Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Sunday, December 29, 2013

THE LONE RANGER--Why the Animus?

Last summer's The Lone Ranger is on some "Worst Films of the Year" lists. Here's what a critic said on Yahoo!Movies:

You call this "The Lone Ranger"?! More like The Lame Ranger! (Zing!) Johnny Depp and director Gore Verbinski tried fruitlessly to recreate the thrill-ride magic they had on the first "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie set in the classic Western backdrop. Furthermore, Captain Jack Sparrow as the beloved Tonto not only didn't work, but it was in questionable taste. Even the energetic classic "Lone Ranger" theme music (otherwise known as Rossini's "William Tell Overture") wasn't exciting enough to get this train to leave the station. —Breanne L. Heldman

When the film came out, I remember reading comparisons with Heaven's Gate (1980) and  Ishtar (1987), both of which bombed at the box office (and with critics). Both of which ... I ... liked. Just as I liked The Lone Ranger--in fact, I wrote a couple of long posts here about it (Post 1Post 2).

I have a theory that I'm too lazy to explore: Many critics of today are too young to remember the original radio and TV show--and so they had no emotional history with the series.

As my earlier posts indicated, I'd listened to and watched The Lone Ranger--a lot--when I was a lad. So when I went to see that film last summer, I was ready to be emotionally affected by it (notice I didn't say impacted--I hate that locution!). And so I was.

Director Gore Verbinski waited till near the very end to employ the "Overture" from William Tell, the theme music from the original show, and, as I said in those posts, when that music soared, and as the Lone Ranger rode Silver to the rescue, well, I wept. I had suddenly become that little Oklahoma boy again, lying in front of the radio or the old black-and-white TV (the one that required you to get off your ass to adjust the set itself if you wanted to change channels or IMPACT the volume), my heart racing along with the Ranger as he righted wrongs, shared ideas with Tonto, arrived in the nick of time, rode away from town with the gratitude of the people who'd doubted him following him like another Tonto.

And the opening credits? The Ranger riding to the top of the hill? With that enormous rock beside him? The music soaring? Silver rearing? I know I know ... it sounds tacky and dated now. But then--oh, that magical then, the then of boyhood--it was Adventure and Righteousness themselves on that horse. And I so desperately wanted to ride along. I would very happily have been Tonto2.

And so I thank Gore Verbinski for bringing him back--and boo to those puppy critics who either have no years--or have no hearts--to appreciate what he did.

Opening Credits--THE LONE RANGER TV show

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