Sunday, July 14, 2013

Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger is two incompatible movies badly edited into one overlong mess.

In places, it is a campy homage to the corny TV show. This is the movie I came to see, and the one promised me in the trailer. I wanted a white hat versus black hat cowboy/superhero movie, because that's what the TV show was. The parts where it delivers this tone are the better parts, but even then they're not great, because:
Except for the campy bits, this is a surprisingly violent action movie. I was expecting uncomfortable levels of racism - they are part of the source material - but I was not expecting a graphic depiction of a man ripping out another's heart and taking a bite out of it. Then while it's not being super-violent, it's just boring. There is also a scene involving excrement that was supremely unnecessary.

There are a number of problems that result from the dual nature of this film. The character of Tonto, which might have been excusable in a purely comedic role, a sort of "do you believe we were so ignorant?" parody, is inexcusable in the serious parts. The participation and purported approval of native Americans in the production of the movie doesn't change this, nor does the tacked-on he's-not-like-the-other-Indians excuse.
The movie suffers from abrupt tonal shifts - one moment they're talking about genocide, and the next telling jokes that sound like the ones on popsicle sticks.
Finally, the movie is just too damned long. It really feels like they couldn't figure out whether to make a campy movie or a serious one, so they made both and stuck them together.

Other than these egregious problems, the film also has a number of others: The characters are paper-thin, verging on caricature. This might have been fine if it was a comedy; see the previous paragraph. The acting was nothing special. I'm getting tired of Johnny Depp's I'm-so-quirky thing, and his look-how-weird-my-costume-is thing. The sets were nothing special. The action sequences were nothing special. The plot was predictable. The music gave us the one obligatory theme, and used it well, but was otherwise forgettable. In fact, the whole movie was eminently forgettable, except for the distaste left over from the inappropriately graphic violence, the crap, and the racism.

I'm really struggling to find anything good to say about this movie, and failing. At least it didn't have a giant animated dong and lots of drug use? That's about all that's keeping it out of last place for the year.

1. Much Ado About Nothing
2. Now You See Me
3. Star Trek: Into Darkness
4. Oblivion
5. Man of Steel
6. Iron Man 3
7. Jack the Giant Slayer
8. Beautiful Creatures
9. Oz the Great and Powerful
10. Epic
11. Monsters University
12. G.I. Joe: Retaliation
13. Hansel and Gretel, Witch Hunters
14. The Great Gatsby
15. The Lone Ranger
16. This is the End

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