The Lone Ranger (2013)

image001By: Jake Turner (Five Beers) –
How many beers do you recommend for this movie?
1 Beer! A Toast! Great Movie!2 Beers! Good Movie!3 Beers! Okay Movie!4 Beers! Mediocre Movie!5 Beers! Awful Movie!6-Pack! Bad movie! Do not be Sober!

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3.5 Billion. That’s how much the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise made over a time span of 9 years. Now, Disney is taking on another potential franchise and they are bringing the Pirates crew along for the ride and co-star Johnny Depp to bring the famed black and white Lone Ranger to this generation with Armie Hammer (Robert Downey Jr.’s voice impersonator) in the lead role. What can I say except, uh, does anyone remember Waterworld with Kevin Costner? I thought you would and like that, Lone Ranger will give you the same feeling.

A Toast

The cinematography by Bojan Bazelli has the look and style of an old school western and using the appropriate locations of New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado gives that feel of a city building upon the future.

Hans Zimmer continues to impress with his style of booming but memorable music scores where he mixes Western themes and cartoonish touches of the violin making you feel like a vintage Looney Tunes cartoon, but then smacks us with what we paid for, the theme song, although… once we hear it it’s already too late, especially when it comes to pairing it with Bruckheimer’s action sequences.

Beer Two

When Armie Hammer opened his mouth for the first time, three words come to mind. Miscasted, bland, and worst of all, forced. I was in the first 9 minutes and I found myself already checking my watch. I still had 2 hours and 16 minutes remaining and I could already tell this movie was doomed. Hammer’s performance is one of the many weaknesses of this film. He’s John Reid, a district attorney, but after rising from the dead after an ambush, he’s the man in the White Hat; he’s the legend. Yeah, he’s the Lone Ranger, but you have to wait 2 hours for it.   He’s just a pretty boy in a mask that is trying very hard, but he doesn’t fit the mold of a hero, but rather more of a man who forcibly becomes a hero against his wishes. Didn’t I just see that with Josh Peck in last year’s Red Dawn?

Underutilizing Helena Bonham Carter as a gun-toting, tough-talking madam with what’s basically a cameo is a shame, and Ruth Wilson is stuck with the Love Interest/Damsel in Distress one-note character who has nothing to work with.

Let’s make it clear, Johnny Depp is Jack Sparrow. He embodies his surly but brave personality greatly, but his Tonto is like an occasionally funny distant cousin of Sparrow. At times, he has his funny moments, but he then just does a caricature of Sparrow with his comedic facial expressions and when he’s trying to be serious or speak, it just feels wrong. It was at times where he would come off bland and uninteresting where I wanted Tonto to become a silent character.

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Tell Tonto I said hi. My lawyers will be in touch.

Beer Three

What was with the violence standard in this? I thought this was supposed to be a family western by Disney based off the 1950’s black and white serials, not Tombstone.  While it was gruesome occasionally, it was also choppy and sparse at times.

Shockingly though, the action sequences didn’t have a pulse or a sense of excitement. It looked well- choreographed and epic, but it just didn’t have that feel of excitement. It reminded me of bad action films such as The Getaway, Armored, or Sucker Punch where the violence looks big but looks can be deceiving. It felt like the CGI was on overdrive and no one was there to break the glass to push the Emergency Shutdown button.

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That’s just messed up and I’m Wyatt Earp, for goodness sakes.

Beer Four

I have preached this over and over, what can make or break an action film? That’s right, the villains. It doesn’t help that one looked so bored, he was just waiting for his paycheck to be punched and filming to end. Tom Wilkinson was that Latham Cole, an entrepreneur that championed a nationwide railroad to punch dollars into the economy and put stocks on the rise in the New York Stock Market, but there may be more to his proposal.  I also was so happy to see William Fichtner chewing the scenery as outlaw Butch Cavendish, but Verbinski’s direction is so strange and offbeat that after a while, Cavendish becomes cartoonish.  Even though it’s not Fichtner’s fault, eventually even Yosemite Sam looks scarier.

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I at least know how to make an entrance. You got a problem with that?

Beer Five

Wow, I’ve been to seminars that were more exciting than this. I couldn’t believe how dull and uninteresting the screenplay written by Justin Haythe, Ted Elliott, and Terry Rossio is. I’ll bet that on paper, it seemed interesting. I mean how bad can an origin story on how Reid transformed into the Lone Ranger be, but that never materializes until you hear the theme song. I had an hour left to go and I found myself falling asleep. I had to leave a movie for the first time and head to the concession stand for a small popcorn and candy that cost me $10.40, which didn’t help things, but it was the only way to stay awake through this overlong megabucks disaster.

I felt like I was witnessing Pirates of the Caribbean mixed in with Wild Wild West. A terrible combination, but one I make because of the wacky things you see throughout this movie like Silver, the white steed that believes he and Reid are a perfect pairing, so he goes about smacking his hooves on Reid’s Texas Ranger badge, appearing on a top of a roof, or pulling out our heroes out of a deep hole after appearing out of nowhere. Also, throwing in a spiritual feel was just mawkish and open for mocking. Not even going to get started on the demonic rabbits, just… no.

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No, you aren’t smarter than me? Staring contest, go! Reid, let me know when you put on the mask. Any time now.

Verdict

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The Lone Ranger has all the ingredients to be a top tier western for all ages but its overlong 149 minute running time, bloated script, sparse action sequences, and a miscasted Armie Hammer make this into a blockbuster disaster that echoes films such as Godzilla, Waterworld or, uggh, Cutthroat Island. At least they can say they tried, because I know others who haven’t. Give you a clue: nepotism. That is all.

 

Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Tonto says “Kemo Sabi”

Take a Drink: every time you see Silver appear out of nowhere

Shotgun a Beer: every time you see Helena Bonham Carter (twice)

Do a Body Shot: every time Armie Hammer tries to fake toughness

About Jake Turner

5 comments

  1. I honestly didn’t think it was as bad as all that, and there was a lot of good stuff in there, but it definitely had some tonal issues, and it definitely could have used a bit of cutting down, maybe even by just getting rid of the framing device altogether.

    • Always entitled to your opinion. However, when you are the lead of a film with Johnny Depp as your sidekick. You better deliver, Armie Hammer just didn’t fit the role, he did physically, but not when he spoke or tried to do slapstick. Don’t get me wrong, there were some good things there but it was just sprinkled in from time to time. It felt rushed. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Always entitled to your opinion. However, when you are the lead of a film with Johnny Depp as your sidekick. You better deliver, Armie Hammer just didn’t fit the role, he did physically, but not when he spoke or tried to do slapstick. Don’t get me wrong, there were some good things there but it was just sprinkled in from time to time. It felt rushed. Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  3. Yeah, this one seems to be a bit of a debate in critical circles, although I don’t think anyone’s mistaking it for a good movie. I didn’t hate it, though.

    • I will be honest, I didn’t hate the movie. It’s just I was expecting this to be a rollicking western adventure where the actor just fits the White hat of the Lone Ranger and Depp brings depth to Tonto and I didn’t get that. I had a miscasting hero, Depp being a caricature of Jack Sparrow and a bloated running time to an dull origin story just doesn’t mix. I do appreciate the comments though. Good stuff, everyone.

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