Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The Ranger's Return

After the success of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, it’s hardly surprising that  there was a buzz around “The Lone Ranger”. Jerry Bruckheimer promises something great, but due to bad press I didn’t go into the theatre with high hopes in mind. Well I wasn’t disappointed, so that’s something.

On the contrary, I was actually pleasantly surprised. Whether it was because of my low expectations or not, I don’t know, but I actually enjoyed it. It starts a little too slowly for my taste, but when it got going, it was a thrilling ride about Cowboys, Indians and racial stereotypes.

Let’s head back to the beginning. There’s a massively dynamic opening scene, in which an outlaw escapes from a moving train that is taking him to be hanged, and huge set pieces involving the total destruction of said train really puts you on the edge of your seat. One thing leads to another, and John Reid gets paired up with Tonto, and they become the other Dynamic Duo.

Unfortunately, after the explosive start, the pace slows to a crawl. And it crawls a long way. There is an attempted action scene thrown in to make it more exciting, but I felt a little bored during it. Also, it’s a good long while before we see Arnie Hammer don the iconic mask and become the eponymous hero. I get the whole character building thing, but it takes too long, and not enough happen, and I feel that without Johnny Depp bringing the humour in the film, I may have fallen asleep.

 Oh Johnny Depp you wonderful man. As with the Pirates films, he steals every scene and we know that they wouldn’t be half as enjoyable without him. Also, him and Hammer play off eachother brilliantly, providing some laugh out loud moments. Unfortunately, Depp’s stand-out performance really shows the rest of the cast up. Hammer isn’t bad, he just isn’t up to the standard the Depp sets, although this should have been made obvious in the trailers when Depp – the sidekick – gets credited before Hammer – the title character.

Helena Bonham-Carter also supports, and does a decent job with the character she’s given, (which I actually really like). I just wish that she had more of a role in the film. I feel like they only scratched the surface of what they did with her, rather than exploring the character’s full potential.

After the crawling pace of the origin story, the plot really picks up. I won’t try to describe it, because it turns several times, so I wouldn’t be able to without giving away spoilers. The turns also overcomplicate the plot, which in this sort of film doesn’t really work. Towards the end it gets very political, and I got a little confused as to who was doing what and why.

Still, the action scenes are thrilling (save for the one I mentioned earlier), and the final set piece completely blows the POTC Wheel of Death out of the water. An extended battle fought over two moving trains, with bullets flying and the William Tell Overture blaring. It’s as chaotic as it sounds, and I had a huge grin on my face, amazed at it’s sheer awesomeness.

Despite a slow beginning, The Lone Ranger provides plenty of thrills throughout to keep an audience entertained. I did feel like 2 and a half hours was a little too long, but this isn’t a massive issue. The final set piece puts anything Jack Sparrow can do to shame, but as a whole package, I preferred the Pirates of the Caribbean films. This doesn’t make it bad though. Don’t get me wrong, it was enjoyable, and I’d recommend it to anyone who liked Pirates. Just don’t go in expecting another Pirates movie.

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