Starring: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, William Fichtner, Tom Wilkinson, Ruth Wilson, Helena Bonham Carter
Directed by: Gore Verbinski
Written By: Justin Haythe, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio
Rating: PG-13 (US) Running Time: 2 hr 29 min
The Lone Ranger came out before I started blogging (meaning, it was my choice to see it at the time), and the reviews were bad. So I passed. Now that I am blogging about my movie watching experiences, it seemed high time I found out why this movie became one of the biggest flops in movie history. Can’t be that bad? Right?
Wrong! On paper it probably looked to be a sure-fire hit. Johnny Depp teaming up with his buddy Gore Verbinski for more mega budget ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ style action and adventure. A movie version of a classic America TV western. Tom Wilkinson and Helena Bonham Carter. Armie Hammer. Wait, who? Okay, no offense to Mr Hammer. I’ve seen and enjoyed The Social Network, and he’s a very decent actor. But what the heck is he doing being cast as The Lone Ranger? Why is Johnny Depp – clearly the biggest star attached to this project – playing the supporting role? Is this The Lone Ranger or The Adventures of Tonto?
Awful casting is only the tip of this crap-berg. Let’s also mention the horribly mixed tone of the film. At times it’s a fun action adventure with some genuinely funny moments. At other times a brutally violent and serious western. One or the other might have worked, but together it’s a mess.
Each action sequence starts out okay, but quickly gets ridiculous. I know it’s a movie and we want to see the fantastic – but when the laws of physics are completely thrown out the window – it stops being exciting. At one point Tonto leaps maybe 30 to 40 feet from one train to another and lands on a large pile of silver. This would have killed or seriously injured Tonto, but he gets up, and the action continues! No one’s going to believe it, no matter how clever the CGI is. There should be a rule for CGI usage in regards to the depiction of human beings performing death-defying stunts. If you have to digitally create the stunt. Don’t include it. Scale back the idea a little and hire a real life stunt person. It’ll look better in my opinion.
Here’s another possible title for this movie. The Long Ranger. It’s two and a half hours long! The plot isn’t all that complex, and it’s not like there’s many characters to develop (not that they used much time for that anyway), so why the epic running time? This film should have ended at the hour and a half mark. It doesn’t though, and keeps not ending for another hour!
Keep in mind this film has some tonal issues. Lighthearted fun and adventure gets mixed with intense drama and violence. The two lead roles are miscast, but Armie Hammer at least looks the Lone Ranger hero type.
This was an expensive film, and that cash is clearly visible on the screen. The production design and photography are excellent. A HD viewing at home is recommended if you do in fact take this on.
Worst element for me:
This film stands as a great example of bad casting. Armie Hammer looks the part, but he needed to be a more established lead actor before being cast in a project like this. With Johnny Depp the problem is reversed. He’s way too big a star to be given the supporting character role, and just looks ridiculous as Tonto.