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Last night we packed up the teens and went to have a family movie night; some were groaning, one was excited, parents thrilled.  Ok, I was super thrilled because I have been waiting for years for this movie to be finished.  Huge Johnny Depp fan!  Being the perfectionists that Johnny Depp and Jerry Bruckheimer are it was well worth the wait so strap your boots on!

I’m sure you’ve heard the hate from the other reviewers and if you haven’t don’t listen to them for they know not what they speak.  This movie is fabulous.  The whole way through, I was thinking, “Bring back the westerns!”  It was super funny, action-packed, dramatic and even romantic.  I don’t want to spill too many details, but Johnnie Depp and Armie Hammer were cast perfectly.  Matter of fact, I loved the whole cast.  They really played off each other well and their comedic timing was near perfections. Then there is William Fichtner who plays the really bad guy, Butch Cavendish, I almost didn’t recognize him. Loved him in Armageddon and it took me half the movie to figure out it was him because he just became the character.

The basic plot is, John Reid, a lawyer returns to the wild west to help bring criminals to justice.  He becomes a Texas Ranger with his brother to bring in Butch Cavendish and his gang of outlaws so they can be tried in court and justice can be served.  Things take a turn and I’m not going to spoil the plot, but with an unlikely on again-off again “friendship” with Tonto, they ride together to bring them in to justice.  But they find a bigger event is taking place between a railroad tycoon and the outlaw.  Will justice prevail or will the Lone Ranger and Tonto take justice into their own hands? 

There is some language, but it’s a Disney movie so it’s not much, but it is a western in the wild west.  Typical Disney grade violence if you’re familiar with the Pirate movies.  There is a heart eating scene but frankly, I’ve seen grosser in some PG movies lately, so you can just shut your eyes, but boys will love it. Let them be boys moms including the hubby. Gross! Just to let you know there is alcohol consumption and a house of “entertainment” but it’s not too risqué. Again if you’re familiar with Pirates, along that same line.  There is a heartbreaking scene with the Native Americans and almost started crying, but it shows the relations we had with them at time and this makes a great talking point with kids.  But the movie picks back up quickly so it’s only sad for a moment.

It was total western with hilarious nods to the original show that those of us that remember the original series will love without being too campy.  Let me put it this way. I love being in a theater where everyone gets so involved in the movie that the whole theater is laughing, gasping, and cheering for the actors and waiting for “Hi Ho Silver!”. It comes, I’m just not going to tell you when or where.  Fun! This time the Indians (Native Americans) weren’t portrayed like the original show, but Johnny Depp as Tonto is exactly what that character needed and you get a great back story.

As far as the makeup and costuming. I would give them an Academy Award.  True to the period and the original show with some great creativity thrown in.  I would love to have been a part of the makeup department!  Johnny Depp’s makeup is superb and creative and yes you get an explanation about the bird on his head. The scenery and sets remind me of the epic westerns with beautiful dessert scenery.  The action is superb and just so you know, the actors were constantly refusing to use their stunt doubles and did a ton of the stunts themselves and the stunts are just crazy.

As far as homeschooling opportunities with this movie, there are some.  This would be a fun way to introduce the concept of the wild west, the transcontinental railroad, greed, the silver and gold rush and our relations with the Native Americans.  Also, the movement out west and the expansion of the country.  There is also a moral theme of staying true to what you believe, friendship and family and justice. 

I give this movie StarStarStarStarStar stars!  Even with a little language and some violence it is a great gun-slinging, old fashioned western movie and fun for the family, especially if you have pre-teens and teens, all of whom by the end of the movie were laughing like crazy!  My hubby loved it and is praying for a sequel.  Great movie for boys but my girls really liked it too.  I’m not sure why the critics are tearing it up so bad.  Maybe because on the whole, it’s a pretty clean movie with a great message and tons of fun!