The Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger ★★★½

Scavenger Hunt 50 - #1 - Watch a film that you haven't seen yet by a director that you like

"Something very wrong with that horse."

I love Gore Verbinski's films. There's a supreme grandeur to the way he tells his stories and his visual palette often leaves me in awe.

Given this, why did it take me so long to get around to seeing The Lone Ranger? In a few words: it's a western. As I've said before, this is a genre that, to me, rarely makes a memorable impact.

In the years since it's inauspicious box office run, I've grown fond of the actor behind the film's eponymous Ranger (see what I did there?) and Johnny Depp has been one of my favorite actors since my teenage Burton phase years.

More than anything, though, it was my desire to finish Verbinski's filmography that finally made me take the plunge (with this, I'm only one feature and one short away from my goal). Thankfully, with Ranger, Verbinski demonstrates that he still has it.

While it's certainly not one of my favorites of his oeuvre, this one's got some really spectacular treats for those who give it a chance. Visually, it looks as wonderful as I could hope, full of the crisp attention to detail amidst a jaw-dropping scale that we've come to expect. It's also sporadically guffaw funny, chock full of bizarre moments, and even touching in parts.

The film also boasts a fantastic cast with everyone from James Badge Dale to Tom Wilkinson having a ball playing cowboys. I also have to give a shout-out to William Fichtner, of whom I've been a fan since his Prison Break days. Fichtner's villain almost shockingly pushes the usual Disney bad guy boundaries and his scene-chewing here is a delight.

If I had to pick out a major flaw in this one, it's that the film is about an hour too long. I get that it's trying to juggle a lot of narrative elements but there are several needless scenes that weigh down the pacing.

I'm almost willing to forgive that unwieldy running time if only because I really loved the framing device used here. Without giving it away, let me just say, it's just the right amount of cute and is slyly touching in it's wide-eyed nod to the tales of yesteryear and the effect they had on those who beheld them.

At it's best, The Lone Ranger is a rousing spectacle from the master of spectacles himself and it's frankly much better than it has any right being. I don't know what it says though, that, in a film full of insane set pieces , the horse still ends up being the most memorable part. In my book at least, I'm okay with that.

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