You can take Johnny Depp out of the Caribbean. You can put a dead raven on his head. But you certainly can’t take Jack Sparrow and Sweeney Todd out of him. The Lone Ranger is certainly fun and entertaining but it quickly loses its charm when the Hollywood dollar signs slowly ooze off the screen.
There really is no way around it. The Lone Ranger is the money-making lovechild of Gore Verbinski and Jerry Bruckheimer, complete with dollar-sign eyes. The hope, or more accurately the delusion, was that this silly action set piece film would strike box office gold and would be another franchise in the making. The film is steeped in flashbacks to John Carter; Pirates of the Caribbean and most other recent Johnny Depp roles and feels very much like a rehash. No, it’s not as terrible as many have made it out to be, it’s not a train wreck of a film, but it does throw a tremendous amount of money at the screen for what turns out to be a shipment of damaged goods.
For most parts the film is incredibly entertaining and is jam-packed with action sequences that will keep many glued to the screen but the film seems confused over who its protagonist is. Armie Hammer never really steps up to the plate as the Lone Ranger and Johnny Depp tries to steal the show like he did in Pirates but never really reaches the same mix of unusual and cartoonish. The success of the film lay primarily in these two roles and the fact that they missed their target is a big shame.
The original radio play and TV series were part of a mythology about the old west that dealt with good, homespun morals and values – a sense of undying justice in a lawless place – and the decision to resurrect the same mould from decades past is enough to raise a few eyebrows. Its throwback values clash with the contemporary treatment of the old west making the film a little confused about the world its characters inhabit. The running time does very little to assist the film, clocking in at two hours and thirty minutes. It turns the running gags and action sequences into endless floats of blazing guns and galloping horses making one of the film’s more entertaining aspects a little too unwelcome towards the third act.
The Lone Ranger is bloated, ungainly and overly long – it fumbles most of its fundamentals. By setting it up as the start of a trilogy, Verbinski and Bruckheimer have shot themselves in the foot because everything that could have worked to their advantage in a standalone film is delayed and stretched out for a series that will never be.
The Lone Ranger is an absolute beaut on blu-ray, its crispness makes it a reference title in any collection. The detail is incredibly striking and nothing looks out of place in terms of the colour-palette that was intended. The film is sun-bleached and drained of life but the saturation is well-balanced and as intended. The bombastic DTS-HD master is equally marvellous and makes full use of any surround system with its aggressive and powerful output.
The blu-ray comes with standard special features like TV featurettes, interviews and deleted scenes and is really nothing to write home about. They include a filmed trip to New Mexico in preparation for the shoot; behind the scenes of some of the action sequences and short outtakes from the film.
The Bottom Line
The Lone Ranger is a family film and is something to be enjoyed on a lazy afternoon. With such limited special features there really is no reason to make this an essential addition to your collection; unless you’ve seen it before and really loved it, so it would definitely be a rental recommendation.