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"The Lone Ranger": Buster Keaton Was Missed 

Thursday, Jul 4 2013

The Lone Ranger Yes, Johnny Depp plays an American Indian in Gore Verbinski's The Lone Ranger. So did Dustin Hoffman in Little Big Man, a film whose structure this movie appropriates, with an elderly Tonto (Depp) unreliably narrating the tale of how hunky nerd John Reid (Armie Hammer) becomes the title character. But it's Depp's show, and his mugging performance sets the tone for a picture which frequently panders to the cynicism of modern audiences. It's suggestive of the film's tone, which uncomfortably mixes kid-friendly slapstick with a high but bloodlessly PG-13 body count. The Lone Ranger only really comes alive in a climactic train chase set to "The William Tell Overture," but the music's rousing energy is offset by the heavy CGI. Part of the fun of westerns has always been seeing real people doing real stunts, especially around real trains, but pixels are boring, and there's not much train action in The Lone Ranger that Buster Keaton didn't do for real in The General in 1926.

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Sherilyn Connelly


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