Monday, December 16, 2013

The Lil' Injin that could


Wow, did this flick get hated on. I mean all of you guys float through this here worldwide internet. Peeps tore up the huge budget (200 million I believe) Johnny Depp starring flick. Now I have a theory, and I have backed it up on a few occasions. Not saying this is the best example, but I'm gunna share it here anyway -

After a certain level of success, hollywood, and the universe, decides to hate your bloody guts.

Yup that's my theory. The best example of this is with Kevin Costner. The man made field of dreams - Huge success, Dances with Wolves - Huge success, then a big budget THE POSTMAN and the world just bashed it into the ground. What was a half decent, fun, action romp was sent to audience oblivion. So here we have the whole crew from the Pirates of the carribbean flicks. Same director (Gore Verbinski), producer (The internet sensation himself - Jerry Bruckheimer), and star Johnny Depp. Doing another big budget summer movie... So hate... Was pretty much guaranteed... I think the internet hate collectively decided to banish this film into oblivion before it even hit a screen... question is, is it warranted?

The final stare contest will determine who gets the oats.
The plot: A man in the early part of wild west in the states of America, goes home to find his town in a power struggle over trains, and silver. After having everything taken from him, including his life (more or less), he returns in a leather mask, with a entertaining and strange indian (Depp) by his side. Together they will find the truth behind a band of outlaws, and perhaps, save the west from itself.

This is, in case you didn't know, based on the insanely popular show of the same name from the early/late 50s... 60s... well somewhere in there. Point is, no one really cares about the old show, so why make a movie? Cause you have the money too. Does anyone really love the show enough to tear up all the differences in the plot... (for instance making the stoic indian friend - Tonto, insane, and basically Johnny Depp channelling his Captain Jack Sparrow character)... No I don't think so. And if there are they probably didn't watch the original anyway, just a review pointing out all the differences.

Well den, what about this movie on it's own? Is it a great movie? No. Is it a good movie... maybe.

I will word it like this. The opening 30 minutes with the train... and the last 30 minutes with two trains... are awesome. Some of the funnest, crazziest, popcorn crunchiest, entertainment on screen - period. The problem is the hour and a half of filler in between. Yup, its 2 hours and 30 minutes long, and really for no reason.

Yo, Tonto, I think I'm a-head of you. Get it? What no smile?
There is this whole plot device with Tonto all old, and having a conversation with a young boy... in I think modern day.... ish. Of course the boy is hallucinating on bad popcorn or something, whatever. Point it, it serves no purpose whatsoever. Why is it there? Because some idiot said - Hey, we need a little more comic relief, and Depp screen time. It just distracts from the plot and is honestly a little annoying. Everything else in between the train chaos is well... shit. I mean everyone is really trying here...

Ruth Wilson (from one of my all time fav shows - Luther) is a great actress, but really has nothing to do here. I mean nothing. I don't even think they give her 20 seconds of screen time to mourn her husband... right. Right... because she's actually the romantic interest for most of the men in the film...

Armie Hammer as the title character just seems lost in the material until the action kicks in. Not his fault, he's written as in incompetent priss, when he is suppose to be all superheroic and stuff. And ya its about building him up to that, but by the time they get there... two hours have passed! William Fichtner is great as over the top bad guy. Although, by the half way point you will be looking at the screen going... Seriously you're letting the guy that ate your brother's heart walk... again!? Why would you do that you idiot!!!! Oh, right, to fill up two hours. So ya, a great bad guy gets ridiculously boring by the end, then eclipsed by the much more interesting captain of the soldiers.

And what about the Johnny Depp TONTO. Hmmmm well, I thought he did a good job playing it as he did. It's fun, and crazy, and interesting... the only thing interesting about the middle hour and a half. Though it is worth noting, it is basically Jack Sparrow with a slightly slowly speech pattern. Which I'm ok with.

Again the problem is, Armie is so incompetent, comically so, that Tonto has no straight man to play off.  The other thing about the indian sidekick is that after a fun intro to his people... they more or less just slaughter all of them. Every indian of his tribe massacred.... and they just move right passed it. No - wow we just killed an ENTIRE FREAKING TRIBE in like 34 seconds. No - how are you Tonto? Do you need to sit down. Two and a half hour movie and they manage to spend no time on the one thing they probably should've.


And this is the but. The first half, and last half hour are that damn good. When the Lone Ranger theme kicks in, and he's riding his horse across rough tops, chasing a train... man, it just feels sooooo good. I couldn't help but think - WHERE WAS THIS WHEN I WAS LISTENING TO POINTLESS BANTER? Where was this when Johnny D was screen hogging. Anyway. It's awesome. Creative and let's face it... director Gore is a genius at capturing huge scale CGI/Realworld action scenes. He may have topped anything he did in Pirates here. It's a blast.

The whole subplot with a love interest... really, I guess it needed to be there. Though... and this is a big one, why the hell did everyone in the movie need to find out who the Lone Ranger was? I mean, maybe one bad guy... or the girl (though I always support a secret identity), but everyone... that was kind of pointless, and took away from some of his heroic doings near the end.

Three hour flick... it's a lot of time to invest, but overall I think it's worth it. The action scenes are amazing. There are writing issues sure, and yes, it's a big budget flick that perhaps didn't need to exist... but hey, I was entertained completely for 60 minutes that more than I can say for quite a few movies... In summary. This movie will not win awards, hell its not even great. Its just a decent waste of time... with explosions and stuff.

Movie scale 2.5 out of 5 stars
Action movie scale 3 out of 5 stars.

That damn theme is gunna be stuck in my head ALL WEEK. Dammit.

- Charles Boonsweet

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