It debuts on Rotten Tomatoes with a 22% (and essentially a 0% from top critics) and an average score of 3.9/10!
It cost $250 million for production with a $100-150 million advertising budget so this is not a good start.
From one of the reviews:
This film is a catastrophe of tone, a truly tortured screenplay that seems embarrassed by its central character, and at two-and-a-half hours, it may be the single most punishing experience I've had in a theater so far this year. There are so many bad decisions on display here that I feel like it's a film worth studying, if only to see clearly how not to bring a beloved character back to the big screen.''
For reference, the sure fire bombs so far are After Earth and White House Down.
Still laughing at [bold]White House down[/bold]
Still, Lone Ranger won't be that bad. It'll get good reviews and attention. Anyway, Johnny has fans, they'll go watch anything. So the bomb is really in ????
It's the only "blockbuster" summer movie I was half-interested in seeing. Humph.
R2, that may indeed be the worst title I've ever heard for a big-budget film with name stars.
It wouldn't be the first LR movie to totally bomb at the box office.
Well, if it isn't a huge hit, it's gonna be more like "Hi-yo Aluminium!"
The previews looked terrible. Seemed like a completely mindless hollywood blockbuster that is a giant waste of money for a bunch of cgi mischief.
I'm not upset about White House Down or this bombing.
Did this get greenlit by the same studio suits that brought us John Carter?
The Voice of the Night
Ha ha Johnny Depp!!
Is Klinton Spillsbury getting a cameo?
Please go see it, we really need to make sure that Armie has a long career.
I've never even heard of this movie or seen promos for it. Who the hell is in it?
I really like Armie Hammer, but he just cannot get it together.
How is Depp going to afford his new wife, Amber Heard if this dies at the BO?
If it doesn't offend the red states and is not percieved as left-wing, it should do ok.
(Still a heavy price-tage, though)
Bitter Roland Emmerich
The Lone Ranger is going to be this year's John Carter.
This was supposed to be Armie's first starring role. Seems that Armie needs a break to be as great as Channing Tatum.
I blame the goofy make-up, because Depp is virtually unrecognizable, and too zombie looking.
The previews look horrible, I can believe it's terrible.
I hope that if nothing else, it gives Johnny Depp a wakeup call. He's got real talent, and his career is falling apart due to lazy performances and bloat. If he doesn't put down the wine glass and get it together soon, the fans will be begging him to get back with Vanessa.
The preview looked awful - I sniffed bomb months ago, when I saw Depp's make-up, and heard Armie was starring. And really ? $250,000,000 for this piece of crap ?
"$250,000,000 for this piece of crap ?"
Being the Lone Ranger's horse didn't bother me since I'm trying to expand my acting chops. But given my age, I just couldn't let them call me "Silver". So they paid.
Armie should just tone up and upload a 10-minute strip-and-jack on x-tube. That's his only route to a hit.
Is Johnny seen in that white makeup throughout the entire film?
If so, it must be because the suits thought it was a solution to doing him in redskin makeup which would have really been offensive.
I cannot believe Tim Burton and Johnny are doing these kinds of projects now.
[quote]I cannot believe Tim Burton and Johnny are doing these kinds of projects now
AFAIK, Tim Burton has nothing to do with this one, beyond his relationship with Helena Bonham Carter.
This is Gore Verbinski's movie.
The Voice of the Night
Tim Burton didn't direct The Lone Ranger- Gore Verbinski did. His credits are 3 of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Rango, The Weatherman and the Julia Roberts bomb The Mexican.
That makeup and costume looks ridiculous. And reason enough to not attend the movie.
[quote]I've never even heard of this movie or seen promos for it. Who the hell is in it?
You might know it better as Johnny Depp in "Tonto", oh and Armie Hammer is in it somewhere. Depp has made a fortune hiding behind the bizarre make-up, Jack Sparrow, Sweeney Todd, Willy Wonka, Barnabas, he probably has no interest in actually acting anymore.
This marks the beginning of Johnny Deep's downfall.....
Excuse me R28, the mexican is a brad pitt bomb. He got first billing.
One can only hope R31. Lucky bastards those of you who have not seen the endless promos and ads. I do hope armie is enjoying his name being name checked in every ad like anyone cares. After this bomb he probably won't get to hear it again so prominently.
Armie Hammer is beautiful to look at
You can tell it's going to be a bomb because they've already started airing ads with the actors talking about what a great experience it was making the film and working with each other. It's all very self-congratulatory, but with the underlying stench of "please, oh please, see our movie!" desperation.
I think it is hilarious how Hollywood keeps trying to force Armie Hammer on us and no one is biting.
He is the absolute definition of milquetoast.
Critics have laid into a $250 million blockbuster remake of '50s TV show The Lone Ranger, calling it "a scrap heap of train wreckage" and "one hot mess".
Reviewers have already savaged the film, with an approval rating of just 38 per cent on review aggregate site Metacritic, and 26 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Critics attacked the film's tone, pace, length, action scenes and directing. In a review for the news agency Associated Press, critic Jake Coyle called it a "runaway train".
"Verbinski's film, stretching hard to both reinvent an out-of-date brand and breathe new life in the Western with a desperate onslaught of bloated set pieces, is a poor locomotive for Depp's eccentric theatrics," he wrote.
"For 2½ hours, the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced Lone Ranger inflates, subverts and distorts the conventions of the Western until, in an interminable climax, the big-budget spectacle finally, exhaustingly collapses in a scrap heap of train wreckage."
Hitfix reviewer Drew McWeeny agreed, calling the Lone Ranger "a misfire on every level".
"Let's be clear: this is a terrible film by any standards. Overlong, with a script that reads like a notes session no one ever organized into something coherent, and totally confused about what audience it supposedly plays to, The Lone Ranger is grim, ugly, and deeply unpleasant."
Time Out New York reviewer Keith Uhlich called the film's over-the-top action scenes "relentless".
"It's all too much and not enough-a succession of disparate, can-you-top-this episodes inelegantly piling up like skidding cars on a freeway. And that's not even taking into account the action scenes.
"Lord, those action scenes: Monotonous, loud and relentless, they're a punishing example of the self-satisfied, digitally augmented ephemera that typifies modern Hollywood moviemaking, and House Bruckheimer in particular."
Louise Keller from the Urban Cinefile website had some kind words to say about Depp's performance:
"The plot is rich and colourful and with a hi-ho Silver, non-stop humour and fast action; there is much to enjoy in the company of the incongruous trio of an in-form Depp, dashing Armie Hammer and a scene stealing white horse."
And Charlie McCollum from the Mercury News gave it 2½ stars, calling it "one hot mess" and saying it was "way too long, incoherent at times, loaded with clumsy dialogue and less than sure-footed in its tone".
But McCollum said it was still entertaining.
"Despite all its not-inconsiderable failings, it's surprisingly entertaining for its two and a half-hour running time. Every time it threatens to go completely off the rails, there's a spectacular action sequence or, more often, a dazzling bit of business from Johnny Depp as Tonto that pulls you back into the film."
Disney Rides Into Box-Office Ambush With Depp’s ‘Lone Ranger’
Johnny Depp’s “The Lone Ranger,” opening in theaters tomorrow to negative reviews and tough competition, looks poised to become Walt Disney Co’s biggest flop since last year’s $200 million loss from “John Carter.”
The movie, based on the 1930s radio show and 1950s TV series, is the type of project that’s worked well in Hollywood of late. It features well-known characters and a proven star in Depp, with potential for sequels and merchandise sales.
Still, Disney will struggle to turn a profit, after the budget climbed to $225 million and the film earned mostly unfavorable early reviews. The task is more challenging because “The Lone Ranger” opens on a competitive summer weekend, against Universal Pictures’ animated “Despicable Me 2” and holdovers that include “Monsters University,” from Disney’s Pixar, and the zombie thriller “World War Z.”
“It is a huge gamble,” said Doug Creutz, an analyst with Cowen & Co. in San Francisco, who predicts a $100 million write-off for Disney. “You need the film to be really good.”
“‘The Lone Ranger’ is a drag as an action movie,” wrote Alonso Duralde, critic for the industry website The Wrap.com. “It’s not funny in its attempts at self-parody, and it feels like a Western made by people working off a checklist of tropes.”
BoxOffice.com predicts three-day weekend sales of $37 million in the U.S. for “The Lone Ranger,” just $7 million more than “John Carter.”
The film will benefit from the long July 4 holiday weekend in the U.S. It is projected to take in $135 million in its domestic theater run, a sum the studio splits with cinema owners. “John Carter” generated $73.1 million in U.S. cinemas.
“The Lone Ranger” reunites Depp with the team from the “Pirates of Caribbean” films, which overcame initial skepticism to become a top franchise. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer generated a combined $3.7 billion with four “Pirates” movies, according to researcher Box Office Mojo, the first three led by “Lone Ranger” director Gore Verbinski.
Poor Armie. He doesn't even get a mention in those articles.
I definitely want to see it now. I loves me a good train wreck.
And yes, if this bombs, Johnny Depp won't be able to get a big-budget film greenlit on his name alone. This film and its massive budget were essentially greenlit to please Depp, Bruckheimer and Gore Verbinski and keep them in good graces with Disney. Disney (under Rich Ross, fired after mishandling "John Carter") actually pulled the plug on this before production began because costs had spiraled out of control. The studio wanted to replace Verbinski (who, as most reviewers have noted, is the one to blame for the film's failures) but Depp threw his muscle behind him to keep Verbinski on the project. Deadline documented everything pretty well, if you search "the Lone Ranger" you can see how everything unfolded.
I bet he still has enough naive housewife fans who still think he is the hottest thing ever, even though he is and always was mediocre actor at best, nowadays solely takes roles for money, plus he is a complete sourpuss who looks like he smells like sewage. The term stinking rich fits to nobody better than Depp.
Nobody thinks Depp is hot anymore. His lady fans are pissed about his relationship with Heard too.
[quote]Critics attacked the film's tone, pace, length, action scenes and directing. In a review for the news agency Associated Press, critic Jake Coyle called it a "runaway train".
Well, if the critics don't like it, it can't possibly make money, can it?
[quote]Nobody thinks Depp is hot anymore. His lady fans are pissed about his relationship with Heard too.
WTF? Nobody cares about his relationship. He completely stayed out of the limelight except when his child was sick while he filmed "Sweeney Todd". He hasn't been a Brad & Angie/Beyoncé & JayZ celeb in twenty years.
I loved White House Down.
I couldn't agree with R41 anymore.
Seriously, how many more bombs can Johnny Depp's career take. Anyone remember The Tourist? It was possibly the worse movie ever, slammed by critics. Will Lone Ranger be even worse than that.
In fact when was Johnny's last hit movie?, possible the Pirates franchise, but come on cinema goers have got to start getting bored of that now, how many more of those can he get away with making. Knightley and Bloom got bored with the Pirates franchise ages ago and moved on to other projects.
The British media has been quick enough to to get stuck into Pitt and more recently Will Smith over their latest projects, lets see if they get stuck into Johnny.
He's not even hot, he looks like a scruffy tramp that needs a good bath.
While I'm very tired of Depp's one note acting, I don't think this hurts his career as much as it does Bruckheimer's. At the very least it might make Bruckheimer realize that his next movie should have a coherent plot.
Lone Ranger is going to make After Earth look like a smash hit.
That last Pirates stinker made a billion internationally, and Depp is signed to do a 5th one for 2015. Its easy to blame Hollywood for keep making these idiotic movies when audiences still flock to go see them. Sad but true!
I am surprised there has not been more press about a white man wearing a fake nose to give him the right ethnic look and full make-up (white face in this instant). Then he seems to twist the Native American traditions/personality so they fit his quirky persona.
Wait. His name is ARMIE?! I thought it was Arnie.
]quote]Seriously, how many more bombs can Johnny Depp's career take.
Other than the Pirates and Alice movies, everything else he's done recently has bombed.
Lone Ranger is looking like a giant money pit for Disney. Good for Armie Hammer if nobody is talking about him. The less he's associated with this mess, the better for him. Depp, Bruckheimer and Verbinsk should get the lion's share of the blame.
It may bomb, but remember that ALICE IN WONDERLAND was horrible too, and it made a mint.
I have a feeling this will open well enough, but the word-of-mouth might kill it.
I can't believe anyone greenlit this thing and Disney should have stopped it when they had the chance.
This along with AFTER EARTH will reinforce the idea that star driven movies are dead. I don't think that's the case as much as ego driven movies don't work.
The commercials I've been seeing are so brief, like 10 secs, I had no idea who stars in it. Has anyone else seen that brief, blurry commercial? You never get a good look at the Ranger and I actually thought he looked black at first. I thought maybe Will Smith was starring in it.
I live in Celebration, FL, a few miles from Disney World, and I have not seen any advertisement for this film. A ton of ads for Monsters University or whatever it is, but none for The Lone Ranger. Disney must have already written it off.
R54, they only show explosions and a few horses, maybe Depp.
Underestimate Depp's box office strength at your own peril. I took a little look at box office mojo.
The Rum Diary was a Fail.
But the other 'bombs' look a little stronger worldwide:
THe Pirates movies were enormous. Now someone who knows more about the numbers step in..
His movies don't make enough to justify their budget (or his salary). $245 million on a $150 million is a bomb.
Someone on here said twice the budget is about break even? Is that right?
In any event, the movie does look stupid.. Not into the makeup.
Yes R 57 people may have gone to the cinema to see The Tourist but came out of there wishing the hadn't, the same for Rum Diary and Dark Shadows. Eventually the cinema goer will give up on JD as they will remember.
I think the so called 'movie stars' get these movies because the buy the rights and cast themselves in the lead role. Studio's need to stop being 'yes men' to these so called stars.
Pacific Rim is another movie tracking badly.
Pacific Rim looks like another Transformers...simply bad.
The Lone Ranger is getting horrible reviews on Rotten Tomatoes....just scathing!
WW Z was fun, otherwise it's pretty mind knumbing how uncreative and stupid the Hollywood film industry is. I guess guys like Depp can't resist the double digit millions offered to them to put on costumes and ham it up. What a waste.
The last film of "The Lone Ranger" was a turd as well. I remember Jason Robards was in it, but it was unwatchable.
[quote]His movies don't make enough to justify their budget (or his salary). $245 million on a $150 million is a bomb.
Back to the future, Sweetie. it's not 1985 anymore. There are box office grosses, Foreign and Domestic AND Home Video-DVD & Blu-Ray (Retail/Library/RedBox/Video Store), Digital Downloads, Pay Per View - Home/Hotel/Airline, Streaming Fees, Premium Cable, Basic Cable and Network and Syndication income.
R66 - The DVD/Blue Ray market has collapsed. And if you really think those other revenue streams made $150 million then dream on.
I love threads like these where the posters act like they are movie executives expounding and theorizing their potential grosses. LOL!
[quote]Someone on here said twice the budget is about break even? Is that right?
Film profitability is a VERY, VERY hard thing to calculate. Basic rules of thumb are this:
#1: P&A (prints and advertising) is not usually taken into account.
#2: Film budgets don't include things like government rebates (why so many films are made in Mass, Georgia, and New Mexico), or product placement fees which can greatly offset the cost of the production.
#3: Films will take in about 50% of the domestic box office gross and 40% of the international gross.
Read the book "The Hollywood Economist." There's so much smoke and mirrors in the film industry that it's impossible to tell where the money is going.
So Disney shoots itself in the head on Lone Ranger, and they lose a fraction of what Depp and Bruckheimer have made them on Pirates.
In the process they keep both of them happy and ink a deal for 2 or 3 more Pirates--basically they throw away a couple hundred million for at least 5X that amount in years to come, and that isn't even considering Bruckheimer doing National Treasure III.
That's Hollywood math, and if you think it's stupid, sit and ponder how much pissing Matt Damon off cost the studio when he quit the Bourne franchise.
Like John Carter the Lone Ranger is a character from the early 1900's. I can't imagine it could have that much appeal today.
[quote]Poor Armie. He doesn't even get a mention in those articles.
I'm sure he's happy not to be mentioned in articles saying what a turkey this is.
I love that JD is promoted as the lead...including his name above the title.
So obviously a vanity project. They shold have just titled the move "Tonto" and been done with it.
At R70 I loved the first 3 Bourne movie's and Damon was brilliant. They fucked the whole thing up when they hired Renner, it was awful.
What did they do to piss Damon off?
I don't know how some of you have missed seeing the commercials, but I've been seeing this damn 15-20 second clip for at least a month and it very prominently name checks JD AND Armie Hammer. I specifically remember because I was with friends and everyone went who? after the AH name check.
"I love threads like these where the posters act like they are movie executives expounding and theorizing their potential grosses. LOL!"
Oh please come down from Mt. Olympus r68. Have you even met a "movie executive"?
Stop acting as if any of those lucky hustlers aka your "movie executives" know a damn thing about movies. With the amount of financial information out there today, people on this thread certainly know more about film history and the film business than the average Hollywood player.
r76, I've seen the short clip numerous times while watching baseball, which I do with the sound down, because I'm just enjoying the beefcake players. Guess that's why I missed the name checks.
[quote]What did they do to piss Damon off?
In a nutshell, III was supposed to end the series. Money talked so they rushed to develop IV. The early scripts sucked, Paul Greengrass left (not sure if he quit or was fired), and Damon refused to do it without Greengrass directing.
[quote]Is Johnny seen in that white makeup throughout the entire film? If so, it must be because the suits thought it was a solution to doing him in redskin makeup which would have really been offensive.
I think the whiteface makeup is so that people won't notice that 50-year-old Depp is way too old to be playing Tonto.
Depp is like Robert Downey Jr. - two men who have talent but decided to cash in as much as they can with the least amount of effort.
On one level you can't blame them for taking advantage of the Hollywood system, but it's got to take a major creative toll after a while...assuming either of them care.
The trailer looks really bad. Did the director of The Mummy direct this?
RDJ doesn't much care R81. There was a recent story about him in which he basically tells the reporter he'd been waiting and waiting for his time to cash in and finally it happened.
[quote]Did this get greenlit by the same studio suits that brought us John Carter?
Don't be slagging on John Carter, dammit. That was a good movie, with a shitty marketing campaign, and pussies who renamed it at the last minute.
John Carter is one of my favorite movies of last year. It's on HBO/Showtime/Cinemax now, and I've seen it a few times, and it only cements my enjoyment of this flick. It's very well done, well crafted, and worthy of a lot more attention than it got.
One of the most under-rated movies in a long while.
[quote]John Carter is one of my favorite movies of last year.
Well, that settles that.
Not denying John Carter was a financial bomb. But the way so many critics and pundits were so EAGER for it to be a bomb before it ever even debuted... and the crappy marketing... it seemed more like a case of "self-fulfilling prophesy" than anything [italic]deserved[/italic].
I would have loved to see a sequel, and it sucks that a sequel will never happen now.
It's a good solid movie that does its source material proud.
To Julia at r32 : why don't we just agree to blame "The Mexican" on Gandolfini? It's not as if he's going to mind, after all.
That white-faced Tonto makeup is a real turn-off. If you can't rub one out while watching Johnny Depp, what's the point?
Armie Hammer is 6'5"!
Who the hell is 6'5"!?
All the trailers feature the same train footage rearranged in different ways.
I smelled crap months ago.
I thought John Carter was actually pretty good. Nothing amazing, but a decent watch.
And a lot of people, r89.
[quote]Depp is like Robert Downey Jr. - two men who have talent but decided to cash in as much as they can with the least amount of effort.
Truth. I've become less of a fan of both over the last few years because of this. Johnny, in particular, used to be a bit cutting edge, now he's as mainstream as Will Smith.
Count me among those who enjoyed John Carter, with reservations. I liked the story but I thought the romance sucked, partly because for the first time Taylor Kitsch had no sexual chemistry with his leading lady.
And yet, it could succeed.
I'm not rooting for that movie.
It reminds me of the Wild WIld West (movie not TV series).
Johnny Depp looks like he has a dead bird on his head.
But people could flock to it and swallow it all.
Yes, his name is Armie, not Arnie. Armie is short for Armond, as in Armond Hammer, who was, I believe, his grandfather. He comes from serious money.
I believe it's Armand, hence Arm and Hammer baking soda, the source of much of the family money.
I wanna see Johnny Depp with a crow on his head.
Armand Hammer's fortune was from Occidental Petroleum, not Arm & Hammer baking soda.
Fascinating person. Possibly the only person in history to have shaken hands with both Ronald Reagan and Vladimir Lenin.
The UCLA Art Museum is named for Hammer.
[quote]It is often claimed, incorrectly, that the brand name originated with tycoon Armand Hammer, who owned a considerable amount of Church and Dwight stock in the 1980s and served on its board of directors. In fact, Hammer was named after the "Arm and Hammer" symbol of the Socialist Labor Party of America (SLP), in which his father, a committed socialist, had a leadership role at one time. The Arm & Hammer brand was in use some 31 years before Hammer was born, so Hammer's purchase of stock in the company appears to have been either an attempt to get the company to take "his" name off its baking soda or an odd attempt by Hammer to make the persistent claim true rather than having to constantly explain the lack of relation.
The truth is odder than the fiction.
Souped-up Westerns turned into blockbusters are always disastrous: "The Legend of the Lone Ranger," "The Wild, Wild West"... this was misconceived from the get-go. Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter will recover from this, but it's going to be really hard on Armie Hammer's career.
This thread is getting derailed by a few people with bad taste in films. They keep defending "Jon Carter."
Depp was never a talented actor compared to RDJ, and movies like Iron Man, Tropic Thunder and Avengers were way more interesting than anything Depp has done in the last 10 years. I consider working with Joss Whedon still more sophisticated than with Tim Burton. If RDJ would go down that road to make Sherlock Holmes style movies one after another I would be pissed, because these are just money grabs, but I think after both were not critically acclaimed and him being the only interesting thing on them, I doubt we will see another one. He is doing 2 small movies back to back now before he will do Avengers 2 and 3.
Depp is such a pretentious artsy fartsy fake bohemian style celebrity, his persona has nothing to do with the work he does as a (mediocre) actor.
I forgot about the tourist. Depp is supposed to be playing someone pretending to be an average guy, a teacher from Green Bay, and he plays him--- quirky. At one point he complains that he cannot fake an English accent when he was already talking in a semi-faux accent and sounded more European than Midwestern.
I watched Finding Neverland after seeing Pirates. Good movie, and he did not do a bad job, but even that role he was using a lot of tics that he later used for Captain Jack. Not a horrible actor, but has gotten a bit lazy on falling back on his bag of tricks over the years.
106=Demented Joss Wheedon Fanboy. Beware.
R108 - someone with a bad taste in movies
I saw a preview last night - it's extremely disappointing.
Tell us more, R110 .
The Sherlock Holmes films are terrible.
I have no idea about The Lone Ranger but to praise the Sherlock Holmes films....it's ridiculous.
The story unfolds very very slowly and it jumps all over the place. The action scenes are pretty lame, especially in terms of what audiences today expect. Johnny's good when he's being funny, but you walk away saying "that should have been so much better."
I'm still a fan of Depp's but I've lost most of my respect for Downey.
The expensive film, 47 Ronin will come out at Christmas, very expensive and not much hope for it.
I have no idea why The Lone Ranger would be such an expensive film to make? They used to make westerns on a shoe string.
R112 If you are referring to my R106 post, please go back to school and learn how to read and understand. I never said the Sherlock films were great, they suck actually. RDJ probably just did them so his producer wife could make some money.
Thank you R113.
Will avoid it then.
R108/R109, no need to fight. Both RDJ's and Depps' movies are crap.
This is 2013 in the great U.S. of A. where everyone is expected to be into whatever they're doing for the money. Why should actors be the exception?
The idiots are the people who continue to flock to the worn-out franchises.
'LONE RANGER' Opens to Disastrous Numbers... Developing...
Also opening last night Disney’s The Lone Ranger starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer and directed by Gore Verbinski began with an unimpressive $2M late shows. But tracking has been stronger than expected with Disney expecting $65M for the 5-day and around $40M for the 3-day although lousy reviews won’t help. Now the very real question is whether the actioner will be able to cover its high $215M-$259M cost when it opens wide today in 3,904 domestic theaters and internationally. Depp’s worldwide popularity should help pic overseas where Westerns don’t usually perform.
Best bad review yet:
[bold][italic]Lone Ranger[/italic] is Johnny Depp's tribute to shitty superhero origin films[/bold]
Lone Ranger appears to be many things, including: 1) A mistaken attempt to revamp a 1950s cowboy show for 21st-century audiences. 2) A Pirates of the Caribbean film where Captain Jack has a bird on his head. But really, it's a celebration of craptastic origin stories, that takes them to their ultimate level of crap.
People complain that The Lone Ranger is boring, that it's almost totally devoid of fun except for the final 10 minutes, that it's ridiculously violent and yet inert. And all of these things are true — but you have to understand, it's all part of a calculated strategy, to sink far enough to burrow all the way to the infarcted heart of the terrible superhero origin story.
The goal is to show you who is to blame for the crappiness of so many superhero origin movies — you — and to punish you for allowing movies like The Lone Ranger to exist.
In The Lone Ranger, Armie Hammer plays a stuffy lawyer, who chases after some outlaws and apparently dies in an ambush, only to come back as a stuffy crime-fighter. Johnny Depp is Tonto, a Native American who urges Hammer to wear a mask and fulfill his heroic destiny — in this film, Depp is basically Obi-Wan and Robin rolled into one, which is as weird as it sounds.
The actual plot of the movie revolves around a silver mine, and control over the transcontinental railroad, and the local Native Americans being framed for murder. But it's really the heroic journey of the masked man, with Tonto serving as the magical Native American who helps the Lone Ranger to realize that he's special and wonderful. Meanwhile, a lot of Native Americans have to die, on screen, in a bloody and horrible way, to provide the crucible for this lonely ranger to become the Lone Ranger.
But we're just scratching the surface here. Are you ready to go down the carnivorous rabbit hole?
[bold]What you mean 'Wheeeeeee,' white man?[/bold]
You expect certain things from a Disney movie, from the director and star of the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies. In particular, you expect a fast pace, lots of zany set pieces, funny stunts, Johnny Depp being a sexually ambiguous Keith Richards, CG beasties, and a bit of slap and tickle. Basically, you expect an amusement park ride turned into a movie. Lone Ranger knows this, and deliberately turns this expectation against you, as an instrument of torture.
The Lone Ranger actually starts with someone entering a carnival, or basically a 1920s amusement park, in search of a fun ride. Only to be disappointed.
The little white kid, wearing a mask like the Lone Ranger's, enters a Wild West attraction — but instead of excitement, he finds Johnny Depp in old-man makeup, pretending to be a stuffed figure in a diorama labeled "The Noble Savage." This is the framing device for the entire movie, Old Tonto telling his story to the hero-worshiping kid.
Having signaled that the "amusement park ride" thing was a bait-and-switch, the movie goes on to make sure we loathe the little kid that Tonto is telling the story. Except that soon, we realize that the most annoying child in the West is an audience surrogate. He is us, and we are him. The kid's job is to help us develop the proper amount of self-loathing by association, because it's not enough for us to suffer. We have to understand that we deserve to suffer.
Outside of the framing story, the film is painfully slow, and beautifully shot. The high-seas adventure of Pirates of the Caribbean is replaced with the desolate, unforgiving mountain-and-desert vistas of the West. Every few minutes there's a stately shot of a crag or a gully, even as the movie's story develops at the pace of soil erosion. The very landscape mocks your foolish expectation of fun.
Against this backdrop, the movie flails at a storyline in which Tonto keeps insisting that "nature is out of balance," because of the crimes of the white outlaws who are secretly but obviously in league with all the white authority figures in the movie. Backing this up, we see weird monster rabbits with big carnivorous fangs, which eat through anything in their path. And there's a magical white "spirit horse," which apparently marks the Lone Ranger for greatness, and saves him a couple times.
So is it true that nature is out of balance and the Lone Ranger has been chosen by a magical horse? Unclear. We see some stuff in the movie that appears to be supernatural, including a bit where someone touches a rock and has visions. And the monster bunnies. But Tonto's fellow Native Americans think Tonto is just crazy and guilt-ridden, from Tonto's own complicity with evil white men.
Considering that the whole movie is a story that Tonto is telling years later, it scarcely matters. This is Tonto's story, as told by Tonto — and yet, he remains a cipher.
Depp is doing the same Charlie Chaplin shuffle as Tonto that he does as Captain Jack. But his main comedy device is actually the dead bird on his head, that he keeps trying to feed birdseed to over and over again. Depp puts a lot into doing his clown-face over and over again, as he tries to forcefeed a dead corvid, and meanwhile his comic timing is slowed down to a crawl as the movie lurches from scenes of mass slaughter to wacky "we're robbing a bank for justice" montages.
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.
A central trope of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies is that there's no place for Captain Jack Sparrow in the modern world of the British Empire and progress and stuff. The Lone Ranger transplants that idea — lots of people talk about the Future, as represented by the railroad and big business, and there's no place in the Future for someone like Tonto. And that Future, the one that Tonto is struggling against, is the world we live in, man.
Even though Tonto is telling the story and Tonto drives all of the action in the story, he's not the one who gets a real arc, and the movie isn't his origin story — it's about the titular character, the Lone Ranger. And it's the Lone Ranger's heroic journey where the film shows why you deserve to languish for two and a half hours that feel like an eternity.
[bold]Who the fuck does that masked man think he is?[/bold]
Imagine a Batman movie where people keep asking Batman why he's dressed as a freaking bat. And where Batman himself keeps looking embarrassed and telling everyone that he knows the bat costume is moronic, but it wasn't his idea. That's The Lone Ranger.
As far as I can tell, the main arc of this film is about the Lone Ranger learning the importance of wearing his mask. Almost the first words Johnny Depp speaks in the film are, "Never take off the mask."
The Lone Ranger spends most of the movie wearing the mask reluctantly, and at various points in the film he tries to take it off. Nobody apart from Tonto takes the mask seriously, until the end of the film. The hero's journey in this film, from the call to heroism to the final confrontation with the mean surrogate father, is all about the Lone Ranger embracing the mask that Tonto wants him to wear.
What makes the Lone Ranger finally embrace the need for his mask, and hence the whole "secret identity" thing? In a nutshell, he realizes his fellow white men are corrupt, and complicit in the mass murder of Tonto's fellow Native Americans. If he takes the mask off, then he too will wind up becoming complicit. Yes, that's right — in this film, the Lone Ranger's mask is made of White Guilt.
And in fact, the only function the Native Americans in this film have, other than Tonto, is to die horribly so that the Lone Ranger will have a catalyst to make him Man Up.
But it's more than that. We tend to think of superhero movies as power fantasies, in which the use of America's status as a superpower is reflected by the hero struggling to use his or her power responsibly. But Lone Ranger seems to be making the case that the real seductive fantasy of these stories is absolution from blame — the Lone Ranger gets the Native American seal of approval from Tonto, as long as he's wearing the mask. He gets surcease from America's original sin.
That's the secret of superheroes, according to this film: Peter Parker is a Tool of the Man, but Spider-Man is a free agent. Bruce Wayne is a capitalist running dog, but Batman fights for the little guy.
And that's why you deserve to suffer. Because a lot of innocent people had to die to make your costume fantasy possible, you bastards.
Along the way, we go through every terrible origin-story trope, including the sacrificial family member, the love interest who-can-look-after-herself-but-not-really, the hero being told how special he is, the cartoony but bland villains, etc. There's even a Fetish Babe: Helena Bonham Carter plays a sexy bordello madam, whose superpower is being a fetish icon. (She has an artificial leg made of ivory, with a gun hidden inside, and men are so busy worshipping her artificial leg, they don't notice she's shooting everything. I am not making a word of that up.)
In Depp and Verbinski's previous collaboration, Rango, they spoofed and interrogated the whole idea of the Hero's Journey — but here they go one better. They create the Platonic ideal of the crappy monomyth, maybe in the hopes that nobody will ever try and tell this story again.
In any case, by the time you stagger out of this endless nightmare, you will feel as aged and destroyed as Johnny Depp in his old-man makeup. And you will know that you have been the hose of the high colonic that this film has given America. You will understand the American hero fantasy and its dreadful underpinnings. And you'll realize just why you're to blame for The Lone Ranger.
[quote]But his main comedy device is actually the dead bird on his head, that he keeps trying to feed birdseed to over and over again.
Wow, not only is he doing a "Black Face" of a Native American, he's playing him really stupid.
[quote]I consider working with Joss Whedon still more sophisticated than with Tim Burton.
This is a simple statement of fact, not any sign of being a Whedon fanboy.
In fact, I used to be a Burton fanboy, but every single one of his recent movies has sucked out loud.
Whedon is currently more interesting than Burton. Period.
Before I, along with the rest of America, get blamed for The Lone Ranger, as the article suggests, I want to know who thought that reviving The Lone Ranger, which should have been left in peace in its 1950's form, would ever, in a million years, be a good idea?
r128, media corporations buy up lots of intellectual property. Every once in a while they go through their inventory looking for potential new revenue streams. One thing leads to another and suddenly an old radio
radio show that used to be done for ten cents out of a studio in Detroit is a zillion dollar Johnny Depp vehicle.
Yep, weird choice to revive the Lone Ranger.
When people can surf the internet and read about the real histories of Indians, outlaws, and cowboys why pay a small fortune to see some contrived, cornball, politically correct drivel?
This piece sheds some light on that R128. Essentially, whatever Johnny wants, Johnny gets.
[quote]According to a Vanity Fair article published in the fall of 2011, at which point Depp was the highest-paid actor on earth, an epic gross-profit-sharing deal Depp brokered with the studio netted him roughly $300 million. The coddling puff piece also quotes Depp as saying that the "stupid money" is "ultimately for the kids" a sentiment that seems as vulgar as it does disingenuous...but when unsavory headlines surface, like his recent exit from the Whitney Bulger mob movie "Black Mass," it's near-impossible not to raise an eyebrow. Depp reportedly walked because he won't accept any less than $20 million a picture, a figure that would have comprised a third of the "Black Mass" budget.
[quote]It's deeply unsettling to think that, beneath all those daring nineties projects with true film artists, what was brewing in a seemingly incorruptible and exploratory performer was an ego the size of a pirate ship.
[quote]If you make it to "The Lone Ranger," keep your eye on Depp, and watch how fully he's gotten his paycheck-pocketing routine down to a science. Grumble, grimace, quip, jump, joke, stand tall, repeat. Depp's no longer just part of the Hollywood machine, he's become a Hollywood machine.
Well R132 he has to make a shit lad of money to keep the gold diggar oops I mean Amber Heard happy.
I just saw it.
They best way I can describe it is that it's a well-filmed amalgamation of terrible ideas.
And the most racist big-budget film since Episode I. Verbinski even managed to shoehorn a greedy, scheming Jew in there!
Armie was delicious though.
Was there many people in your theater, r134?
I would say Bruckheimer is starting to show signs of a syphilitic brain disorder.
R135 No, the theater was mostly empty but it was a 4 PM show.
It will crash and burn this weekend, I can't picture anyone walking out of this movie and saying, "Hey, that was great!" This is going to be a legendary flop.
BTW, does anyone think Deadline is softballing the pic's poor performance? Is Nikki in Disney's pocket?
Deadline just lowered the film's opening estimate from $65M to $55M!
BTW, Armie's gorgeous chest and nips do not make an appearance in the movie, so if that's what you were hoping to see, don't bother!
That bird on Tonto's head turned out to be an albatross.
@ R125 the most shocking thing was that they thought Depp needed old man make up.
Apparently Depp's off the booze. Doesn't he realise that at the age of 50 it's too late to quit, the damage is done.
Just how low will this vile creature Depp sink. His movie is a big bomb so he wheels out Amber and his kids to sell a few cinema tickets. I bet he got the studio to pay for their trip as well.
He knows that the media will want to see him with Amber so that will create a big buzz of publicity and using his kids for promotional work is bad.
What does Depp have on the the media. He does this and still gets good publicity. The media are billing it as an exciting adventure for the kids. WTF they spent 2 days in Japan they won't have got to see anything in that time, then they are flown on to Germany. All I see if a couple of jet lagged kids trying to prop up their dad's faling career and reputation.
I haven't seen THE LONE RANGER, and I'm not planning to. But I did see MAN OF STEEL, and I'd describe THAT movie as "the single most punishing experience I've had in a theater so far this year." Yet, it's a huge hit, proving that the public will lap up garbage if it's marketed well. Very depressing.
Hopefully Depp's career is over. He was never a good actor and he never was interesting on screen, he had the charisma of a soggy slice of bread and is phoney as hell. Most A-listers - Cruise, Clooney, Pitt, Affleck, Di Caprio, Smith - bore me to death.
@ R145 I can recall watching him and Tim Burton on a British talk show a few years ago, I forget which one but I think it was The Graham Norton show. They were the only two guests. They were BORING!!!
I bet Depp is so pissed this morning. He does not wheel Amber out on the red carpet but does ensure that they are photographed by the paps going for dinner together afterward, that should just about be enough to get his flop movie publicity when hey presto Kate goes into labour with the new edition to the Royal Family and Depp is old news.
Apparently JD is not telling anyone who will listen in interviews that he is considering quitting acting. Is this just a desperate attempt to get people to see his next movie? Is it just like a group/band who have had their day who announce a 'farewell tour' to ensure that they sell tickets.
I don't believe JD for one minute, especially as he has already signed up for Pirates 101 and somethine else.
He has 4 movies in the pipeline - 4 more of this boring ugly guy. Sick to think what other great actors and directors could do with the money that is being wasted on his lame projects. He is already stinking rich, he does not need a 2nd island. I bet the relationship with Heard is an arranged one. She helps him promote his movies, keeps him in the news and in return he helps her with her career. No way in hell is a halfway intelligent woman even remotely romantically interested in a sourpuss like Depp.
Could tell this was a bomb just by looking at it. Who wants to watch a Western these days?
This was by far the biggest bomb of the year, since somehow its costs skyrocketed to $250million. How did they ever think it was going to make money?