Having recently watched The Lone Ranger and apart from the obvious question of “where did the money go (I mean, there wasn’t that much to show for $275 Million) I also ask myself, “why the hate?”
Just like Disney’s previous “failure” that was John Carter, I really enjoyed this film and personally feel that this adaptation, like its big budget predecessor, hearkens back to a time when certain productions were made for the entire family to enjoy. Classic titles like ET, The Goonies, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Star Wars were all made under a mindset of bringing the family unit together for one unforgettable experience. I mean, the whole purpose of this medium is to entertain. And when it comes to Gore Verbinski’s “The Lone Ranger,” it succeeds in full.
This movie is a lot of theatrical fun and made me reminisce of the time back when I was a young boy living in the Outback of Australia. Our parents would pile all of us kids into the family truckster (reference) and travel the 50 km to the neighboring towns drive in theatre, where we would settle in for films not unlike this little western adventure to fulfill our need for cinematic wonderment. It was truly an awesome experience.
And it was during this time of reminiscence that I come to the realization that maybe we, as a cinema going public have lost our ability to have fun. So I watched the movie a second time to try and break down what went awry for this now infamous megaflop, in essence to prove myself wrong.
Although The Lone Ranger does have a dark side it is no different to “The Temple of Doom” in that respect so that can’t be it. It sets a tone not unlike “Back to the Future Part 3″ (or to a lesser extent, “Young Guns 2″) and even though it is rather long, the pacing doesn’t make you itch for the remote.
The acting is credible by all parties and although I haven’t been too fond of Johnny Depp and his characterizations as of late, I felt that he actually pulled off a pretty good Tonto. I especially liked the way how the stereotypical mannerisms that plagued the Native Americans back in the day of the original tv show and/or radio serial were explained by Tonto having mental issues.
Armie Hammer, although I will admit I have not seen enough of his work to make a judgment call on his acting abilities, gave off a presence on screen that not only had a “leading star quality” to it, but was not overshadowed by Johnny Depp’s Tonto which I thought would’ve probably been this films biggest problem.
So here I am, sitting here and trying to figure out why this movie, alongside John Carter, both seemingly great action adventure films for the whole family to enjoy, flopped so massively. Although The Lone Ranger is flawed in some ways, it is nothing compared to the travesty and so called family fun entertainment that are Michael Bay’s “Transformers.” (I seriously have a ton of haterd for those movies, but the reasons are for another time). How is it that they go on to make a billion dollars? That is when I had an epiphany. Well, two actually.
One is that there is a current misconception among families that the only films suitable for children are animated features. Whereas there is nothing particularly wrong with this is does seem limiting for a kid’s imagination as the vast majority of these are just carbon copies of each other. And besides, anyone whom grew up in an era before the mid to late 90′s can remember a time when animation on the big screen was actually quite the rarity and we all for the most part turned out okay.
And secondly, but the most important. I believe that we have become too cynical in our approach to the art of film making. Basically the vast majority seem to pull off their own version of Annie Wilkes every time someone fails to explain how Batman got back into Gotham.
I ask you, did we question how ET could miraculously come back to life after being clinically dead for what seemed like ½ an hour? Did we question how a long lost treasure map found its way into a young boys attic in the Goonies, or how plumbers and contractors for the Astoria country club did not stumble upon the secret passageway when they were installing the pipes and gas mains that were infamously destroyed in one slapstick induced sequence? Or for the big one. Did any of you question why in Star Wars there were explosions in space?
Of course you didn’t. Because the whole purpose of going to movies like these back then was not only JUST to have fun but to suspend your disbelief and escape into a world of fantasy for 2 hours. So why have we seemingly lost our ability to do this as of late? As I have to add, it only has been the past decade where we have seen a rise in such a judgmental mindset.
Sure, when it is someones job to do this by all means go right ahead. My favourite time of the month is when “Honest Trailers” has a new one out. And when a movie TRULY deserves a bashing, like say “Grown Ups 2,” or “Scary Movie 5,” I expect a severe tongue lashing from anyone who wasted their time on these abominations. But for what “the Lone Ranger” is and what many other similar style flops were I think it’s time we lighten up a little. Stop going into the cinema looking for reasons to call a movie a failure. Go in and try and find reasons to like it instead.
Suspend your disbelief for 2 hours and reach into your inner child, that part of you who cheered when Peter Venkman shot out lasers from technology way too advanced for the time, in a vain attempt to capture ghosts of all things. Don’t just prove what sheep you are by jumping on the hate bandwagon just because it is cool to do so.
Because I still can’t sit here and accept the fact that people would rather see “Grown Ups 2″ than this, John Carter or Pacific Rim. The madness is astounding. Not to mention the irony, whereas you can’t enjoy a simple family fun adventure without dissecting it like some torture porn style serial killer, but can spend your hard earned cash on Adam Sandlers inane outdated toilet humour and to watch him getting urinated on by some CGI monstrosity.
I believe “the Lone Ranger” may garner a bit more appreciation as time goes by (not unlike the Last Action Hero), for it is simply not that bad a movie that the critics made it out to be. This is why I don’t bother with reviews anymore simply because they are all apparently just a rehash of the previous persons one dimensional thinking. I judge a film on its own merits after only I have watched it myself. And when it comes to this underrated feature, the pros far outweigh the cons.
So next time everyone tells you a movie is crap before it even comes out, ask yourself the simple question made famous by Heath Ledger’s immortal Joker, “Why so serious?” And keep in mind who these types of films are made for in the first place. They are not just for you, they are mean’t for all demographics to enjoy, especially those within the stereotypical family unit not unlike “the Simpsons.”. Stop being so selfish.
I mean, does it really matter how Batman got back into Gotham? After all, he is Batman.
This article was first posted on October 6, 2013