I’m not a movie critic and don’t even try to play one on TV. I used to be well-versed in films, studied film history, and watched movies religiously.
Now? Well, I’m a mom.
So when I get a chance to actually go see a grown-up movie with other grown-ups, I jump at the chance, as I did last week when I was invited to an advanced screening of “The Lone Ranger.”
I kind of wanted to see the movie for two silly reasons: I like Johnny Depp. And I like his crazy get-up in all the previews.
And that was pretty much all I knew about the movie before I went to see it.
I told my mom I was going (she graciously served as babysitter for the evening, or what we’ll simply call “grandma time”) and she told me she had no interest in the movie. The reason? She grew up watching The Lone Ranger and to paraphrase what she said, she didn’t really want to see it bastardized.
Clayton Moore as the television Lone Ranger
I actually watched The Lone Ranger reruns as a kid so I knew the whole Tonto-Lone Ranger-Kemosabe dynamic. But I was so young when I watched the show that I didn’t have any preconceived notions about the film.
Here’s my attempt at what I thought of the film, for whatever it’s worth.
What I liked
- The wild west is always beautiful in films and this one does not disappoint. Watching this on a large screen was definitely the way to go. The cinematography was GORGEOUS.
- Johnny Depp.
- Johnny Depp’s character, Tonto. There were plenty of things I didn’t like (see below) but he was definitely a bright spot in the fim.
- Ruth Wilson (who played Rebecca Reid). Sounds silly but she’s a pretty woman without being over-the-top gorgeous. She wasn’t a typical leading lady that they stuck in some skimpy costumer. She felt like a real women in the wild west. Totally believable. (And get this, I just found out she’s BRITISH. Huh.)
- William Fichtner (who played super bad guy Butch Cavendish). You may not know his name but he is a character actor extraordinaire. In fact, I didn’t even recognize him until about 1/3 of the way into the film.
- The storyline was a good one. It had a beginning, a middle, and an end. And it was an ending I liked so there’s that.
What I didn’t like
- I think this film was a little confused. It was very violent. (Definitely heed the PG-13 warning.) Yet it was full of comic relief. Violence and slapstick don’t really go well together so I felt like the core identity of the film was a little lost.
- Armie Hammer. I’m sorry. I know he’s cute and people love him and all but he seemed a little smarmy and corny. It was not the persona I was expecting for the Lone-Ranger-to-be. And also, he teeth were so damn white. With all the dirt and rubble in the wild west, those teeth were a major distraction for me (and not in a good way).
- The elephant in the room. Yep. I’ve got to say it. With as much as I love about Johnny Depp, it felt weird that in this day and age that they picked a non-Native American to play the role of Tonto. I realize he’s a huge box office draw. I realize there aren’t many (any?) Native American superstars. But this could have been a chance to make a superstar.
- I won’t spoil the movie but I’ll just say that Butch Cavendish get his, as you might expect from the main bad guy. It just wasn’t in a way that felt deserving of such a bad guy. Unless they’re leaving some open question about his fate…
- It was a little long. In the day and age of Netflix and the ability to pause movies and watch them in the comfort of our own homes, two and half hours was a little long for me. I think they could have shaved 30 minutes off of this and not lost much.
What you really want to know
Should you go see it? With all of the things I didn’t like, I still found the movie highly entertaining. I didn’t laugh as much as everyone else. I probably cringed more than everyone else. But if you’re looking for mainstream blockbuster summer action/suspense/thriller movies, I’d definitely put this one on my list.
Opens in theaters TODAY!