Director: Gore Verbinski
Starring: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, Helena Bonham Cart, Tom Wilkinson, William Fichter, Ruth Wilson
Written by: Justin Haythe, Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio
Running Time: 149 mins
Release date: 9th August 2013
What is going on at Disney at the moment? They could do no wrong at one point. Now they can’t seem to do anything right. Having to rely on Marvel to make their money, it was announced this week that they expect to lose £120 million on their latest release, The Lone Ranger and you can see why. This has disaster written right the way through it. Badly miscast, dull set pieces and far too long. It’s 149 minutes of my life I will never get back and I want it back immediately.
Straight-laced, by-the-book lawyer John Reid, along with his brother and a group of Texas Ranger, go in pursuit of escape bandit, Butch Cavendish. After being double-crossed, Reid is left for dead and is saved by rouge Comanche, Tonto, who the pair had met when Butch had originally escaped. Using the fact that Reid is thought to be dead, he dons a black mask and the mismatched pairing head into a world of corruption and crime involving the newly built railway as the they go after the notorious bandit.
Let’s deal with the positives first. Er…er…well.
Seriously, I really want to write one positive thing about this film but I can’t because it’s an expensive mess. The team behind the Pirates Of The Caribbean have decided to remove the boats and pirates and just make another film but in a different location with different characters and hope that no one noticed. WRONG!
The first POTC film was a huge success and why? Because pirate films weren’t around, it was full of energy and a big fat bundle of fun. The others have become progressively worse and so it would follow suit that if the same people who produced On Stranger’s Tide couldn’t get that right, how on earth are they going to redeem themselves with this?
It starts off with a prison break on a train that really is nothing more than the opening gambit from the first Pirates film when Jack Sparrow is introduced. So the action sequences (and there are quite a few of them) are repetitive and so, very dull. There’s no tension, no excitement, no wow factor. Along with that, the CGI, for a film that allegedly cost $250,000, 000, they are not impressive at all.
It’s also far too long. By the time it reaches hour two and you know there’s still another 30 odd minutes to go, you have literally lost the will to live. Director Gore Verbinski filmed a lot of material and it seems it’s all here. The original TV series were in bite-size 30 minute episodes. Each one of these were compact, with plenty of thrills. Maybe if they had squeezed everything into 30 minutes but it might still be a struggle.
Then there’s the casting. We have Helena Bonham Carter being slightly kooky as a brothel owner with a special wooden leg, a role that hardly pushes her. William Fichter as bandit Butch, who we know can steal a film as a villain (Drive Angry, anyone) but seems totally wasted here. Brit Ruth Wilson plays the love interest and, well, she does it fine in a badly underwritten part.
The second Tom Wilkinson pops up and this is nothing against Mr Wilkinson, who I think is a terrific actor but as railroad manager Cole, you know immediately that he’s involved in some form of wrong doing because it’s a role that Mr Wilkinson is always cast in when appearing in a Hollywood movie.
Now we turn to the biggest fopaux of the lot: the casting of The Lone Ranger and Tonto. as the masked avenger, Armie Hammer (who I can’t hear his name without thinking of toothpaste) has absolutely zero charisma. The Lone Ranger should be dynamic Mr Hammer has none of it. He lacks any sense of comic timing and does not have the power to carry the film. It seems the producers knew that so that can be the only reason they cast Johnny Depp as Tonto.
I like Johnny Depp. He is a truly talented actor but this is his laziest and least exciting performance to date. With his stereotype Native American accent and his face covered in white paint, it’s like he is only there for the paycheck and there is no chemistry between him and Hammer. It’s Depp at his blandest and if he does carry on acting (rumours abound that he is quitting) then he must get back to doing interesting roles that made him a force of nature. Seriously, after watching this I was longing to watch him in Benny And Joon!
I love westerns but this really pushed my patience to the limits. I am only thankful that I never saw it in 3D. Disney have to do better than this because it managed to do something that I thought I’d never see. It managed to out-do John Carter for awfulness. The Lone Ranger is probably this year’s biggest flop and I can understand why. Disastrous and incredibly boring. Avoid.