The Legend of the Lone Ranger Reviews
(1981) The Legend Of The Lone Ranger
It's exactly what the title says, which this movie shows only the 'legend' of this fictionalize character they would call an entertaining movie. That the Lone Ranger doesn't even put on the mask until after an entire hour, after a single person slaughtered his family as well as many others, including Tonto's. Viewers never understood the reasoning why this main bad guy wearing black, by the name of Maj. Bartholomew 'Butch' Cavendish (Christopher Lloyd) went on a slaughter spree, and still be able to get away with it. And that it wasn't until it took many years after which is way into the movie viewers finally get to learn that it was all a part of his master plan for a railway to be built there, so that he can plan to kidnap the current President of the United States by the name of President Grant(Jason Robards). When I was watching it, there were times that it almost felt like the MPAA was part of the film making process since Cavendish was allowed to kill many people, but by the time civilian, John Reid (Klinton Spilsbury) finally put on that mask on to become the Lone Ranger, he hardly does jack except shoot a few guns out of peoples hands. Do viewers really think that was worth seeing for if anyone were to watch a lot of Westerns would require much more practice than to fire at some arrows. Tonto just goes, here are some silver bullets- you will be able to shoot better with these. And I'm like 'Are you kidding me?'. We don't even get to see how these bullets are even made in the first place, nor know how Tonto even got these bullets. And when President Grant was finally kidnapped while riding on a train, this happened with only two people on board, and that is with Wild Bill Hickok and Buffalo Bill.
And the final payoff wasn't even that great either, which has President Grant, The Lone Ranger and Tonto all planting and then manage to trigger all the dynamite several different places they had lighted with a match all at the same time. How is this even possible, for this movie also defies science. Even Buffalo Bill and Wild Bill Hickock with the small air time that they had had killed more people than the Lone Ranger. The only thing I can give credit to is that one particular stunt that occurred sometime during the beginning with stunt man Terry Leonard performing the same stunt as John Ford's 1939 movie "Stagecoach" regarding sliding underneath a stagecoach, which was done again underneath a truck in Steven Spielberg's 1981 film 'Raiders Of The Lost Ark'.
1 star out of 4
"The Legend of the Lone Ranger" is based on the story of The Lone Ranger, a Western character created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker. Its producers outraged fans by not allowing actor Clayton Moore (who played The Lone Ranger during the 50s) to wear the character's mask when making public appearances, and created a further bad buzz when the dialogue of leading man Klinton Spilsbury was dubbed by actor James Keach. Considerable controversy surrounded Spilsbury at the time of the film's release, in part because of the studio's treatment of Moore, but also due to Spilsbury's on-set antics, which included fighting with crew members and being uncooperative and combative during the production. It was the only film Spilsbury would make. The film was a huge commercial failure and released to massive negative publicity fueled by the above controversy in 1981, and did poorly, grossing a mere $12 million against its $18 million budget, and received generally mediocre reviews. "The Legend of the Lone Ranger" is however not that bad as it obviously was received in 1981. Yes, itīs campy and partly cartoony, but I grew up with The Lone Ranger and in several ways itīs close to the cartoon if you ask me. Itīs a mix of a bit of a humorous western tale with quite violent action scenes. The acting is pretty ok (even if Spilsbury is hardly a top notch actor) and the general vibe as well. So, I donīt really agree to the trashing it got back in 1981.
Klinton Spilsbury (in his only acting credit and whose voice was dubbed by James Keach) is fine as our masked hero without being exceptional, though Junanin Clay is a rather boring love interest and Christopher Lloyd grabs all of the attention as the villain of the piece.
Merle Haggard's musical narration might not be appreciated by all (it was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award), but there's no denying the impact of THAT theme song.
The franchise for this film launched too early because along with an $18 Million budget action figures were created to promote the franchise and film, but this was before anybody even realised that the film was only going to make $12.6 Million and that the film was crap.
But why is it crap? Well, fairly on into The Legend of the Lone Ranger it becomes quickly obvious that there are terrible technical issues.
Firstly, the visual quality of the film is rough and is made worse by monochromatic lighting which is no benefit to the poor visual quality, and there is a rough audio quality to accompany it.
What goes with the poor qualities is a terrible musical score which isn't western or epic or even or the slightest bit valid for the atmosphere since it lacks any creativity and is overly repetitive and in a single word, is tedious.
The technical shortcomings even damage the shootouts sequences, which by their own right had the most potential of the film and were the primary reason I would want to watch The Legend of the Lone Ranger, but even William A. Fraker, a gifted cameraman couldn't handle it against the backdrop of a clueless crew trying to slap together a western that's even worse than Heaven's Gate, a derided (but eventually acclaimed) western disaster that changed the face of the film industry forever.
Even a franchise-intended western can't evade the credibility-killing slow motion used within the film and other disasters such as Battlefield Earth, and unfortunately it puts more focus into unattractive faces made by Klinton Spilsbury.
But what damages the film is that due to lack of cooperation on the film, Klinton Splisbury's performance is mercilessly damaged before anyone can comprehend how poor it is is the dubbing. The dubbing by voice actor James Keach sounds as if he was on the other side of the room when speaking into a microphone and the dubbing turns out as bad as it did in Roberto Benigni's 2002 Pinocchio, although this time it's only affecting one actor, and that actor is a mystery in culture due to his disappearance and strange behaviour: Klinton Spilsbury.
Klinton Spilsbury, who bares a vague resemblance between Sylvester Stallone as Rambo as well as Christopher Reeve coincidentally, is barely existent in The Legend of the Lone Ranger. Based on what little is known about him including his relationship with a rich old woman and sexuality confusion, as well as disruptive on-set antics, it's safe to assume the man playing the titular Lone Ranger was insane. He has since disappeared and never acted again, but his legacy for causing distress amongst Lone Ranger fans and winning Golden Raspberry awards for Worst Actor and Worst New Star is solidified with part if the mystery around him. But he's not a man with thinking much of because if he disrupted a film so much and was so unwilling to participate that his bad performance became even worse, then keeping him unknown is the best possible thing. I'm deviating a bit far, but since combined with the poor dubbing is physical acting so poor it barely fits into the situation, comprehending his shortcomings as an actor is no challenge, and looking at the cheap plot is difficult beyond looking at his lack of talent.
And I don't know if the makeup crew had an abortion along with the audio crew and lighting team, but the fact that an actual Native American portraying Tonto, Michael Horse more strongly resembles Martin Sheen than a Native American is disgracefully unjust.
Lastly, The Legend of the Lone Ranger is so busy being focused on following the untalented Klinton Spilsbury that it ignores the actual talent in the film, Christopher Lloyd, and wastes his talents on a below-mediocre western where he isn't given a role pivotal to the story or sufficient for a man of his talents.
What few things you can find on the plus side in The Legend of the Lone Ranger is that the actual cinematography is good at times though, and combined with the set The Legend of the Lone Ranger succeeds at stirring up a certain amount of nostalgia to classic John Ford westerns, mainly at the sight of seeing horses run through a wide valley. And yeah, that's it.
William A. Fraker hasn't lost any talent at good camerawork in The Legend of the Lone Ranger, but nobody else in the crew has any or isn't getting theirs wasted on a film that wastes our time more than theirs, and that's saying a lot based on Klinton Spilsbury's stupid on set antics which make him a Golden Raspberry legend.
Also, the song "the man in the mask" killed it for me, and will leave lasting nightmares
Synopsis: Discover how the Lone Ranger rose to mythical status in the Wild West in this thrilling adventure. His thirst for justice may have begun as early as his adolescent years, when his parents were murdered.
The Legend of The Lone Ranger was major box-office failure, and for good reason, it's not particularly good, though depending on your experience it could be either ho-hum, or a incompetent piece of cinema. I personally found enough noteworthy material to keep the film at least half-heartedly interesting. John Barry's score is rather pleasant (though he should have written an original Lone Ranger theme, rather than use the traditional William Tell overture, as it sticks out like a sore thumb, and just doesn't belong in the film) and there are some solid logistics in most of the action sequences, as well as some interesting work by some of the actors.
But most, if not all, of these positives are hampered by negatives that detract from the experience. The film as a whole is not filmed very well, and in one action scene you can even see the catapult used to flip an actor in the air after an explosion, but thats a rather insignificant flaw compared to the dull and unremarkable images captured in a beautiful land with plenty of memorable vistas. The acting by Spilsburg and his character's love interest are well below average, making it hard to even believe this tale let alone fall in love with it. Though the picture's biggest weight is it's poor dialogue, it's amateurish, grating, and displays it's only intent of rebooting a potentially profitable franchise, all too blatantly.
Though it's not all bad, even though it has a lot of incompetent talent in it's credits, The Legend of The Lone Ranger is still a wooden experience that's hard to recommend, especially when it was done way better by Spielberg with Raiders of The Lost Ark released the very same year.