Jerry Bruckheimer sure does know how to put on a spectacle. With its expansive Wild West scenery, endearing leads, and all around ‘high-yo’ attitude, the producer’s latest project “The Lone Ranger” is exactly the silver screen adaptation the black and white TV show from yester-year deserves.
Bruckheimer returns with his award winning team that turned “Pirates of the Caribbean” into a classic franchise. Gore Verbinski is back in the director’s chair, Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio reprise their screenwriting roles, and Johnny Depp once again gets to prance around the screen with that same lovable nonchalance that made his Captain Jack Sparrow character so enjoyable to watch. While “The Lone Ranger” is unmistakably a western, the audience can still taste that salty seadog air this combination of filmmakers unintentionally produces.
Unlike the 1950’s television show, which views the Lone Ranger’s story through the eyes of the title character, Disney’s version is told using Tonto’s (Johnny Depp) perspective. While the actor may not look like the typical Native American, Depp is still very convincing in his role. Between all of his absurd mystical incantations and rituals such as feeding his stuffed crow headpiece, Tonto is everything Depp fans have come to expect from the actor.
Armie Hammer’s interpretation of the man behind the mask, The Lone Ranger, is the perfect accompaniment to Tonto’s outlandish behavior. John Reid, aka The Lone Ranger, is a fish out of water once moving from the big city back to the small Texas town he grew up in. Hammer’s appropriate mix of Hollywood handsome and charming naivety is exactly what this version of the masked ranger calls for. After being left for dead in the middle of the dessert, Hammer’s John Reid is able to easily adopt that now famous black leather disguise, and embark on a revenge mission against the evil Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner; The Dark Knight).
Running at just about two and a half hours, the editing department could have made this epic less long winded. Amid Hammer and Depp’s quirky chemistry and the exceptional action finale set to a revitalized rendition of Giacomo Rossini’s “William Tell Overture,” however, one can let the overbearing exposition and forced love story slide.
“The Lone Ranger” doesn’t try to be anything it’s not. Bruckheimer fans will enjoy the same fantastical approach the producer brings to every Hollywood project he works on. Johnny Depp lovers will be rewarded with another bizarre yet charming performance. And with a PG-13 rating, parents will be able to treat their kids to a highfalutin western adventure without all of those unsavory themes that made that time period so wild.
With “The Lone Ranger,” Jerry Bruckheimer has proven that not only is he the master of the seven seas, but he can also wrangle the west. With such an interesting, wide-open story world, I can already envision the posters for the sequel.
By David Morris