Hollywood will dust off any nostalgic character from pop culture if they think they can make a buck off of it. The Flintstones, Popeye and The Brady Bunch all received the big screen treatment and were met with mixed reviews. Now Disney will attempt to resurrect a character that first made his appearance on a radio serials back in 1933. The Lone Ranger rides into theaters this weekend with hopes that a hero that has not been relevant since the 1950s will appeal to the masses of today.
This time around, the mask and famous white hat are worn by Armie Hammer (The Social Network) in The Lone Ranger. He’s joined by Tonto, the famous Indian played by Disney mainstay Johnny Depp. After a series of unfortunate events carried out by the outlaw Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner), John Reid joins forces with Tonto to hunt down the outlaw under the guise of the Lone Ranger. The two race across the west battling Indians, land tycoons, outlaws and each other.
Where to begin with the problems with The Lone Ranger? We’ll get to the casting first, Armie Hammer never screamed the Lone Ranger when he was cast by Disney. Hammer plays Jack Reid as too much of a tender foot, which makes us never take the character to seriously even after he dons the Ranger’s mask. Hammer seems content on playing the Ranger as the level-headed Winklevoss and Prince Charming mixed together. I’ve been a fan of Johnny Depp, but lately all his weird characters just seem to be blending together and Tonto is no different. Tonto seems like a role that is meant to steal the show, but he is quite ordinary. The scene stealer would go to William Fichtner’s Butch Cavendish, whose disgusting and sadist villain is the lone bright spot in the casting.
Another problem with The Lone Ranger is the length of the film. You feel every second of The Lone Ranger‘s 149 minute running time with its plodding direction and repetitive action. For real, how many times can you wreck a train in one movie? I’m not sure if it was the best idea to turn The Lone Ranger into a feature-length film considering it was based on a twenty-minute radio show. It’s not like there was loads of content in the source material for The Lone Ranger to draw from. There was the Lone Ranger fighting outlaws. That’s it! If it was up to me I would have renamed this movie The Lonnnnnngggggg Ranger.
The final problem with The Lone Ranger may be generational and personal for me. I just don’t think The Lone Ranger is relevant and people just don’t care about the Ranger like they used to. There’s no way you can justify spending $215 million on a character that hasn’t been popular since the early 1950s. I’m not the only one who thinks this because executives at Disney halted production on The Lone Ranger at one point. I just have a hard time taking The Lone Ranger seriously in a hero landscape full of Nolan’s Batman, Xavier’s Mutants and the son of Krypton.
If you still read your movie reviews in a newspaper, The Lone Ranger may appeal to your generation. But for me, by the time I heard the memorable Lone Ranger theme in the climax, I thought it was down right corny. I just can’t see a younger audience getting on board with such a vanilla hero from yesteryear. It didn’t work for The Shadow or The Phantom and in my opinion it doesn’t work for The Lone Ranger. Overall, I give The Lone Ranger 2 out of 4 potatoes.
Read all my Movie Reviews here >>