The Lone Ranger: movie review (PG-13)
2 of 5 stars
The Unforgiving: Ten Savage Disses of 'The Lone Ranger'
It seems to happen every year: Critics so gleefully attack one particular film that it seems almost a contest to see who can deliver the best zinger. Here are some of the nominees.
Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: "Even Johnny Depp can’t save the day":
"Director Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger is for anyone who thought the Native American guy from the Village People and a western-wear model would make the perfect blockbuster-action team."
Two Jews on Film, StarPulse.com: "Johnny Depp Is More Jack Sparrow Than Native American Warrior Tonto":
"At times [Johnny Depp] sounded like a bad Catskills comedian instead of a Native American warrior."
Alonso Duralde, The Wrap: "The Lone Ranger: Hi-Yawn Silver, Awaaaay!":
"Depp's presence in the movie actively undercuts our investment in the Lone Ranger as a character, much less as a hero. Imagine Christopher Nolan casting Joan Rivers as Alfred in the Dark Knight movies so she could follow around Batman and make jokes about his ridiculous outfit."
Bob Mondello, NPR: "A Familiar Wild West, But The Guy In The Mask? Who's He?":
"The script fancies itself a critique of capitalism, a manifesto on manifest destiny, and a saga about silver mines and the slaughter of Native Americans. All very admirable, if not a great fit for scenes that involve Depp communing with snaggle-toothed cannibal bunny rabbits and taking a runaway train ride or six."
Drew McWeeny, HitFix: "Johnny Depp and Gore Verbinski Fail to Bring The Lone Ranger Back to Life":
"At two-and-a-half hours, it may be the single most punishing experience I've had in a theater so far this year. ... Let's be clear: this is a terrible film by any standards. ... When you cut from the violent genocide of an entire Indian tribe to a wacky scene with Silver the horse standing on a tree branch and wearing a cowboy hat, it's pretty clear you have no idea what story you're telling or why. ... Someone needs to drag this thing out behind the barn and put a silver bullet in its brain."
More negative reviews, with the emphasis on how poorly Depp portrayed an Indian:
Lone Ranger is Johnny Depp's tribute to shitty superhero origin films
The expectation of wackiness and hijinks and amusement-ride fun revolves around Depp—so his mumbling, alienated performance is a crucial part of siphoning the fun out of the movie.
His one-liners were largely met with awkward silence in the New York screening that I attended. They’re dumb one-liners, and Paula Deen just happened. Tonto repeatedly showers the dead bird on his head in birdseed and at one point wears a paddy hat to impersonate a Chinese railroad worker. That this is The Lone Ranger's most interesting character should speak volumes about how uninteresting this movie is.
At one moment the characters are in the dust plains of what is supposed to be Texas then riding through Arizona’s Monument Valley before having their ranches burned in what looks like the high mountain meadows of the Canadian Rockies.
Tonto is placed in a diorama at the beginning of the movie, a take off on Dustin Hoffman in “Little Big Man” but without the acting. Is he Ishi, the last of his tribe, or a 120 year old man trolling for peanuts and cracked corn? There are scenes with cannibalistic rabbits, a horse which licks up scorpions before donning a white cowboy hat, a bad guy ripping out a human heart before eating it and a prostitute who has a hollow ivory leg containing a double barreled shotgun.
And from Micah Ian Wright, a Native screenwriter:
There are some mixed to "positive" reviews. In general, they say the movie is a big shambling mess, a pastiche of past Westerns, winking at the conventions it subverts, with lots of comic moments. In other words, Pirates of the Comanche.
‘The Lone Ranger’: Bizarre blockbuster
Three of five stars.
3 1/2 of four stars.
Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be funny, exciting, heartfelt, and just full of real joy and great entertainment. I’m an overall fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, having loved the first film and really liked the second, then been okay with the third but disappointed with the fourth. Well, The Lone Ranger isn’t quite as awesome as the first POTC movie, but it’s better than the sequels of that series, if you want a quick comparison. If you at any point were interested in a Lone Ranger movie, or saw the trailer and thought you might be entertained by this film, then there’s a very strong chance you’d like it or even love it. If the main reason you’d skip seeing it is the fact the reviews are so negative it sounds like a disaster, then you should see it because those reviews aren’t remotely accurate in reflecting the actual quality of the film.
The Lone Ranger's Lonely Defenders: Critics Ride to the Maligned Blockbuster's Rescue
Despite critics saying this movie is different, it sounds like more of the same. The Pirates movies subverted the conventions of pirates and The Lone Ranger subverts the conventions of Westerns. Ho-hum. Subversion isn't anything new, so the question is how well the movie does it.
Let's say The Lone Ranger almost as good as a middlebrow Pirates movie. Is that a real recommendation? I'd call that more of a failure than a success. If you can't make a blockbuster that wows audiences and critics with $225 million, give the money to someone who can.
Then there's the whole issue of the message The Lone Ranger sends about Indians--which is a different matter from the movie's quality. I don't hear anyone saying it portrays Indians as well-rounded, complex characters who deserve to star in more feature films. It seems to be a failure in that regard too.
For more on Johnny Depp, see New Tonto as Racist as Old Tonto and Videos Rip Johnny Depp's Tonto.