Perhaps the tepid, if not vicious, reviews have not yet swayed you from seeing The Lone Ranger this weekend. Perhaps your sincere, stalkerish love of Johnny Depp makes you think that anything he is in is worth seeing. Perhaps you think that since it’s directed by Gore Verbinski (who helmed Rango and The Pirates of the Caribbean), this too will be fun and enjoyable. Well, you would be mistaken. The Lone Ranger is a bloated, random, weird, violent mess of a movie that would be best viewed as a rental (if at all). Here’s why:
The script and plot are nonsensical.
Yes, Johnny Depp plays a Comanche Indian. And yes the movie is filled with stereotypical characters. But the biggest travesty is the script. The plot relies on an old, craggy Tonto (here, “The Noble Savage” in a Wild West carnival attraction) telling a story to a young boy. Though we assume this tale is a tall one, that fact is never clearly laid out. Instead, we have a story that randomly involves carnivorous, fanged bunnies, a white horse that somehow can put on a hat, a bird hat, and a madam that has a gun built into her fake, ivory leg.
It is way too long.
Two hours and 29 minutes. Ridiculous.
This Lone Ranger is not for kids.
The original ’50s TV series inspired kids to put on masks, pretend they were riding a white horse and yell “hi-yo Silver, away!” The newest has no idea who its target audience is.
Johnny Depp plays another Johnny Depp character.
What I wouldn’t give to see Johnny Depp portray a real character again. Not someone (or something) that requires make-up, an accent, and affected mannerisms. True, his Tonto is more restrained than some of his past roles, but his performance here is still mostly flash. It’s what I imagine Gromit (a la Wallace and Gromit) would be like if he actually had speaking lines.
Tonto’s crow hat.
There is more character development and background story for Tonto’s weird crow hat than for half the characters in the movie. (And, seriously, there are too many close-ups of Tonto “feeding” the damn thing.)
It is shockingly violent.
People are choked, shot, stabbed, scalped, disemboweled, have their heads crushed by a beam, and, in one startling instance, have their hearts eaten by another character. While the actual gore is thankfully never shown (usually it’s suggested, or in shadow or reflection), it accumulates well beyond a typical PG-13 film. And as others have reported, it feels even more disturbing as the movie weaves disconcertingly back and forth between violence and lighter, comedic elements.
Armie Hammer’s teeth are really white.
Granted, his dazzling, Winklevossian grin is perfectly dashing. (And not a reason to not see the movie.) But set against the backdrop of the Old West, with other actors sporting “period” teeth, his smile is a strange distraction.