With apologies to any group that is offended by my above title, I would like to recommend THE LONE RANGER (or in real terms, THE LONE TONTO with his sidekick, a really slow white marshall). The critics have been merciless in comparing this one to last year's megabombs BATTLESHIP and JOHN CARTER. Nonsense! THE LONE RANGER, though 30 minutes too long, is a rough and tumble western with enough chases, gunfights, train crashes, and laughs to satisfy 13 year old boys and action movie buffs in their 70's.
Much of the old tv and radio shows' mythology remains, but this version makes Tonto the real force, both for ideas, action, and laughs. Some of the jokes are cornball, but many of the visual jokes and repartee between Tonto and the Lone Ranger are hilarious. I was with a family audience on Sunday, and they seemed to love this new take. The plot is fairly loose, as is the geography. Did you know that Monument Valley is in Texas? Did you know that the first cross-continental railway was in Texas? Did you know that the Arizona Indian cliff dwellings were in Texas? Hmmm. Did Rick Perry produce this movie?
But I dither. An unscrupulous railman wants to use the railway to ship silver to San Francisco, he also wants to kill Texas Rangers and blame it on Comanches, and he wants to steal the heroine and her son for his own.
Why Monument Valley? This movie is in love with John Ford's THE SEARCHERS and even uses scenes from the greatest western ever. We have the raid on the homesteaders with the same sounds and red sunset; we pass the same rock formations again and again; and we have the Search for kidnapped white woman and child. Homage to John Ford aside, these are impressive vistas. And we even have the famous LONE RANGER THEME when the marshall becomes the MAN. There are train wrecks, bridge collapses, Silver carrying the Lone Ranger across moving trains, et al. And all of this is accompanied by humorous asides mostly from Johnny Depp's Tonto. So, if you're looking for a rousing good ride, take on THE LONE RANGER.