NOW SCREENING: The Lone Ranger

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EXCLUSIVE – iTunes Australia released the score on June 28 unannounced, with the rest of the world following from July 2nd starting with the USA, and New Zealand in line with the movie’s opening. Subscribe now for exclusive tidbits! The CD edition was released through Intrada Records on July 23rd.

With the highly divisive movie and score release of Man of Steel recently, this new project is a return to familiar territory thanks to producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski.

Featuring sounds reminiscent of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and Rango not surprisingly, The Lone Ranger should provide and satisfy summer adventure expectations with the return of Johnny Depp for the 5th time in an action comedy adventure.

Straight away, one can appreciate the higher frequency harmonics employed compared to Man of Steel or Rango for that manner.

The album contains 11 tracks with a duration of around 49 minutes, and features the obligatory Will Tell overture in the Finale track, which it has to be said sounds like a fish out of water compared to the rest of the score. Of the 11 tracks, Red’s Theater of the Absurd is a source cue used in a diegetic manner in what would assume to be a saloon scene.
The album opens with Never Take Off the Mask, featuring a solo violin briefly reminding one of the opening of The Dark Knight, but long before the mournful playing sets in, an electronic drum shudder punctuates the proceedings to indicate the Comanche ethnicity portrayed by Tonto, segueing smoothly by way of a flute into Absurdity which is flush with familiar instrumentation previously used in many Zimmer scores, most recently that of Sherlock Holmes; the use of the banjo and mandolin evoking the style of the unreleased Bird on a Wire, and progressions of Gladiator.
Silver starts afresh with the violin again, accented by timpani and flute, and sharp organ strikes but led by the violin throughout albeit on a higher note compared to the album opening. The track proceeds to add orchestral rhythm rising to a crescendo setting the mood for the rest of the album.
Ride enters literally opening up the sound palette with brass possibly played by Arturo Sandoval, steel guitar, drums, and then settles into what will become the ballad of The Lone Ranger, employing oboe, piano and cello. An orchestral respite sets in and allows the mood of the story to dig in, flowing onto contemplative meanderings.
You’ve Looked Better is the first ominous track that appears which is standard obligatory movie fare of this nature where villains get their fair dressage, and showcasing the other side of the musical spectrum at play, with broad brass and string flourishes. This is then moulded with what seems a dilemma of conscience indicated by a reflective choral voice.
The album and movie acts are split with the Theatre track by Pokey Lafarge.
The Railroad Waits for No One resumes the proceedings with a frenetic and bombastic interplay of orchestra, choral voices and interspersing of accordion.
You’re Just a Man in a Mask brings back the villain element, in what seems to be a showdown and loss, sacrifice or self-doubt.
For God and for Country brings back the pace, and then introduces a male voice followed by male choir in a tempo not unlike a fast moving train. The choir then changes gears and reminds one of The Peacemaker and The Da Vinci Code. It then slows down again to go to solo female choir and orchestral denouement.
Finale sets in as a bookend, and is complemented with an underlaying Zimmer drum chant while remaining faithful to the over familiar tune. It will interesting to see if this scores a montage in the movie, or a very long comic scene. Thankfully, a few tempo changes allow variation in the homage to the classic theme for The Lone Ranger, and a new charge is employed after 3 minutes of straight out performance, mixing it up more with the action motifs appearing earlier, taking on a more serious tone. Trombones make their entry, while trumpets dominate, and horns whirl. The 3rd act of the track brings back the solemn elements of the lonesome personality character while the train tempo blends with the overture, and then changes gear yet again for the inevitable finish complete with wind instruments, in what may be Zimmer’s first full traditional orchestra arrangement.
Geoff Zanelli has just posted that this arrangement is his contribution to the score.
Home is the standout track in what can be a suite of The Lone Ranger ballad, and very reminiscent of David Benoit’s remarkable score to the midwestern drama The Stars Fell on Henrietta. The mood and instrumentation are evocative of Pearl Harbor.

So, as someone asked, this would make for an album rating of 8/10, pre-movie that is.

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Slashfilm.com has posted this fascinating interview:

Film Interview: ‘The Lone Ranger’ Director Gore Verbinski – “We Are on a Crazy Road to Extinction”

Ironically, it attributes the Finale to Hans and not Geoff.

Having just watched the movie, one can say that the score does feature prominently right from the opening frame. The much ballyhooed movie does surprise with its narrative structure being told in flashback, and the opening in San Francisco does validate the use of the erhu (Chinese violin).
As with Man of Steel, the album is not sequenced chronologically, while omitting a passage after the opening scene and track, another in the bank robbery where the first appearance of the William Tell overture makes a brief appearance, and the third being the start of the end credits.
What is quite apparent in the spotting and design is the use of particular themes and more associated instruments for the different locations and characters, most notably the flute for Tonto, and another for Butch Cavendish. The ballad is definitely reprised several times for John Reid reflecting the almost forlorn romance with Rebecca Reid.
Overall, the score works for the movie and one might say is actually quite reserved in the sound mix levels. That being said, what might have been a relegation to small boxy suboptimal theatre exhibition due to the seeming box office failure, could be the reason for the lack of sonic punch and effectiveness of the sound design.
For the movie itself, it works as a good comedy, adventure and romance. Johnny Depp initially comes across as Jack Sparrow, but settles into the character quite well once the story unravels. Armie Hammer handles the lead role with reasonable aplomb given that the character is that of a reluctant hero.
Helena Bonham Carter is a welcome sideshow along with Barry Pepper.
The scene stealers include William Fichtner as Butch, Ruth Wilson playing John’s ex, and the dashing James Badge Dale as Dan Reid, looking like Sam Worthington at times.
While this is a sentimental return to western adventures of old, the notion that this will spawn the setup sequel may be derailed by the current underperformance at the box office. That would be a shame, but I predict video should perform quite well.
A good matinee, and a worthy 7/10.

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One Response to NOW SCREENING: The Lone Ranger

  1. Ds says:

    Can’t wait!! This looks better than expected!

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