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The Lone Ranger Is Not Your Typical Disney Family Film

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Movie Review Jackie K Cooper
"The Lone Ranger" (Disney)

This is not your father's "Lone Ranger" and this is not your father's Disney family film offering. The new version of "The Lone Ranger," which stars Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer as the Lone Ranger, is a blend of comedy and drama; and as a PG-13 rated film it includes a bit more violence than expected. Still for adults and older teens it has all the requisite energy and Depp necessary to make it entertaining.

The movie covers the back story of how "The Lone Ranger" came into existence. The audience is introduced to John Reid (Hammer), a mild mannered lawyer traveling back to the western city where his brother Dan (James Badge Dale) lives with his wife Rebecca (Ruth White) and their son Danny (Bryant Prince).

Through a series of events John gets involved with an astute Indian named Tonto (Depp) and they forge an uncomfortable relationship. John is all about the law while Tonto is all about revenge. Dan, John and a group of Texas Rangers end up being ambushed by notorious criminal Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner) and John ends up becoming "The Lone Ranger."

This introduction takes a while to come together but it is necessary for the understanding and enjoyment of the story. It early on becomes evident that Tonto is one of, if not the smartest person in the room at all times. He is certainly brighter than the strong willed but naïve John Reid.

The movie rises and falls on Depp's performance and his talent rises to the occasion consistently. Tonto provides the core values of the film as well as the most comical parts. Depp can do more with a look than most actors can do with pages of dialogue. He never falls out of character and is the glue that makes the story and the entire film successful.

Hammer is also good as the true blue Lone Ranger. He certainly looks the part with his soaring height, his piercing eyes and his square jaw. He also provides a strong presence off which Depp can bounce his funniest moments. The chemistry between Depp and Hammer is essential for the movie to work and it does in spades. They seem to be having a great time telling this story and so the audience does too.

The movie is rated PG-13 for profanity and bloody violence. Even though the movie is from the Disney Studio it still is a hard PG-13.

Depp's performance is the cornerstone of the film while Hammer adds a solid straight man to all the comedic zingers. The supporting cast is more than competent with Fichtner and Helena Bonham Carter, as a local Madam, being the best of that bunch.

The film is a Jerry Bruckheimer production and director Gore Verbinski of "Pirates" fame is back to do the honors again. These are two solid parts of the film's look, action and direction. They succeeded before and they succeed again.

Late in the film the Lone Ranger springs forward on his trusty steed Silver while the William Tell Overture blazes in the background. If that doesn't swell your emotions nothing will. And just wait till you hear him say, "Hi-yo, Silver, away!"

I scored "The Lone Ranger" a masked 7 out of 10.

Jackie K Cooper