The Lone Ranger Blu-ray Review

THE LONE RANGER will always be known as the movie that finally cost Jerry Bruckheimer his job with Disney.  But now that the dust has settled on the disappointment, it’s easier to judge it fairly as a film as opposed to a flop.  Hindsight is always 20/20 and now, it’s crystal clear why THE LONE RANGER didn’t do especially well at the box office, but it’s not so clear where all the money went.  This is essentially a Western with no supernatural elements, so I’m not sure why it cost $200 million to make.  Johnny Depp delivers a good Tonto and there are moments that are enjoyable, but there are too many problems that keep it from being a good film and in many cases, the problems were things that money couldn’t fix.

The Lone Ranger

I’m sure I caught a few reruns of the black and white TV show when I was a kid surfing the channels, but I’m not familiar with the origin story of The Lone Ranger.  Not that it matters, since I highly doubt the filmmakers kept very true to the original story, other than to have the familiar Lone Ranger theme blare out during the climatic action sequence.  In this version, hero Texas Ranger Dan Reid (James Badge Dale) is called in to capture escaped inmate Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner), but renegade Indian Tonto (Johnny Depp) is also after him for his own reasons.  Things go bad for Dan when he, his brother John (Armie Hammer) and their entire group are ruthlessly killed by Butch.  Tonto stumbles upon the bodies, only to discover that John is not dead.  Upon his revival, John and Tonto team up to catch Butch and bring him to justice.

The Lone Ranger

That gets things started and as soon as The Lone Ranger and Tonto get going, they unravel a huge railroad conspiracy that takes the plot to a surprisingly sophisticated level.  This isn’t your typical summer blockbuster in that the filmmakers tried hard to establish deep characters and a complex plot.  In some ways, that makes THE LONE RANGER enjoyable, but in others it drags everything along.  At two and a half hours, we needed a healthy forty minutes shaved from the final runtime just to keep things moving.  I appreciated the effort, but at some point the filmmakers have to step back and realize they’re making a movie about a crazy Indian and a masked man that catch bad guys.

Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer in The Lone Ranger

The action in the film wasn’t terrible; it just felt a little repetitive.  We open with a nifty train sequence and then close with a pretty good train sequence.  There was really only two action sequences and they both centered on a train.  It would have been nice to mix it up a bit and we could have used something in the middle, just to keep the pace up.  Speaking of pacing, the movie is told in a flashback style with an elder Tonto telling the story to a young boy.  This was completely unnecessary.  To make matters worse, they cut back to the elder Tonto throughout the movie, each time breaking up an already dragging film.  I rarely criticize a film for telling too much story, but THE LONE RANGER couldn’t get out of its own way at times.

Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer in The Lone Ranger

There’s a great movie in here and with a quick edit, I think THE LONE RANGER would have found a lot more success, probably for a lot less money.  Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer play well off each other and it’s always nice to see Depp really dive into a role.  But the film is a cautionary tale for studios, producers and directors that try to follow up their previous success with a bigger budget.  Some times less is more and that’s especially true in the case of THE LONE RANGER.

THE LONE RANGER BLU-RAY REVIEW

Video: THE LONE RANGER looks amazing on Blu-ray.  Director Gore Verbinski is a master at visuals and they look beautiful on Blu-ray.

Audio: The audio was just as impressive.

The Lone Ranger

Deleted scene (3:58): This isn’t a finished scene and is a combination of storyboards  and live action involving an elder Tonto.

Riding the Rails of The Lone Ranger (10:53): I assumed most of the final train scene was CGI, but apparently they actually built a huge train track and set.  It’s pretty impressive and this featurette focuses on how the final scene was shot.

Armie’s Western Road Trip (15:03): We follow Armie Hammer as he and the crew head to various Old West locations, including just outside of Albuquerque, NM and Moab, UT.

Becoming a Cowboy (7:53): The cast goes through “cowboy boot camp” and learn how to ride a horse and other cowboy-ish things.

Blooper Reel (4:03): A music video of sorts that shows some of the flubs from the cast.

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