Anthony Armentano, Global Animal
Saddle up boys and girls, The Lone Ranger is coming to town. The PG-13 Western surges with Disney charm, and comes complete with a veteran cast and crew that prove once again they know how to make entertainment.
Helmed by director Gore Verbinski, the man behind The Ring and The Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy, The Lone Ranger promises odd, yet lighthearted fun.
The movie isn’t perfect, and the storyline may be a Western cliché, but the film has a number of things going for it. The chemistry between Armie Hammer, John Reid/The Lone Ranger and Johnny Depp, Tonto, is something to admire.
The dopey protagonist and his seemingly wise sidekick work together to pump life into the movie, even though Depp steals the show more often than not.
Barry Pepper, Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Wilkinson and William Fichtner, round out a cast made of truly talented individuals.
However, the cast member that outshines all the others is undoubtedly the Lone Ranger’s legendary horse companion, Silver. In the history of cinema there is no horse as prominent as Silver, and the film’s production department needed to find a horse willing to fill the character’s impressive horseshoes.
Horse trainer Bobby Lovgren, commended for his work on Steven Spielberg’s War Horse, couldn’t have found a better prepared equine to fit the bill. Astonishingly, the role of Silver actually went to a horse named Silver. Ecstatic to work with Silver again, Lovgren said, “It was nice going in with a horse that I knew and could rely on.”
Despite what you may hear, Silver is the hero of the movie, saving Tonto and The Ranger from certain death throughout the film. The Lone Ranger simply couldn’t exist without his faithful steed, and the dependency of their relationship is an inspiring one. At one point, Tonto claims Silver to be The Ranger’s spirit animal, highlighting the harmonious and mutually beneficial relationship between animal and man.
Not only was Silver a star of the film, but he was also a star on the red carpet. We were lucky enough to visit him at The Lone Ranger premiere at Disneyland. Silver experienced his moment under the spotlight comfortably, with ample amounts of shade, food, and attention.
Surprisingly, for a Western film, brimming with horses, The Lone Ranger seems to take responsibility and show great care for the animals involved. In the first main shootout of the film, no horses actually die, and only one horse goes down. Most of the action requires stunt men getting “shot” and falling off their horses, but only a single horse is asked to fall, and then promptly stand back up a few moments later.
CGI is additionally used throughout the movie to keep animals out of harm’s way. The rabbits and buffalo in the film are completely animated, as is Silver at times when impossible stunts are required.
No doubt, there are a few questionable moments. Some time into the movie, a horse “dies” of natural causes. Tonto kicks the animal to see if it is alive, then says, “Horse Dead.” The scene is intended to be a play for humor, but falls a little flat. What’s more, the character of Red Harrington, played by Helena Bonham Carter, has an ivory leg. It’s no doubt a prop leg, and in the film certain undesirable characters admire it, but it just goes to show the Old West was a less civilized time.
However, the majority of the film spends its time celebrating animals. The Lone Ranger even goes to great lengths to risk his life for a kitten, and Tonto spends most of his time talking about man’s connection to nature. While the dead bird Tonto carries on his head is obviously a creation of the physical effects department, Tonto cares for the deceased bird throughout the movie, looking after him until his spirit returns.
Approved by the American Humane Association, The Lone Ranger is full of light fun, and the movie really benefits by employing a horse trainer who holds a well-documented love and esteem for animals.
We give the film three paws out of five.
You can catch The Lone Ranger in theaters today, July 3rd.
Watch the trailer below:
Check Out These Pictures From The Lone Ranger Premiere: