The Lone Ranger came out last summer and I’ve heard a lot of opinions ranging from “It’s alright” to “It’s just bad.” To be honest the negative comments mostly came from my mum who saw it at a free secret preview screening – though I think she was ready to dislike it after finding out it wasn’t Thor: The Dark World like she’d hoped.
Yesterday I decided to watch it. Mostly because it was the only film in the Best Visual Effects category at this year’s Oscars that I hadn’t seen – and also because in my mind that spot should have gone to Pacific Rim. But I felt as if I couldn’t justify saying that until I had at least given The Lone Ranger a chance.
So what did I think? It was alright. It’s in no way fantastic but it was at least entertaining for the majority of the time. At least it was when the characters weren’t being frustrating and there weren’t jumps in the narrative and odd attempts at humour.
The part of The Lone Ranger that I disliked the most was the way the story was constructed, having a very old Tonto (Johnny Depp) telling the story of the Lone Ranger to a kid at a fun fair. My mother did tell me about this but I presumed that she meant it was like bookends of the main narrative, which is a bit weird but would’ve been alright. Instead there was jarring moments where it suddenly jumped from the action to go back to old Tonto talking to this kid. It really pulled me out of the film and I ended up just getting annoyed every time you ended up with the kid. So wasn’t a fan of that bit at all. You could have cut those bits out and it would’ve shortened the film by half an hour.
The relationship between Tonto and the Lone Ranger (Armie Hammer) was again strange – you’d think by half way through the film they would have some sort of respect or trust but no. Also the Lone Ranger annoyed me with his continued aversion to using guns – there’s a section when he and Tonto are stuck in a barn and he thinks he can just talk to the three armed guys outside in letting them out – of course they shoot him! I get wanting a hero who doesn’t think violence is always the answer and wants justice via the law but you’re in the middle of the Wild West – it’s not gonna work 99% of the time. Also Johnny Depp was a weird choice for Tonto and he did seem to be channelling his inner-Captain Jack Sparrow throughout the film. That being said, Tonto’s back story was the most interesting part in my opinion.
The action sequences were pretty good although, for me, the humour was more eye-roll inducing than actually funny. All in all The Lone Ranger was alright, an easy enough watch that was perhaps a bit overlong. I’d give The Lone Ranger 3/5
So in conclusion I have now seen all the films nominated for Best Visual Effects. Obviously Gravity’s going to win – if there’s one sure fire bet in this years Oscar race it’s that one – but I really do think Pacific Rim should have had The Lone Ranger‘s nomination. The special effects in The Lone Ranger were really a lot of trains crashing (or at least that’s what sticks in my mind) whereas you’ve got Pacific Rim where there are giant aliens and robots that each look unique and have realistic fights. How did Pacific Rim not get nominated?! *sigh* I suppose you can never be 100% happy with award season.
OSCAR 2014 BEST VISUAL EFFECTS NOMINATIONS
Gravity – Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk, Neil Corbould, Nikki Penny
The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug – Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, Eric Reynolds
Iron Man 3 – Bryan Grill, Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Dan Sudick
Star Trek Into Darkness – Ben Grossmann, Burt Dalton, Patrick Tubach, Roger Guyett
The Lone Ranger – Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams, John Frazier