The Lone Ranger (d. Gore Verbinski USA 2013)

The Lone Ranger (d. Gore Verbinski USA 2013)


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With all the sequels and remakes out there, it is hard to believe there would be an original film out there. Having said that, Pacific Rim (d. Guillermo del Toro USA 2013) and The World’s End (d. Edgar Wright UK 2013)  are both original titles and The Lone Ranger is based upon a TV series. Being one of the highest marketed films recently, it’s obvious the studio was anxious about its release. Personally I feel that trailers should be kept to the first few minutes of the film itself. This way it can’t spoil the film or paint a different picture to the film itself and the first moments in a film should sell the rest of the film to its audience anyway. Unfortunately, a lot of the film is given away in trailers and a different impression is given of the film entirely. This isn’t abnormal; many films suffer from the trailer. It might happen that a perfect script with psychologically complex characters is, by the trailer, an action packed blockbuster. Different films, different expectations, and it is these expectations that can make or break a film. How many times have you been disappointed by a film that was meant to be something it wasn’t? I think this may well be one of those films.


One major element of the film, that almost overshadows the film itself, is its star – Johnny Depp. Johnny Depp has seen considerable fame for quirky, weird or damn right ridiculous characters. He has almost been type-casted as himself. Many people will forget serious efforts of character like Donnie Brasco in Donnie Brasco  (d. Mike Newell USA 1997) or John Dillinger Public Enemies (d. Michael Mann USA 2009). Instead he is Johnny Depp – Jack Sparrow the amazing pirate from Pirates of the Caribbean (Series) (d. Gore Verbinski, Rob Marshall USA/UK 2003-2011) . Seeing him as the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland  (d. Tim Burton USA 2010) was no surprise. However, I am ashamed that many disregard him as an actor, simply for when he isn’t Jack Sparrow. In fact one of the ways in which The Lone Ranger is marketed is through the makers of Pirates of the Caribbean. Johnny Depp can be seen as a highly versatile actor and many of his recent characters may defend weird characters that have some slapstick comedy to them, but that does not mean that is all he can do. In The Lone Ranger, however, he is what everyone expects him to be – stuck in defending weird characters with a slapstick edge. But, importantly, he is not as big in the film as you’d expect. To judge the film on his performance alone is to disregard the film. Johnny Depp, strength or weakness?


In many ways The Lone Ranger could be considered a comedy, a comedy that is at its best when events are left unexplained. Some events and happenings are strange and left unexplained are comical. However, in spite of these little moments of brilliance, the film still falls trap to an unfortunate trend in cinema. For the same reasons Freddy KruegerJason Voorhees, the family from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (d. Tobe Hooper USA 1974) and even Darth Vader have backgrounds; Lone Ranger explains away beautiful aspects of characters best left to its comical effect. When will cinema realise that, sometimes, it’s better not to know.


In conclusion… This is a film that is hindered by its marketing, distracted by its star and suffers its need to explain. But shining through this are some truly worthwhile moments. We can have fun and be silly. Let us not judge it to harshly, let’s give an old man’s story to a child a chance. For all that you might think it be, it is entertaining after all. Though, on a separate note: the versatility of a type-casted actor can sometimes be surprising – don’t dismiss him easily.


Further Reading

Interview with Johnny Depp

Interviews with Cast and Crew

Lone Ranger Official

Johnny Depp Official


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