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This is just a good movie, I'd even say it's a great B-movie.
First off, what really sells me on this movie is the following factors.
1. The Music, I really love the music, just touches me, the power and the mystery of the American west, the natural wonders that is America. Just powerful and touching music.
2. Two Boys Meet, I really like the meeting of the two boys, maybe it was glossed over a bit, still the boys part was one of myth building that this movie does really well.
3. The Older Brother, he just out acts the guy portraying his younger brother, but he does it in such a natural way. This is how a normal guy would do or say, to protect his family, his loved ones.
4. The natural beauty of the American wild west.
5. Christopher Lloyd, I just purely love this classic character actor's work. Even when he's young, he just out acts, out performs as a pure evil, methodical, military style villain. He is outstanding as Butch Cavendish.
6. The Death of the Rangers, feels so real, so powerful, so dusty.
7. The power and truth of the white horse, as a spirit for truth and justice. The silver bullets and the white horse, mediums for delivering truth and justice! Hi Ho Silver, and away! 8. Jason Robards, He looks awesome, as the manly President Ulysses S. Grant, he exudes presidential material.
Even with the real bad moments of acting, plot writing.
There is still so much to treasure, to value.
And let's be honest, Hollywood really sucks at doing remakes, just look at how they poorly remade The Green Hornet.
FYI, are you aware that "The Lone Ranger" (John Reid) is a distant uncle to "The Green Hornet" (Britt Reid)? Even in the The Green Hornet TV Show in the 1960's in Britt Reid's office is a photo of a masked man, "The Lone Ranger".
To me this is a classic of both western myths, but of truth and justice.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The movie was enjoyable. I am biased, though. I grew up idolizing the Lone Ranger. I can never understand the decision to cast Klinton Spilsbury in the title role. This would not be too hard to understand if we follow the theory that a TV pilot was the original idea. But this theory falls apart when I consider that, for some reason, Spilsbury's voice wasn't deemed good enough, so it had to be dubbed. This causes the unintentionally comical situation of a Hollywood movie looking like a foreign-made spaghetti western because the dialog and the actor's lips are not always in sync. The narrator and the songs are irritating. Despite all this, I liked the movie. It started out with the elements of an epic picture about the story of a legendary hero, a film that should have been 3 hours long. Then, after the set-up of how he came to be the Lone Ranger, the film rushes into what seems like a TV episode. A small amount of screen time elapse from the kidnapping of the President to his rescue, which was reminiscent of a Gunsmoke or Bonanza episode, where the story had to unfold in between commercial breaks, all within 1 hour air time. A lot of people got very lazy in the making of this movie. Still, to me, it's as if it were a 98-minute episode of the Lone Ranger. Heigh-ho, Silver! Away!
I just finished watching "Legend of the Lone Ranger" again, and, as always,
I come away scratching my head. Why isn't this a better movie? What went
On the plus side: John Barry does his usual bravura job with the score. Michael Horse's Tonto is as smart as Jay Silverheels, but more vocal, which is a nice change. Jason Robards is obviously having a ball playing Ulysses S. Grant, and every time he's onscreen, the energy quotient goes up.
On the minus side: Merle Haggard's narration -- what were they thinking? With the exception of Horse and Robards, everyone else acts like they were drugged before walking in front of the camera. Christopher Lloyd in particular tries to make his Butch Cavendish menacing, but he doesn't have much to work with. And Klinton Spilsbury...
It had to take a lot of guts to put on that black mask. No other character is so thoroughly identified with a single actor: there are people who will debate that Sean Connery wasn't the best Bond, or that there were Tarzans other than Johnny Weismuller, but to the world at large, Clayton Moore IS the Lone Ranger. It's easy to beat up on Spilsbury just because he's not Moore, which isn't fair, but it goes beyond that. In order for a movie like this to work, you have to believe that your star is the Lone Ranger, and I kept getting the impression Spilsbury didn't buy it himself. The producers obviously had their doubts, too, which accounts for why they redubbed all of Spilsbury's lines.
What it boils down to is, "Legend of the Lone Ranger" isn't the total catastrophe some claim, but it still isn't very good. It has a certain irresistable attraction to the diehard Lone Ranger fan, like gawking at a massive car wreck -- it'll kill a couple of hours, but it doesn't stick with you when it's all done.
I remember seeing the original Lone Ranger TV series and the two films
from the 50s with Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels. Then there was
talk of bringing or revitalizing the old hero of the west, followed by
a lot of controversy of who would play the masked man, and what kind of
movie would be made.
Well, after a lot of arguing in public and other hollow grousing, the powers that be made this flick, and, well, it got mixed reactions from what I recall. I finally saw the thing one night on HBO and shrugged at it. The lead actor didn't have a whole lot to do in the movie, barely spoke a handful of lines from what I recall, and had a lot of slow motions shots. Hired more for his physical prowess than acting ability, all one can say is Klinton Spilsbury is not Clayton Moore.
I won't go on a big diatribe of how perfect Clayton Moore was for the TV series role. We already know that. But one wonders why this particular film was made at all if all that was to be done was to give Klinton a bunch of beauty shots and slow sequences? What were the producers thinking?
Usually behind big budget features there's some kind of psychological thing at work, but I'll be darned if I could find any depth or meaning in this film. It just is, or was. Like my review of one of the Pierce Brosnan Bond films, it's not a bad film for what it is, but it's no Lone Ranger piece.
Stick with the original TV series and the two films that Clayton Moore did. You'll be happier.
I had always been a fan of "The Lone Ranger" since I was a little boy...Clayton Moore and John Hart were so good in their episodes riding into our living rooms with each episode making our day so exciting and teaching us a lesson with each airing... Somehow I missed seeing this movie in the theaters when it first came out but I was determined to see it someday, somehow...Then in 2013, Disney's "The Lone Ranger" came out and mostly to negative reviews however I took my wife and we both loved it as it appeared did most of the people in the audience. Good clean fun, and very exciting, carefully balancing it's comic sequences with phenomenally choreographed action sets...cannot understand how this movie was so universally panned...it deserved better. It also whet my appetite again to see this 1980's version. I was able to purchase a copy off Amazon and couldn't wait to see it. Never in my life had I been so disappointed. Spilsbury, rightfully gave up acting after his lone wooden depiction of one of my all time heroes. In fact I found out that his lines were dubbed over by Stacey Keach's younger brother as he was SO bad. Particularly annoying was Merle Haggard's narration of the story, in poetic verse nonetheless, with forced rhymes that were unintentionally laughable...They also messed with the legend having Tonto meet the Lone Ranger years before when they were both children and a young John Reid who would grow up to be the LR saved Tonto's life!...The final scenes were OK, but it was too little too late to save this movie. It did help to see John Hart come back to make a brief appearance as a newspaper publisher but overall I cannot come up with anything good to say about this movie other than it was relatively short coming in at just over an hour and a half.
Goodness Gracious! After all of its huge build-up, and its $18 million
dollar budget, this pathetically mediocre Western (from 1981) has got
to be one of the biggest disappointments of all time.
This film is an utter disgrace to the wonderful legend of the Lone Ranger (one of my personal favorite cowboy heroes).
Yeah. OK. I will admit that The Legend Of The Lone Ranger does feature some fine action, great scenery, and a promising storyline - But, unfortunately, this is all thoroughly sabotaged by noticeably awkward direction and an non-charismatic, no-talent, lead actor named Klinton Spilsbury (where the heck did they find this loser?) who actually had his voiced dubbed by actor James Keach.
This movie contains the worst acting performance of all time. Spilsbury
lacks energy to say the least. Energy is what Clayton Moore gave us in
spades. I never felt once in this movie that Spilsbury was anxious for
anything. Revenge, love, justice? Not in this guy's portrayal.
There is also no chemistry between Tonto and LR. If the plot did not force them to be friends, you don't get the impression they want to hang out with each other. Plus, the sidekick has the more interesting personality. Ewww.
The dialogue is predictable and boring.
The narration is stunningly bad and if you are familiar with the Dukes of Hazzard you can picture what this is like. I cannot believe the director would agree to this. It insulted me as a viewer by explaining every plot line I just witnessed.
Hey, at least the horses and locations looked good, maybe that is what happens when you hire a cinematographer to be your director.
RATING-2 You may be able to watch this one for laughs or to demonstrate to an alien what a bad movie is.
I saw this in a theatre when it came out. It is too bad to be believed.
Not 'fun' bad like "Plan Nine From Outer Space". This is 'just plain
It began to lose some of the audience the first time Klayton opened his mouth to [not] speak. I know I rolled my eyes. In fact none of the acting was anything to speak of. I'm sure the narration took it's toll, as has been said, but it's been 22 years.
I recall at times when they rode, the music got louder [or perhaps more annoying] and the action slowed a bit for a 'dramatic' effect. Tonto would lean forward and arch his back and for a while the picture would seem like an old west painting. Probably meant to be artistic, but it failed.
The scene where our [ahem] hero meets Silver was strange. A little too much attention paid to the horse's muscles and, yes, it was definately a stallion.
This was a film people walked out on. In the end I only stayed because, at one point, I had to see if it would get any worse. It didn't. It couldn't.
I liked this movie - the critics went nuts on it before its release because of the treatment that 50s TV Lone Ranger actor Clayton Moore received at the time. Clayton should've thanked them - he became a household name again and was featured on countless TV shows because of the legal actions of the films producers barring him from wearing the mask. The film is really quite good - what makes it a little lame is the music - not the score, the score is great - the campy, old fashioned songs sung by Merle Haggard - don't get me wrong Merl is great - but this 80s western came off like a B western with songs similar to "Branded" over the top of otherwise great color vistas and action - making them seem lame. The lead actor's voice was dubbed - apparently his own voice wasn't macho enough. Jason Robards, John Hart (another Lone Ranger actor from the 50s), Christopher Loyd, Richard Farnsworth, Jaunine Clay and others make some great scenes come to life. Great locations and scenery. Tonto is a much stronger character - but they did that without dumbing down the Lone Ranger as they did in the latest movie which in comparison is a complete failure. Watch the movie -keep in mind when it came out - ignore the stupid music with singing - you'll just might say, - "you know what, that wasn't too bad."
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As the Johnny Depp/Gore Verbinski iteration moves towards the cinema
screen, this 1981 version - now over 30 years old - merits revisiting.
Savaged at the time, how does it stand up now? To be frank, the reasons
why it was savaged are all still there. The Lone Ranger's origin story
is a good one, but it is helped immeasurably by having an actor of
charisma in the role. With the best will in the world, the unfortunate
Klinton Spilsbury demonstrates, in a career-destroying performance
(this was his only film), that not he is a charisma-free zone, he is
also an acting-free zone. Michael Horse, as Tonto, is a better actor,
but doesn't command the screen any better.
We need our heroes larger than life, not smaller.
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