Review: The Lone Ranger

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The Lone Ranger | Gore Verbinski | Walt Disney Studios | July 3, 2013

There’s a point in The Lone Ranger where Johnny Depp’s Tonto is roasting a rabbit over a fire. Suddenly a bunch of normal looking rabbits appear out of no where, almost as if they’ve come to pay their respects. Then, in a move that would make Eduardo Saverin cringe, Tonto throws a piece of the rabbit to the group of rabbits. Suddenly the rabbits grow big teeth, become feverishly animated and monster like, and go all kinds of cannibalistic crazy on the piece of their own. It was at this truly puzzling moment where I not only lost patience with The Lone Ranger, but I stopped trying to care about it completely.

The Lone Ranger was repackaged and brought to us by director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, the team behind the Pirates of the Caribbean series. It seemed all but a money hunt to put this mindless thrill ride into production, which it is, as it’s nothing more than a money grab packaged with Johnny Depp in a costume. There was no need to make this movie, and after witnessing it in its brutal run time of two and half hours, I can safely say that this is one of the worst major studio films that you will see all year.

I suppose on paper, The Lone Ranger should have worked. It tells a story that we all know in some incarnation, and stars Johnny Depp in lots of makeup and costume, something that usually means success. But people won’t be dressing up as Depp’s Tonto this year. No, they will have long forgotten this utterly miserable role that Depp sleepwalks through. Although the movie is titled ‘The Lone Ranger’, the Ranger is really just there to step aside for Depp’s mumblings as this intolerable version of Tonto that is more of a caricature of all of the costumed parts of Depp’s past characters molded together. It’s a shame because Arnie Hammer is perfectly fine as The Ranger, and gives a pretty decent performance. Hammer seems just as confused as us during most of the film as to what the hell is going on.

You see, things just happen in this film without any hint of reason. Scorpions climb on our “heroes” faces, but then The Ranger’s horse comes over and starts chomping on them, as if it was just another day at work. This same horse is later found jumping on top of houses that are on fire, and balancing on tree limbs. There is a constant imbalance of tone that bounces back and forth between stupid silly to somehow serious, that it becomes a laughable game trying to figure out where there going with it all. That’s the problem, as they aren’t going anywhere. This was nearing torture as it stretched out during the totally unforgivable run time that truly did feel like a lifetime, and will have you begging the film to have mercy and finally end.

The script by Justin Haythe, Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio does nothing to get us involved with these characters, or really give a shit about anything that happens to them. This is a problem, when you could care less about what happens to your two leads. William Fichtner , Tom Wilkinson, Helena Bonham Carter, James Badge Dale, Barry Pepper all have supporting roles as well but are all second to none to Mr. Depp, and they’re not giving anything substantial to work with. It’s a shame because at some points I found myself hating all of these characters, truly a waste of some pretty solid talent.

Plain and simple, this movie just fails to entertain. They focus too much on Tonto, leaving The Lone Ranger to feel like an afterthought in his own movie. There is absolutely no chemistry between the two, only making bad matters much worse. The script is flat and bland, leaving things to seem just as dry as most of the scenery in the film. The Pirates Of The Caribbean team basically figure if they throw the same schtick and dance with Johnny Depp making stupid remarks while in costume, we will eat it up. Sorry guys, a bad movie is a bad movie. Depp is a good actor, but I’m getting sick of his efforts like this, where it seems like he’s just playing himself. It’s lazy, and it’s really starting to show.

The Lone Ranger bombed on opening week with a measly $30 million, a big disappointment for its $250 million budget. For once it seems like all audiences saw through The Lone Ranger for what it was, an overly long, heartless, thoughtless, cash grab. Skip this one at all costs.

Rating: 2.5/10