In the 1930s, an elderly Tonto tells a young boy the tale of John Reid, the Lone Ranger. An idealistic lawyer, he rides with his brother and fellow Texas Rangers in pursuit of the notorious Butch Cavendish.
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Pitched somewhere between the spectacle of The General and the cynicism of Once Upon a Time in the West, Verbinski & Co. wrestle with complex themes, from genocide & corruption, to betrayal & unrequited love. Placing their escapism within a context of American history, here brought to life for a child who knows only of "heroes" when the reality is something far more cruel, the results are both thrilling & affecting.
As a lifelong lover of Westerns, and with a long-time distaste for Depp, I avoided this poorly reviewed film like the plague. Lo and behold, do not judge a book by its critics. The costumes and sets were absolutely spectacular, the visuals were beautiful, and the action sequences were quite riveting. The performances are run of the mill, but it works. Great fun all around, its reputation ruined by stuffy snobbery.
There are always winners & losers in history. This is a supreme lamentation for the losers and an indictment of the winners, whose motives are always suspect. Lurking behind progress are the worst parts of human nature rather than the best. In implicating the white spectator and not wavering from his decolonial agenda, Verbinski has made a truly subversive Disney blockbuster. Surely, a miracle.
Underrated film that never found its audience (with genocide, scalping, cannibalism and prostitution in abundance, it wasn't the kiddies). In equal measures an acid, spaghetti and classical Hollywood western; one reverent of its influences. Strong non-white male characters, in Disney! While on the nose, a small child learning a romanticized hero story's dark side is an appropriately revisionist framing device.
A commercial and critical dud, owing to the fact that it flips Disney's winning formula of making kids' films for adults. This is an adults' film for kids: too violent on one hand for its supposed core audience and yet too formulaic -and not bad enough- for grown-ups to enjoy. Its slavish copying of the style, themes and score of Leone's "Once Upon A Time In The West" can't disguise its bloatedness and awkwardness.