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The Independent Critic

STARRING
Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, Tom Wilkinson, William Fichtner, Barry Pepper, Helena Bonham Carter, James Badge Dale
DIRECTED BY
Gore Verbinski
SCREENPLAY
Justin Haythe (Story), Ted Elliott (Story), Terry Rossio (Story), Eric Aronson (Writer)
MPAA RATING
Rated PG-13
RUNNING TIME
149 Mins.
DISTRIBUTED BY
Walt Disney Co.

 "The Lone Ranger" Should be Left Alone 
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I wanted to tell you that The Lone Ranger is the best movie of the summer.

I wanted to tell you that Johnny Depp had created yet another masterfully unforgettable character.

I wanted to tell you how richly I was rewarded after so highly anticipating The Lone Ranger for most of 2013.

I wanted to tell you all of these things, but I can't.

The Lone Ranger sucks.

No, seriously. It does. The Lone Ranger may actually end up making Grown Ups 2 look like Oscar-worthy cinema. The Lone Ranger may end up making Smurfs 2 look like Oscar calibre entertainment.

Okay, actually I'm kidding about that last one.

I'm not kidding about The Lone Ranger. The Lone Ranger sucks. It really, really sucks.

There will be people who highly praise the film, but don't believe them. They suck.

By now, you likely know that The Lone Ranger really shouldn't be called The Lone Ranger, because it's really about Tonto and, after all, it's Johnny Depp who is playing Tonto.

Let's see. Armie Hammer (Who?) as The Lone Ranger or Johnny Depp as Tonto.

I wonder who the star is?

The Lone Ranger proves once again that Hollywood needs to quit trying to remake the classics, because they fail miserably. It's easy to understand why Johnny Depp signed on to the project, but all the amazing potential and months of gossip about his unique portrayal of Tonto can't begin to save a film that is dead on arrival with a paint-by-numbers, communally penned script and scene after scene that plays out painfully tone deaf for anyone with even a faint memory of the original Lone Ranger.

The film's failure is truly painful to behold, mostly because you can tell that Depp is fully invested here and you can just see and feel what he's trying to do with Tonto and, in fleeting moments, he actually succeeds. While I can't imagine that Tonto would have ever been regarded as one of his most endearing characters, Depp has always had the most remarkable ability to spin unique characters in a remarkably unique way. It just doesn't work here.

Depp reunites with director Gore Verbinski, three of the Pirates  films and Rango, but you don't even have to look that closely to realize this is just Pirates in the wild, wild west. Fortunately, it is still better than Wild, Wild, West.

Barely.

If you turn the volume down, which I'm guessing wouldn't go over well in the movie theater, and watch The Lone Ranger on silent you may find yourself enchanted by D.P. Bojan Bazelli's camera work with some truly beautiful shots of Monument Valley that may just make you forget the rest of this insipid film for a few minutes. Unfortunately, you'll probably be forced to listen to the film and what you'll get is a Tonto-centric (I made that up!) film that kicks off with a 100-year-old Tonto during the Great Depression recalling his encounters with a certain lawman named John Reid (Hammer) in, as Bryan Adams would say, the summer of '69 (in this case 1869). It was in 69' (Giggle) that Tonto swears vengeance on the white man after they slaughter his entire clan even though he's kinda sorta responsible for it. Reid is out to capture an outlaw (William Fichtner) and Tonto decides to join him because he views Reid as some sort of spirit walker who can't be killed. The bond they form is for shallow reasons and is never remotely convincing, though that's more than a little bit because Armie Hammer is woefully miscast here both as the character and as a "buddy" for Johnny Depp. The two have such a wide chasm in terms of screen presence that watching them is occasionally jarring and uncomfortable.

What follows is nearly 2 1/2 hours of cartoonish violence, Pirates rip-offs, far too many bad guys and convoluted storytelling. It sometimes feels like Depp was sitting over Verbinski's shoulder saying "Can we hurry this up? I have another Tim Burton film to work on soon."

Heck, I'd almost rather watch him with Angelina Jolie again.

Nah, just kidding.

You may very well find yourself recognizing a tip o' the hat to some other familiar westerns, but mostly you'll likely find yourself distracted by scenes that you known darn well are supposed to be funny and they're just painfully unfunny. There are ridiculous train scenes that lose track of themselves, while the clod who decided to turn The Lone Ranger into a dweeb law man needs to be taken out back and strung up.

Rumor has it that The Lone Ranger comes in with a production budget of right around $250 million.

Boy, those Monumental Valley shots are awesome.

Hi. Yo. I'm guessing the box-office will mostly see silver. 

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic

 

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