The Lone Ranger (Blu-ray)

December 18, 2013 8 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

I’d have to say that I’m a fan of Johnny Depp.  Others are taken by his looks, some by his career choices but I just like the guy.  I mean he hates America, has lived in France for the past 20 years, but still manages to command the screen with his roles and he isn’t afraid to take chances, even considering that he’s really got nothing to prove.  In 2003 he did take a risk playing the role of Capt. Jack Sparrow and, well, let’s just say the rest is history. The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has racked up billions of dollars and I’m sure the execs at Disney are very happy. So when Producer Jerry Bruckheimer grabbed Depp, got a $250 million dollar budget I’m sure they (Disney Execs) were more than happy to take a risk on another potential franchise.  But, as the box office told us, Depp evidently doesn’t have the golden touch with everything and The Lone Ranger is proof.  Still, as much as I’m opposed to remakes and taking television shows and making films out of them, I was actually interested in seeing this one.  So is it as bad as the numbers would seem to indicate or is the negative press just a figment of our imaginations? Let’s read on, kemosabe…

In a bit of a Princess Bride twist to the film, we meet a young boy who encounters a very old Tonto (Johnny Depp) at a San Francisco museum.  The older Indian tells the boy the story of and we watch vicariously through him.  We learn the story of John Reid (Armie Hammer), an idealistic young lawyer who has sworn off any violence.  Together with is brother (who doesn’t quite share his ideals) Dan (James Badge Dale) they pursue the Cavendish gang. Led by Butch (William Fichtner), the gang manages to ambush Dan and his posse and in a move that the audience saw coming since Dan stepped on screen – he is killed.  Literally buried and left for dead, John is found by Tonto and dubbed a “spirit walker” meaning someone who can’t be killed in battle.  Together Tonto and John scour the West for the gang, some of their connections and are dead set on bringing them to justice.  John of course dons the iconic mask, which sets up the ending act.  Will they get their men or will evil prevail in the Old West?

For some reason I chose to watch this movie followed by Prisoners, another two and a half hour ordeal that at the end of my day, left a 5 hour void in my late afternoon. I won’t bore you with the details of that day, but let’s just say that I’ll pay a bit more attention to the running times from now on.  Looking back, I really enjoyed I. Granted it’s no Pirates of the Caribbean, but then again it’s kind of hard to catch lightning in a bottle, right?  Depp approached the role of Tonto and had fun with it, you can tell and Hammer seems zealous, out to make a name for himself as a leading man.  Of course the movie wouldn’t be complete without Depp’s other half – Helena Bonham Carter, as she has fun with her role as well (complete with a leg used as a shotgun, to boot).  The only problem I had with the movie was that it was a bit predictable, I mean we know nothing will happen to the main two characters but I do have to admit that the final act, complete with the iconic Lone Ranger theme song, really did make the movie for me.  I loved it!  Bottom line: if you’re expecting the same sort of enjoyment out of this that you got out of the I… movies – you won’t. But if you sit back, relax and try to have a good time, odds are you will.

Video: How’s it look?

I say this countless times, but I’ll say it once more…with feeling! Generally any new to Blu-ray film from a major studio will look amazing and especially one that stars Johnny Depp and has the words “Lone Ranger” in the title.  Having said that, the 2.40:1 AVC HD image is simply rock solid from opening credits to closing.  The film takes place in the West, so we can expect a lot of earthy tones, browns and more natural hues to dominate the palette and they do.  Detail looks great, as we might expect, we can see the individual grains that continue to fall when Depp’s character tries to feed the bird that adorns his head.  Even considering the length of the film (149 minutes) the image isn’t compromised.  It’s a very nice-looking transfer that’s sure to please all.

Audio: How’s it sound?

If you’ve seen any Jerry Bruckheimer production then you’ll know what to expect –  robust soundtrack that’s sure to deliver on pretty much all levels.  The Lone Ranger is certainly no exception in this department as we’ve got just about every action sequence under the sun. Horse chases, trains, bullets whizzing by and everything in between. The DTS HD Master Audio mix handles it all in stride. Vocals are clear and crisp, even Depp’s older Tonto sounds surprisingly clear.  Of course, the ending act features the timeless William Tell Overture and it really had an impact on me in regards to the movie.  I mean I was like “Yeah, man!” Suffice it to say that there are no shortcomings in this department.

Supplements: What are the extras?

There’s not a whole lot offered in the supplemental department here, and what’s there isn’t exactly a gold mine, but we’ll detail it nonetheless.

  • Armie’s Western Roadtrip – We follow actor Armie Hammer as they head to New Mexico among other places and endure the elements. Hey, it’s all showbiz, right?
  • Riding the Rails of The Lone Ranger – Admittedly this one is pretty cool, we see the construction of the train track that sets up the climax of the film and we do get a pretty good feel for what the scale of the shoot is.  Very interesting.
  • Becoming a Cowboy – Simply put, the actors are put through “Cowboy Boot Camp” in which they’re taught the basics of what’s expected of cowboys.
  • Deleted Scene – The “old” Tonto’s scene has been cut. For shame.
  • Bloopers – Some outtakes from the film.

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