Monday, July 8, 2013

The New Lone Ranger

Review by James Colt Harrison

After a break of about 32 years, The Lone Ranger returns to the screen in a bang-up re-imagining from Walt Disney Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer Films. So, now we have a new lawman on the range, and a handsome one at that. His name is Armie Hammer, and you may be familiar with him from the Oscar®-nominated film The Social Network.  In that film he played two parts—those of the Winklevoss Twins.

Armie Hammer is relatively new to the world of Hollywood. Although he was born in Los Angeles August 28, 1986, he lived for awhile in the Cayman Islands until he was 12. His father, Michael Armand Hammer, was sort of an entrepreneur and business man involved in publishing and film production. His mom was the former Dru Ann Mobley of Tulsa. Little Armie got a snooty education at the Grace Christian Academy in the Cayman Islands and later attended the well-heeled Los Angeles Baptist High School in San Fernando Valley. His polish shows like well-shined shoes.

Yes, he is related to the famous oil tycoon Armand Hammer by being his great grand son. No telling if any of that oil sluiced it’s way into Armie’s bank account. Armie had a mind of his own and the oil business was not for him. He stupefied his parents when he told them he wanted to be an actor. Horrors!

As it is with most young actors, Armie started getting parts on television series such as Arrested Development (2005),Veronica Mars (2006),Desperate Housewives (2007), and four or five episodes each on Reaper (2009) and Gossip Girl (2009).

Also at this time, he began being cast in small films such as Flicka (2006), Blackout (2008) and the Billy Graham bio Billy: The Early Years (2008).

All of a sudden he broke out with a sensational part in the major film The Social Network. The film was a major hit and won nearly every award from critics. The film received eight Academy Award® nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Jesse Eisenberg, and Best Director for David Fincher. Armie was swept up in the accolades and gained world-wide notoriety in 2010.

Clint Eastwood immediately cast Armie in the Leonardo Di Caprio “A” picture, J. Edgar  in 2011. In the story of FBI Chief Hoover, Armie played Clyde Tolson, Hoover’s special friend and companion for more than 30 years. It was a big break for Armie because he was essentially the co-star to mega-star DiCaprio. In 2012 he played in Mirror, Mirror with Julia Roberts.

After acting in only a handful of major films, Armie was cast in the blockbuster The Lone Ranger with world-favorite Johnny Depp. This is a major coup for Hammer.

As such, Armie plays John Reid, a Texas Ranger and a lawyer. He becomes a masked vigilante when he searches for the killers of his brother (James Badge Dale). He is encouraged to wear a mask and to never take it off by Indian Tonto, (Johnny Depp) who becomes his mentor and sidekick in all the adventures.

The boys were meant for each other and manage to nearly destroy the West with their daring train fights with the bad guys (William Fitchner as Butch, the most evil and disgusting one in a terrific role). Along the way they encounter Tom Wilkinson as a shady railroad tycoon, Barry Pepper as a military officer, Helena Bonham Carter, a gun-totin’ madam, and Harry Treadaway as a member of Butch’s gang.

There is no scarcity of unbelievable stunts, action, and thrills. The music, by Hans Zimmer, is terrific. We are happy to note that the old Lone Ranger theme is reprised at a significant and exciting moment during the climactic action.

The magnificent scenery in Moab, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona and California is gorgeously captured by cinematographer Bojan Bazelli. It’s a pleasure to see our spectacular scenery of the American West so delicately handled by artistic hands such as those of Mr. Bazelli.

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