A review of The Lone Ranger

Full disclosure: I was a huge fan of The Lone Ranger when I was a kid. Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels could do no wrong, in my eyes. Now, fast-forward forty years.

As a writer, I know it’s strictly forbidden to speak poorly of your critics. But then it occurred to me that these aren’t critics of my novels, so I should feel free to speak my mind.

So I must ask professional critics who gleefully savaged Disney’s The Lone Ranger: did we watch the same movie?

The Lone Ranger has been described as a “clunky two hour grind“, a “runaway train“, an “unholy mess with slapstick antics“, something that “not even Johnny Depp can rescue.”

Only the guy at Forbes got it mostly right: The Lone Ranger is a “fun summer ride.”

His only mistake was to say Pirates of the Caribbean was a better film.

Let’s face it: Pirates was a lot of fun but in reality the first movie had no plot. The entire movie was literally based on a two-minute ride in an amusement park.

Johnny Depp plays Tonto.

Johnny Depp plays Tonto.

I never bothered watching any of the sequels. Johnny Depp wasn’t just the best thing going in that quartet of movies; he was all Pirates had. And yet, that was more than enough to sell tickets.

By comparison, The Lone Ranger actually tells a story.

No, it wasn’t perfect. The scene with the rabbits was bizarre and disturbing, and the little kid dressed as the Lone Ranger could have been edited out with no harm to the main story.

No, it was nowhere near as brilliantly conceived as Memento, not flawless executed like LA Confidential, or as quite as funny as The Princess Bride.

But it didn’t have to be. The movie only had to be entertaining, and it was. Very entertaining.

And after all these years, I finally know that “Kemosabe” means “wrong brother.”

My wife’s first words after the final curtain dropped were “that was excellent” and “I definitely want to see it again.”

This same woman said of Pirates that considering the money it grossed, she expected it to be better.

So these aren’t merely the jaded words of a lifelong fan, but the opinion of a woman who’s hard to please when it comes to movies.


  1. I wanted to have a good time with this one, I really did, but it just never came together for me. Good review John.

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