Sunday, July 07, 2013

Silver Upstages Johnny Depp

I love movies with horses or with trains or with Johnny Depp. Because The Lone Ranger offers all three of these delights, I expected to enjoy this rollicking Western action comedy. However, how much I enjoyed it is a big surprise to me! First of all, the horse Silver captivated me every time he came on camera. And those many exciting train sequences really had me on the edge of my seat (cliché, I know – but true here). Then there’s Johnny Depp – bizarrely decked out as a new version of Tonto – whose facial expressions when watching his sidekick do stupid things are nothing short of priceless. Yes, you read that right. The Lone Ranger, played amusingly by Armie Hammer, gets more help from Tonto than vice versa in this comical take on the legendary duo.

W.C. Fields warned actors not to work with animals or children, and The Lone Ranger proves his point. Silver steals this movie. All he has to do is turn his head, look over his shoulder, gallop on top of a train with the speed of light and we can’t take our eyes off him. Who plays this marvelous creature? An 11-year-old quarter horse named … wait for it … SILVER!!! According to veteran horse trainer Bobby Lovgren , Silver is “a quiet, patient horse with a lot of personality.” Lovgren, who worked with Silver and three other horses helping to play the role, says that director Gore Verbinski  knew how to showcase Silver’s personality. I think Verbinski did this so well that both Depp and Hammer must know they’ve been upstaged by a remarkable white horse.

Verbinski also deserves kudos for the film’s thrilling set pieces involving trains. My favorite? Two rushing locomotives with people running and fighting on top of them. And congratulations to cinematographer Bojan Bazelli for the awesome Western vistas showcased in many scenes plus the lovely opening and closing shots of a Ferris wheel at night. I would be remiss not to mention Hans Zimmer’s stirring background music, for it added considerably to my enjoyment as did the clever screenplay by Justin Haythe and those two Pirates of the Caribbean scribes, Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio.

Actors Depp and Hammer project a humorous chemistry with each other as Tonto and Jack Reid/Lone Ranger. Their characters here are a far cry from the ones played by Jay Silverheels and Clayton Moore. But Tonto and Reid are both still out after a bad guy (played with gusto by William Fichtner), and they want justice to prevail in the Old West. I found it great fun retuning to the days of yesteryear -- when out of the past comes a fiery horse, a cloud of dust and a hearty “Hi, Yo, Silver, away!”

(Released by Walt Disney Studios and rated “PG-13” by MPAA.)

Review also posted at

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  • Betty Jo Tucker

    Your review of The Hot Flashes was deeply appreciated.

    We blogged about you and your lovely poem here:

    Warmest regards, (we love) The Hot Flashes (fan site)

    By Blogger (we love) The Hot Flashes, At 4:35 PM  

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