The Lone Ranger - 2013

Why do they DO that? This bold, handsome, and wildly entertaining PG-13 romp, also contains nasty hints of cannibalism, sadistic stabbings, and heartless, point-blank gunshots! Not like the thrilling days of yester- year....

This entire story is told in flashback. In 1933 San Francisco, a boy goes into a Wild West show where he sees three life-size dioramas: an American buffalo, a grizzly bear, and a "Noble Savage," which turns out to be an elderly Tonto, who comes to life and immediately starts lying to him. The boy knows his legends though, and argues back. Brilliant make- up, by the way!

Director Gore Verbinski ("Pirates of the Caribbean") swings wildly between a goofy white horse that seems to be right out of "Cat Ballou," to a poignant love story that left us wanting more.

These guys are workin' it:
  • Armie Hammer ("Mirror Mirror") is our eponymous hero, white hat, white stallion, silver bullet and all. This is where we learn what turned mild-mannered attorney John Reid into a legendary Texas Ranger. He is so earnest it makes the comedy very, very funny.
  • Johnny Depp ("Dark Shadows") is Tonto, his stalwart (?) sidekick (do you know what "tonto" means in Spanish? I didn't think so... Look it up!) Our two heroes are at odds through most of the movie, linked only by circumstance.
  • James Badge Dale ("The Grey") is Dan Reid, the brother who married the woman John loves. Dan is a heroic Texas Marshall, soon killed in the line of duty.
  • Ruth Wilson ("Anna Karenina") is Rebecca Reid, the woman they both adore.
  • Tom Wilkinson ("The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel") is Latham Cole, the ambitious railroad magnate who is linking the East and West coasts by rail.
  • William Fichtner (Lots of TV) is the dastardly villain Butch Cavendish. Our hero refuses to shoot him because "violence never solved anything."
I mentally divided this 2 1/2-hour PG-13 outing into five sections:
  1. The first 30 minutes or so tell us how an icon is created; it is laugh-out-loud funny and ends with a rousing rendition of the William Tell Overture, which as we know is our hero's theme song;
  2. The second section includes the massacre of an Indian tribe;
  3. The center section is again very funny; 
  4. Then about 30 minutes that feature more cold-blooded killing;
  5. The final action-filled section (with an encore of the William Tell Overture) takes place on moving trains and contains slapstick and sight gags that would have done Buster Keaton proud!
I feel so sad because I would LOVE to recommend this wholeheartedly. Maybe if you go get popcorn during the icky parts? (I WILL probably own the DVD because of the funny and poignant scenes; Armie Hammer is wonderful.) Sigh....
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See for yourself:
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