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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Comedy > Western > Superhero > The Lone Ranger (2013/Disney Blu-ray + DVD)

The Lone Ranger (2013/Disney Blu-ray + DVD)

Picture: A-/B Sound: A-/B Extras: B- Film: B

Let's start by saying I think Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp got a bad rap for this film.

Originally envisioned as a 1930's Radio Show, The Lone Ranger quickly enthralled audiences and would soon thereafter be spun off into a popular book series. From there The Lone Ranger took off like a bullet with a TV series, graphic novels (comic books), movies, and enough merchandise to make Mickey Mouse blush.

Most people remember Clayton Moore (from the television series) as The Lone Ranger due to his image being essentially everywhere; though John Moore did replace him for a brief period before his return. Over the years multiple studios attempted to resurrect The Lone Ranger on TV and on film with little success; most of the time being flat out failures. So after a hiatus of over three decades (with the exception of an especially bad Chad Michael Murray TV pilot in the early 2000s) Disney took a chance in 2013 and decided to get The Lone Ranger back in the saddle.

Seemingly Disney's venture back into the land of The Lone Ranger faired just as well as all other attempts with little financial or critical success. Directed by Gore Verbinksi, the filmed takes the story of The Lone Ranger back to its roots as an origin tale; loosely using elements from previous versions and established mythos.

The film starts off at a carnival in San Francisco in 1933. Here we have a young boy (dressed as The Lone Ranger) wandering the carnival, eventually finding himself in a sideshow about the old west. While pausing for a moment to take in an exhibit on The Noble Savage, the Indian on display comes to life. Revealing himself as The Lone Ranger's partner Tonto (Johnny Depp), he tells the young boy the tale of The Lone Ranger and how he came to be the legend everyone knows today.

After a series of tragic events, including train derailments, betrayal, and death; a man must put on a mask to reveal who he really was meant to be. With the help of the Comanche Indian Tonto, gutless lawyer John Reid (Armie Hammer) rises from a sandy grave to avenge his brother's death and save his family from lawless madman Butch Cavendish (William Fitchner). The Lone Ranger and Tonto face many hardships on the path to justice; their relationship not exactly being an easy one from the start as Tonto believes John to be the wrong brother, along with The Lone Ranger discovering Tonto's less than courageous past.

The film is overall quite entertaining. Beautifully filmed, nicely paced, and pure fun The Lone Ranger may not have ended up the epic, all time classic Disney had hoped for; but in this reviewer's opinion does make for a solid film. Whereas other critics have taken extreme pleasure in picking apart The Lone Ranger; I found myself discovering many more positives than negatives with the film. Without a doubt it has its flaws and I think some were expecting Depp to bring the brilliance of the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie to Ranger, but the fact of the matter is Ranger was not the start of an innovative film series but merely a great popcorn flick. The film nicely balances comedy and action, infusing dramatic elements to give it an edge. There were even times, due to some of the more violent moments that I thought the film was surprisingly edgier than your standard Disney venture. Johnny Depp's Tonto certainly was NOT Captain Jack Sparrow, but remained interesting throughout and with a bit refinement (if they allow a sequel) could be an even greater character. The chemistry between Armie Hammer and Depp is undoubtedly there and once again (if they allow a sequel) I think the duo could have some great adventures.

Don't believe the critics, with countless gun fights and over the top hijinks the film is well done and I am sure I am not aLONE with those sentiments.

As a side not the best line in the movie was by far:

They were going to violate me with a duck foot.

The technical features of this Blu-ray set are equally impressive with a stunning picture and solid sound track that will delight any home viewing experience. The picture is presented in a 2.40 X 1, 1080p AVC-Encoded, MPEG-4 High definition that has brilliant colors, solid contrast, and deep inky blacks that frame every action packed moment. There is a slight intentional desaturation of color to give Ranger that historically Western feel, which I feel was quite appropriate. The CGI incorporated in the film is good overall, but some of the heavier computer generated moments are more obvious than I would have expected; being somewhat distracting. The sound is spot on as the 7.1 DTS HD-Master Audio track is well rounded as it utilizes the entire speaker range with solid prioritization and panning effects. When the Hans Zimmer musical scores kick into gear the speakers explode with life and place the viewer in the heart of the action.

The DVD in this set is merely a downgrade of the already wonderful Blu-ray.

The extras are not as stellar as I would have liked to see (something to prove there is more story to tell perhaps??), but there are some nice features to dive into; although quite short. The extras are as follows:

  • Becoming a Cowboy featurette

  • Riding the Rails featurette

  • Deleted Scene

  • Armie's Western Road Trip

  • Bloopers

In the end, I will say that the majority of people are wrong and I am right. That is too say, The Lone Ranger was a solid film. Perfect? No. But captured the essence of The Lone Ranger with its over the top epic battles (do bullets every run out?), establishing of a journey, and (though they danced the line) reinforced that truth and justice always prevail. Disney's The Lone Ranger is The Lone Ranger for the next generation, managing to maintain the established mythos, updating the campy elements from the past, and concurrently making it its own.

- Michael P. Dougherty II


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