As a kid, I remember watching the old black and white television series at my Nan's while mum and dad did their shopping. Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels bringing much-needed justice to the wild west. In 1981 they brought out The Legend Of The Lone Ranger, another big budget movie, for its time, and I remember I enjoyed that too. So when this was released I had to watch it, after all, it was The Lone Ranger, starring one of my favourite actors, Johnny Depp...
This is the most ludicrous telling of The Lone Ranger mythos ever filmed. It verges on the insane and stupid. It definitely feels as though they had too much money in the budget to burn and they did just that with the completely farcical CGI, of which there is way too much. In one section it looks like the director was trying to better the awesome, and equally silly, horseback running of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, by having The Lone Ranger ride Silver on top of the train carriages and then through them; it's just not awesome, just silly.
Poor Johnny Depp's acting skills seem to now range from Jack Sparrow to Native American Jack Sparrow, even the headdress he wears gives his silhouette an all-to-familiar feel. He's also brought across Helena Bonham Carter from his directing buddy Tim Burton. It's a shame though as it appears only Mr Burton can give these two good actors decent enough characters to push them into giving a great performance.
Unfortunately, the director here, Gore Verbinski, can only manage mediocre performances from the talented cast. The worst thing being the actual acting scenes. These look to have been added so the actors can actually stretch their acting legs a little. These scenes though appear boring and dull, nearly to the extreme. I think the main problem is there's not much characterisation to be done, apart from Tonto... and one man cannot hold a film of this size together. The other characters should have been deeper and better thought out. When you have a cast like this use them to their best potential, even if you need a rewrite, or two, to do it. Spend the budget there and not the needless CGI segments.
So why the average rating if I didn't like the movie? Well, there are a few things which give the mythos of The Lone Ranger a more powerful storyline. Tonto's story is the prime example; as far as I remember no film or television series touched on why Tonto is called Tonto (which means fool); in this telling, there's a perfectly good and plausible explanation for his naming. There's also a nice spiritual side with The Lone Ranger's horse, Silver, actually being a Spirit Horse who chooses which ranger to bring back from the dead, after Cavendish's ambush.
The comedy, which mainly comes from Johnny Depp, is right on point and pretty funny. There are also some great Iconic moments in the film, especially Tonto standing at the top of a ladder on a speeding train, once you see it you'll understand.
So it's these issues that raise the film out of the doldrums to become a "watch once" film, possibly on a wet Sunday afternoon, after a decent dinner, and with the family.