometown’s rangers as they went out to hunt the escaped outlaw Butch Cavendish (William Fichter). Reid is found by Tonto, who through the mind of a spirit horse is convinced Reid is the man to help him hunt down Cavendish and bring the criminal to justice. As the two men begin their adventure, they soon realise that not all is what it seems as Cavendish and his gang of crooks are not working alone. Reid and Tonto must stop try and stop them whilst also trying to preserve the peace between the Native Indians and Americans.
It is easy to see why many critics have taken a real dislike to film. Unsurprisingly, and with some justification, comparisons to the Pirates of the Caribbean have been made in terms of style and tone. The importance of Johnny Depp is certainly one issue raised, who appears to be more of a leading man than the actual leading man (Armie Hammer) himself. This is not to discredit Depp’s performance, who was one of the shining lights of the film. It does not say much, however, for The Lone Ranger himself, with his clean-cut image just too unbelievable in regards to portraying a so called legend of justice.
Verbinski has certainly Disney-fied the classic tale, with its often goofy, mystical nature. Is this necessarily a bad thing, however? Despite its problems, the film certainly has its positives. Depp, as above mentioned, is on top form, whilst William Fichtner (Butch Cavendish) and Tom Wilkinson (Cole) played their parts extremely well too. The films action sequences were equally as strong, with Depp and Hammer spectacularly flying around on top of moving trains to great effect.
It is a film to watch with an open mind. Do not go in with pre-judgements or pre-conceived opinions. You may find, despite its clear failings, that this is actually quite an enjoyable family film. After all, what do you expect from Disney? It is time for Verbinski to receive credit for giving a modern twist to a rather old, and arguably out-dated, tale.