The Lone Ranger
Premise: A Texas Ranger gets killed on his first day on the job, and then gets raised from the dead by a white horse, is forced into a relationship with a kooky Native American, and sent on a destined mission to stop railroad expansion by some dude, or something?
-The final action sequence was awesomely choreographed and very reminiscent of really good silent film-type action scenes. And the fact that the William Tell Overture was playing over the entire thing (which was a tonal shift from the scene before it, but we'll talk about that in a minute) was pretty incredible. At first I thought it was only going to play during the beginning, then it would get overly serious and change tones again... but it was like 15 minutes long and the Overture played over the entire thing. In stark contrast to the rest of the film, it was a perfect example of how to make a FUN movie about trains.
-The costumes were kinda good? Maybe except for Johnny Depp's dead bird hat.
-The cinematography was really good when I took the time to notice it. Lots of great scenery, which, since it was one of the only few pros I'll give this movie, I won't think too hard about as to whether or not they were digitally enhanced. Note: THEY PROBABLY WERE.
-Tom Wilkinson is basically good in everything he does. I will say he did as good a job as he could have done with what was given to him.
-OK, this movie was tonal diarrhea. It had no idea what kind of movie it wanted to be, so instead of committing to any one idea, it just did EVERYTHING and hoped that we as the audience wouldn't mind that every scene felt different from the last. It would go from a fun & bouncy action scene, to a scene of a villain literally cutting out a guy's heart and eating it, back to slapstick comedy and pratfalls, then to a dark Requiem for a Dream-esk hallucination, then to lengthy exposition filled with children getting backhanded, and so on. One minute we are learning of Tonto's super depressing past via flashback, and the next we are watching the two leads buried neck deep in the ground wise-cracking about scorpions.
-HAHAHAHA THE HORSE IS WEARING A HAT!!!!!! HAHHAHAHA THE HORSE HAS SOMEHOW CLIMBED A TREE!!!!!!!! CAN YOU SAY FORCED WACKINESS!?!?!??!? HAHAHAHAHA!!! #HORSEHUMOR
-The running joke about Tonto feeding the dead bird hat peanuts the entire movie was awful. No one in the theater laughed the first time he did it. And they didn't laugh the 18th time he did it either. Oh, he's waiting for the bird's soul to come back to its body? GEE, I wonder if the bird will come back to life in the final scene of the movie...? I WONDER.
-The plot is told with a framing device featuring an elderly Tonto telling stories to a young boy in a Lone Ranger costume at a circus sideshow in 1933. This wasn't just a dumb framing device because it was completely unnecessary, but also because it provided the film with the monumental laziness of being able to jump around the plot by cutting back to 1933 whenever they didn't have a good enough link between two events. And the kid would always ask dumb things that question the logic of the dumb movie that we were all watching. It was almost like the kid was the audience's vessel to actually speak to the movie characters themselves and ask why the movie was so bad. It was all very meta. The Lone Ranger probably shouldn't be meta.
-I don't think I can do it anymore, you guys... If I have to look at Helena Bonham Carter in another movie with crazy hair and too much make up on... I might finally snap... I don't care if she's an alright actress; I am completely fed up with her crazy haired horse crap. It also didn't help that her character in this movie was fairly unnecessary, and her plot line could have, no, SHOULD have been written out of the final movie.
-Armie Hammer seems like a nice guy, and he did a pretty good job as the smarmy Winklevoss twins; but in this movie he just comes across as the super handsome guy who thinks he's funny but doesn't have any comedic timing, i.e. that guy you knew in college who you hated.
-Also, I don't think I've ever seen an action movie filled with so many darkly dramatic scenes, where the two main characters were BOTH comic relief, AND where the sidekick was actually the main character. So it's this weird dynamic where the titular character is telling supporting jokes to his mentally deranged sidekick, who has more emotionally at stake than the hero does, in a movie about a guy trying to get rich off railroads.
-The female lead was useless. Her existence in the film is only beneficial for giving the Ranger a reason to try to save her, thus putting him in the right place to fight the villain at the end. Had she not been kidnapped, I don't see why the Lone Ranger would have had the motivation to show up at the end. To say this movie has no gender dynamics is probably, like, completely accurate. Also, she gets slapped in the face by men about five times, and falls in love with the Lone Ranger probably two weeks after her husband was brutally murdered. Probably because she's the only girl in the movie and someone has to fall in love with the Lone Ranger, because HOLLYWOOD.
-Why is he even referred to as the Lone Ranger by the bad guys in this movie, when he is never once seen doing ANYTHING by himself?
-CGI rabbits... So many CGI rabbits...
-I saw this movie at 10:30 AM, and I exited the theater just before 2 PM. IT'S TOO LONG.
Final Thoughts: When I think of the "Big 3" dumb summer action movie directors (Michael Bay, Gore Verbinski, and Roland Emmerich), I usually think of Bay as the most visually competent director, but with the most immature sense of storytelling. And then Emmerich is the best storyteller, but his visuals often stray into ridiculous territory. Verbinski, then, is sort of a middle ground between the other two. Where the ridiculous visuals clash with an immature mishmash of ideas. I don't really know where I'm going with this, but I do know that all of these guys constantly make 2 and 1/2 hour-long movies, and that needs to stop. Seriously.
4 out of 10
-The final action sequence was awesomely choreographed and very reminiscent of really good silent film-type action scenes. And the fact that the William Tell Overture was playing over the entire thing (which was a tonal shift from the scene before it, but we'll talk about that in a minute) was pretty incredible.
Was it a modern-day version of this song:
Also, I thought he was called the Lone Ranger since he was a Texas Ranger and is no longer a member of that group, making him a Ranger that no longer represents anything other then his own beliefs. Keeping in mind I don't know anything about the Lone Ranger.
I hope you at least enjoyed Monument Valley. I'm assuming you didn't see any Deloreans zipping by?
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I have been anxiously awaiting Scott's review. Scott - if you give me your home address I'll send you a few dollars as thanks for saving me lots of money over the years!
If John Carter and Battleship did not get Hollywood's attention, surely this movie will make studio execs think twice about such a crapshoot in the future.
I was just listening to a podcast interview with Tony and Dan Gilroy about the Bourne Legacy. That was a movie that perhaps should not have been made if it was just another Matt Damon vehicle, but they found a way to tie it into the original trilogy to create a larger story than what we had already seen.
But what I am getting at is that one of them wrote a draft of Superman Lives for Tim Burton - just after Kevin Smith's attempt. But it was a $250million budget in 1997 dollars, which would be like a billion dollars today. John Peters decided to take the money and make Wild Wild West, the much maligned western re-make with a big name actor that also fizzled.
Get the message?
Looking at the writers of Lone Ranger, it is the same guys who wrote most of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, the two Zorro movies, National Treasure 2, Aladdin and some other thematically similar titles. Verbinski's usual suspects. So you have a group of artists working in a similar genre with perhaps no voice of reason in the group.
On the Pirates II commentary the writers talk about how they wrote like 2000 pages of jokes and just kept trying until they got some good ones to shoot. From Scott's review it sounds like they perhaps forgot to edit out the bad jokes before shooting started.
I might get this on RedBox, probably next week when it comes out.
[Mike Cohen] "Scott - if you give me your home address I'll send you a few dollars as thanks for saving me lots of money over the years!"
Haha, I appreciate it Mike, but no need, I go see bad movies and inform you guys as a volunteer service. If I didn't go see whatever movies I can and write about them here, then I'd have much less going on during the week. I don't think there's a COW Playing Mario Kart While Listening to AC/DC on a Saturday Afternoon Forum, is there? If there is, please link me. Or I'll be happy to start one...
[Mike Cohen] "Looking at the writers of Lone Ranger, it is the same guys who wrote most of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, the two Zorro movies, National Treasure 2, Aladdin and some other thematically similar titles. Verbinski's usual suspects. So you have a group of artists working in a similar genre with perhaps no voice of reason in the group."
Yikes, I guess they stick to a certain genre together and do their *thing*... Maybe it was just a fluke that the first Pirates movie was so fun?
Might only be worth Redboxing if you're cleaning your house for two hours and you need to put a mindless background movie on while you dust things.
[Scott Roberts] "[Mike Cohen] "Looking at the writers of Lone Ranger, it is the same guys who wrote most of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, the two Zorro movies, National Treasure 2, Aladdin and some other thematically similar titles. Verbinski's usual suspects. So you have a group of artists working in a similar genre with perhaps no voice of reason in the group."
Yikes, I guess they stick to a certain genre together and do their *thing*... Maybe it was just a fluke that the first Pirates movie was so fun? "
I don't think it's a fluke when you look at the rest of what they've done.
Aladdin was straight-up legit, completely holds up. Watch it again, tell me it's not better than MOST Pixar features, and I will laugh in your face.
I bought Zorro on both LaserDisc and DVD. I know that Catherine Z-J is kryptonite to some of you boys, but I'm telling you, watch it again. Banderas is a gas, Anthony Hopkins is downright sexy -- maybe my favorite role of his -- and CZ-J proves herself to be an exceptionally gifted athletic actress. It's sad that we're not cultivating more of those. After Sandra Bullock, Geena Davis and Milla Jovovich, the list gets mighty short....although Scarlett Johannsen isn't a bad place to stay in a holding pattern while we wait for new asskicking young women to take their turn in the spotlight. Although, frankly, Dame Mirren is more than holding her own in Red. Can't wait for the sequel Friday!
Anyway, Zorro is a nifty story, and a fun, fun movie.
The first Shrek was charming. THE SCREENPLAY WAS NOMINATED FOR AN OSCAR. Like Austin Powers, the sequels drained all the joy from the experience of the first one, but none of these guys had anything to do with that. It's also not their fault that Eddie Murphy was playing the exact same character he played in Mulan...but seriously, if you're not remembering it fondly, I don't think you're remembering it correctly.
Verbinski also had some medium-sized hits with The Mexican (Brad, Julia and a nice turn by Gandolfini) and The Ring. I just looked it up, and the budget for The Ring was higher ($57 million) and the return lower ($147 worldwide) than I remembered...but still, the guy can spin a yarn, and in the case of The Mexican, showed that he could manage megastars -- not as easy at it looks, even with two pros as likable and easy to work with as Brad and Julia.
I think that what MAY have happened is that the giddiness of the first one tapped into something that nobody knew was so deep. Disney held their other 2003 movie based on a theme park ride for the holidays because it had a much bigger star...remember that? Johnny Depp was highly regarded, yes -- Blow, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, but by no means a proven earner. Scissorhands didn't reach $60 mil, Ed Wood didn't reach SIX million, roughly Gilbert Grape territory.
I'm a huge Sleepy Hollow fan, still my favorite of his, and so were other folks - before Pirates, this was his ONLY movie to reach $100 million!!! Chocolat did $71; otherwise, most of his pictures did $20-ish million OR LESS.
I'm leaving Platoon and Nightmare on Elm Street out of this, btw. Those were ensembles where only the trainspotters knew who Johnny Depp was, or that he was in these. Platoon. Man. Remember when Charlie Sheen was mesmerizing because he was GOOD? Anyway...
Based on everybody's past records, NOBODY, including Disney itself, which had certainly never been responsible for a blockbuster, much less a blockbusting franchise, could have expected Pirates to blow up like this. I don't think they had any idea what to do with it except make it bigger and bigger....
...ie, longer and longer. There's no excuse for a Pirates movie being nearly 3 hours long. If they'd kept it closer to 100 minutes, they'd have spent less, made a BUNCH more (at least another showing a day), and left a legacy that was more than just the money.
As it is, my new nickname for him is VERBOSE-ski, because the guy apparently has not the first clue to actually END a movie. He needs somebody to say, "Here's $100 million for 100 minutes. You can talk us into going a little...I said A LITTLE...longer, but 115 minutes tops, and no more money."
The fact is that nobody gets a billion dollar box office with a $100 million budget, and the profits from Pirates have funded 20 or 30 movies of that size and below that you and I absolutely adore. So it's not fair to the industry as a whole to begrudge Disney, Verbose-ski, Depp or any of these other guys all the money they can carry in all the wheelbarrows they can find. They're making the rest of the industry possible.
Doesn't mean I have to go see their movies myself. That's a young man's game. I'm too old to go to movies that long anymore. LOL