2013 / Director. Gore Verbinski.
I don't like approaching films cynically and that was my mistake when I finally watched THE LONG RANGER last night. I had followed the film's production over the last couple of years and made up my mind that I wasn't going to like it. Being so pessimistic goes against my personal movie-creed and the entire ethos of this site. Right off the bat I will say that the movie is unnecessarily long. It feels like they couldn't decide on the best of 3 endings and so they used them all. For the first hour I was thinking of how much I liked the look of the movie but still resisted the storytelling. It just seemed uninteresting for me... but then something happened. That classic Lone Ranger theme music came on and everything changed. The child in me stood to attention and I was suddenly having a great time (the power of music, huh?). All of my childhood memories of the Lone Ranger came flooding back and I was finally able to embrace the spirit of the movie. The overall story was more or less faithful to the mythology and while the indian character of Tonto has been turned into a foolish buffoon, I didn't mind. Johnny Depp's performance is super-fun and reassures the viewer that this isn't serious stuff. The classic western aesthetic is wonderfully conceived and the action is elaborate and heightened. Now that I have slept on it, I have been reflecting over the film and I'm keen to watch it again. My mind wasn't in it for the first half and I should give it a second chance. What lets the film down is it's clutter. There are so many ideas on the screen that one single movie isn't enough to contain them all. A shorter running time with less characters would have made THE LONG RANGER a much stronger film - and it might not have flopped at the box office. There's wasted talent from people Helena Bonham-Carter, Barry Pepper and Stephen Root. None of them are given the screen time they deserve and their characters aren't worthy of their talents. Perhaps a return to the edit room to split the movie into two parts would pay off - not gunna happen. I hated THE LONE RANGER and then I loved it. The right frame of mind makes all the difference!