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The Lone Ranger(2013)
Native American spirit warrior Tonto recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid, a man of the law, into a legend of justice.
For more about The Lone Ranger and the The Lone Ranger Blu-ray release, see the The Lone Ranger Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on December 11, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Armie Hammer, Barry Pepper, James Badge Dale, Tom Wilkinson
Director: Gore Verbinski
» See full cast & crew
The Lone Ranger Blu-ray Review
"If we ride together, we ride for justice."
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, December 11, 2013
Once a staple of cinema, westerns have become a risk studios aren't often willing to take. Action comedies had a good run in the '90s, but have floundered in recent years with far more flops than hits. And remakes and reboots... well, tricky business all around. So why oh why would a studio in its prime, having just acquired both the Marvel Movie Universe and a certain galaxy far, far away, devote $250 million-plus to an action-comedy western remake/reboot (pick your poison) of one of the most iconic American film serials and TV series? A (relative) box office bomb that grossed a mere $90 million domestically and eked out just $260 million worldwide? Five words: Jerry Bruckheimer and Gore Verbinski. Or perhaps just four: Pirates of the Caribbean. The hope -- or, in hindsight, the delusion -- being that Bruckheimer and Verbinski could strike box office gold yet again with another franchise in the making; one that just so happened to star Pirates frontman Johnny Depp. No, The Lone Ranger isn't as terrible as you might have heard. It isn't the worst movie of the year, or even the most disappointing. It's more of a train wreck than it believes, though, and throws a tremendous amount of money at the screen for what turns out to be a shipment of damaged goods.
The Lone Ranger begins as the story of Tonto (Depp), told by an old, shriveled sidekick to a young boy wandering through a sideshow where the Comanche is living out his final days. Recounting his first meeting with the fabled Lone Ranger, the film unfolds in flashback, interrupted (quite frustratingly) by the elderly warrior every time the already fickle script suddenly decides to yank its audience out of the action. The Ranger was originally persnickety lawyer John Reid (Armie Hammer, playing co-star rather than leading man), a family man and sworn pacifist who set off into the desert with his brother, Texas Ranger Dan Reid (James Badge Dale), in pursuit of the deadly Cavendish gang. Unfortunately for them, the gang's leader, scarred cannibal Butch (William Fichtner), ambushed the brothers and Dan's fellow lawmen, and didn't take any prisoners. Enter a spirit horse -- primarily a comic relief steed -- who, according to Tonto, revived John and transformed him into a "spirit walker," a warrior who can't be killed in battle. Whether or not John is indeed a supernatural being is the source of much on-screen debate and slapstick silliness, but Tonto believes it to be true, and so goes the movie. Bickering every step and gallop along the way, Tonto and the newly masked, newly dubbed Lone Ranger forge a reluctant alliance, each one determined to bring Cavendish to justice; John by way of the law, Tonto by way of the grave.
Unnecessary, criss-crossing subplots abound, while sweaty, grimy, yellow-toothed gunslingers, murderers and conniving cons lurk around every corner. Helena Bonham Carter is brothel owner Red Harrington, with a gun mounted in her porcelain leg and a knack for aiming straight. Ruth Wilson is Dan's widow Rebecca, who of course has long been the secret love of John and ends up in the thick of it when our hero at long last springs into action. Bryant Prince is Rebecca's son, because, you know, PG-13 action-comedy rule #1 is toss a boy into the fray and watch the precocious little rebel bloom. (This one gets a slingshot.) Mason Cook is a second kid, this one The Lone Ranger's biggest fan. Barry Pepper is a turncoat cavalry officer who ditches principle to make a buck. Stephen Root pops up as the president of the Transcontinental Railroad Company and promptly gets stabbed in the back. And Tom Wilkinson is Latham Cole, a wealthy railroader who may as well twirl his mustache, wring his hands and wear a name tag that reads "I'm the real villain!" Followed by a collective, off-camera mwa ha ha from Verbinski and his screenwriters, none of whom manage to hide Cole's intentions in the slightest.
Hammer, meanwhile, pounces on every scene with the tenacity and enthusiasm of an upstart actor with something to prove. And, for what it's worth, his energy lends the film's action suspense, its comedy some heart, and its more dramatic beats some much-needed weight. It's just a shame the story isn't really interested in the Lone Ranger or his rise to hero-dom, much as its first and second acts insist. This is Tonto's flick, no two ways about it. He even nabs the infinitely more interesting backstory and quest for revenge. Depp, though, meanders from one set-piece to the next, indulging in his latest experiment in eccentricity. He has a great deal of fun, and frankly he's fun to watch. But the thrill of seeing Depp morph into another tragic cartoon character is mostly gone, having diminished more and more with each leftfield role he's tackled. The film is fun too I suppose, and funny enough to lasso a few sparse laughs. Then again, it's all so ludicrously over-the-top, particularly during its climactic dual-train chase, that it's hard not to laugh at its expense. It doesn't help that anything resembling a friendship between John and Tonto is shelved for a future installment that will probably never come. The duo argue, fight, insult and betray their way across the wilderness, making it that much more difficult to enjoy their company.
The Lone Ranger Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Lone Ranger's 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer is a beaut. I'd even call it perfect if it weren't for the persistence of some minor ringing, which appears a few times too many. It's quite negligible in the scheme of things, though, and if memory serves, a product of the source, as I recall spotting it when the film was in theaters. Colors are bleached, sun-struck and drained of life, with a palette that favors sickly greens and dusty ambers. However, all is precisely as Verbinski and cinematographer Bojan Bazelli intended. Contrast is excellent, without any significant crush or delineation issues to report. Black levels are deep and suitably sooty, skintones are nicely saturated and primaries deliver, when given the opportunity that is. Detail is also thoroughly striking, with razor-wire edges, crisply resolved fine textures and closeups that showcase every scab, scar, wrinkle, nick, pockmark, frayed stitch, scraggly hair, bead of sweat and bit of stubble. Moreover, artifacting, banding, aliasing and other distractions and eyesores are nowhere to be found. All in all, it's a terrific presentation.
The Lone Ranger Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Action, action, action. The Lone Ranger's bombastic DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track doesn't waste much time with subtlety, reveling in thunderclap explosions, splintering wood, crashing train cars, rending metal, cracking gunfire and roaring locomotives. LFE output is powerful and aggressive to say the least, with enough decisive kick to bolster even the most light-hearted chase or fistfight. Rear speaker activity never relents, creating a most immersive soundfield that's as enveloping as its directional effects are convincing and engaging. Cross-channel pans are smooth as silk as well, and dynamics are outstanding. All the while, dialogue is perfectly intelligible and impeccably prioritized, even when derailed trains, deafening battles or angry mobs threaten to drown out key lines and other crucial elements. I didn't walk away with a single complaint.
The Lone Ranger Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Lone Ranger Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Bloated, ungainly and much too long, The Lone Ranger fumbles its fundamentals. Staged as the first installment in a trilogy rather than a satisfying standalone film, it sets the stage for its own failures. Still, there's some dark Looney Tunes-esque fun to be had, especially between Hammer and Depp, so long as you're willing to switch off the critical portions of your brain, you might just be able to enjoy the movie on its own terms. As Blu-ray releases go, The Lone Ranger's only sin is that its bonus content is too short and too unsatisfying. Otherwise, the disc's striking video presentation and thundering DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track impress.
The Lone Ranger: Other Editions
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The Lone Ranger Blu-ray, News and Updates
• This Week on Blu-ray: December 17-24 - December 15, 2013
For the week of December 17th, Walt Disney Home Entertainment is bringing the controversial The Lone Ranger to Blu-ray. Other titles include Sony and FX's Justified: Season Four set, Ain't Them Bodies Saints, the riveting thriller Prisoners, and Neill Blomkamp's ...
• Exclusive Giveaway: The Lone Ranger - December 11, 2013
Blu-ray.com and Walt Disney Home Entertainment are offering three members the opportunity to win a copy of director Gore Verbinski's The Lone Ranger, starring Armie Hammer, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Wilkinson, Ruth Wilson and William Fichtner. The ...
• The Lone Ranger Blu-ray - September 20, 2013
Walt Disney Home Entertainment has announced the Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack release of director Gore Verbinski's The Lone Ranger, starring Armie Hammer, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Wilkinson, Ruth Wilson and William Fichtner. The action-packed ...
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