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The Lone Ranger has already been declared a flop even before it has finished its run at the box office due to its $200 million budget. It has been written off by American critics. Or let's just say it's been fired at point blank.
While I was watching the film, I was waiting for the part where the film goes bad. It never did. The Lone Ranger is immensely enjoyable despite being tonally problematic. The film works in a way the Pirates of the Caribbean films do. Not as much but it is a damn good time at the movies.
It lovingly pays tribute to great westerns by John Ford, Howard Hawks, Sergio Leone and Sam Peckinpah. Also tipping that hat to Buster Keaton and Steven Spielberg on the way.
Johnny Depp plays Tonto and doesn't miss a single beat. It's amazing how an actor has gathered esteem always taking up roles where he doesn't look like the conventional movie star. His face is stripped off of the good looks and his behavior gets more bizarre with every film. I'm a huge fan and to see him on autopilot is better than watching most actors out of their comfort zone.
I feel terrible for Armie Hammer. The guy gave a terrific performance in J. Edgar (2011) and has finally landed a mainstream role, since his breakthrough in The Social Network (2010). Yet, none of his subsequent films have hit the mark with the audience for him to be registered as a significant actor. He is fantastic as the masked outlaw but I'm afraid this one may not do the trick either, seeing the bad buzz. (I hope to be wrong)
While the two leads were fantastic, my favorite character was Silver, the white horse. There is something seriously wrong with him, you know.
Visually, the film is striking. Recently, Roger Deakins and Robert Richardson sparked new life into the palette of the Western genre in True Grit (2010) and Django Unchained (2012). Bojan Bazelli does not romanticize the sun-soaked canyons, just like the 2007 remake of 3:10 to Yuma (which was a better film, sure).
The best part of this film is the final act. If you've already decided to hate the film, this would seem like the part where the film drags on. But if you're enjoying it, prepare to magnify the fun. The entire climax, synched to William Tell Overture tweaked by Hans Zimmer, is nothing short of a treat. This is blockbuster filmmaking at its most uninhibited. Did I mention shit loads of fun? Yes. A whole lot of fun.
I can see why American critics hate on the film. It is sprinkled with anti-American sentiment. The fact that it's opening on the 4th of July weekend should come with a wink. But then again, this could only mean good overseas reception and I won't be surprised if it does exactly that.
Speed Racer (2008), Alice in Wonderland (2010), Mirror Mirror (2012), John Carter (2012), Oz: The Great and Powerful (2013) and now The Lone Ranger. American critics have again missed the point entirely of a film that needs a bit more than suspension of disbelief to be enjoyed (not analyzed). Fast forward some years later and at least half of these movies will be considered "not bad at all". In fact, "pretty good".