Saturday, July 6, 2013

My review of "The Lone Ranger" film

Back in the 1860s, the dream of a trans-continental railroad had finally approached the point of being a realistic possibility, and construction railway endeavors began. The government decided that a trans-continental railway was so important that it couldn't just be left to the private sector, and so it provided finances and subsides. The government-subsidized Union Pacific railway resulted in financial scandal, a slower route (because of money paid out per mile of railroad laid), and breaking land treaties previously established with the Indians, which led to war and bloodshed. After all was said and done, after millions in government subsidies, the Union Pacific faced bankruptcy less than three years after “the golden spike” of completion.

“The Lone Ranger” movie borrows images and situations from this time period, showing both Chinese laborers helping with tunneling and also the railway provoking war with the Indians, and ultimately just slaughtering them unjustly. Those two things did actually happen, but the movie chalks it up to the evils of: whites, greed, and corporatism, rather than than taking a non-racist stance or chalking it up to the actual scandals and violations that the government caused through it's involvement (including nullification of the Indian land treaties). With the free market, your business only continues to run if people are willing to give you money for your services to them; if you are not serving people, your business does not progress. With government subsidies, you can get money without needing to go through all the trouble of actually benefiting anyone, which results in scandal after scandal.

So, that's the main problem with the film – it attributes these historical violations to incorrect causal factors.


I absolutely loved it. Be sure to watch this one on the big screen in order to fully enjoy the cinematography, scenery, action scenes, and various train sequences.

This film gets all 5-stars for the visual effects. It's breathtaking, and yet not overdone, like so many action flicks. Now, if a movie's primary appeal is visuals, it's worth watching once. But this movie is definitely one that I plan on enjoying again and again, because of the following three elements that I really enjoyed:

Witty quotes and exchanges. This movie was full of one-liners, comebacks, and expressive non-verbal communication. It's not at “The Princess Bride” level of quotability, of course, but the clever exchanges make the movie lovable.

Character development and development of relationships. There was an exceptional level of character development in this movie. The long ranger progressed, in a believable way, from being a suited district attorney who does not believe in using guns and believes in all justice happening by the book to being, well, a more usual and familiar version of the lone ranger. Without spoilers, I cannot get into much detail, though, about character development. As for the development of relationships, we also the development of sentiment between Tonto and the Ranger go from antagonistic (Tonto tries to leave the Ranger for dead, rather than revive him) to, at the end, a long term crime-fighting partnership.

Providence. By far, my favorite aspect of the film was it's emphasis on providence. Obviously, it's not a Christian film, and providence is chalked up to spirits rather than to God. But the movie was a beautiful picture of the strength of providence being made clear through the weakness of the main characters. If it were not for providence, these guys wouldn't have survived the first 15 minutes of the film, let alone actually defeating the (truly chilling) villains! At every turn in the movie, the inept main characters were making hair-brained decisions.

The lone ranger himself, in this film, is not only stupid but also completely lacks skill! And so, at every turn, providence shines through to keep them safe and to utilize their efforts to destroy the bad guys. It reminds me of God using Moses, who is bad with words, as His spokesperson. It's the same concept – when God uses someone weak, then it's OBVIOUS that any success that comes is from God, and not from the main character. This movie shows the exact same thing. Similarly, I see the movie, and it reminds me that even though I'm not that smart, and even though I make bad choices and make huge mistakes, God is powerful enough to use those and bring out awesome results – which then I obviously can't take credit for, because I was the person who was unskilled and making mistakes; all the credit goes to God's providence in using it in ingenious ways and bringing it all together for His goals and His glory. That's what I got out of the film.

I would go as far as to say that the plot of this film is primarily about providential victory, and the strength of providence being seen clearly through human weakness.

However, if none of those elements really grab you just go see it on the big screen for the final, lengthy, william-tell-overtured train sequence, which has absolutely everything - two trains, millions of dollars in silver on some runaway carts, the main lady in danger of her life, horse-riding on/through trains, and the final destruction of the bad guys in very creative and cinematic ways. I tell you - half the audience started clapping/tapping their feet in rhythm with the music for this part. It was really something, and it pulled the audience in.

For your enjoyment: