Critics who have seen The Lone Ranger, which will be available for the rest of us to see on Wednesday July 3, have all been unanimous in their reaction to the film. They have panned the film and gone as far as to predict that it will be box office poison. And Bloomberg have said it will be an even bigger dud than Disney’s other “big budget” blockbuster fiasco, John Carter.
Two writers from Deadspin have looked into their crystal ball and foreseen that The Lone Ranger is going to be a massive “box office bomb.” The two felt so strongly about it they wrote an article titled, “You Should Absolutely Not See ‘The Lone Ranger.'”
Of course this isn’t the first time that The Lone Ranger has been adapted for the big screen. In 1981, the masked man was brought to the silver screen by William A. Fraker and it starred Klinton Spilsbury, Michael Horse and Christopher Lloyd.
It was based on the story of The Lone Ranger, the same Western character created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker that features in this newest version of the TV avenger. Unfortunately before one frame of film was seen by moviegoers, the film’s producers outraged fans by not allowing actor Clayton Moore to wear the character’s mask when making public appearances.
Clayton Moore was television’s Lone Ranger and the petty move by the producers guaranteed that the film lost at least half of its intended audience. The other half were put off when it was learned that the dialogue of the leading man Klinton Spilsbury was dubbed by another actor. This one-two combination resulted in the film being a huge flop.
It so traumatised Spilsbury that he’s never acted in anything else.
According to all those critics who, rather amazingly, agree that the film is overly expensive dross, they also reckon that the film is too long. (149 minutes of Captain Jack Sparrow dressed up as a Native American sidekick) The critics all agree as well that the film has “strayed” too far from the source material. Presumably they’re speaking of the film being told from Tonto’s point of view. Which, as was pointed out in a previous article, makes sense considering that Gore Verbinski and Jerry Bruckheimer are both Johnny Depp supporters; go team Sparrow!
But is The Lone Ranger going to be box office poison? Just because the critics who have seen the film have panned it, does that make the film any less attractive to the “common” movie goer? Perhaps not, but they all make a pretty convincing argument.
There have also been accusations of Disney just making the film in order to turn it into an amusement park ride. An accusation that doesn’t seem all that ridiculous when you take into account that Pirates of the Caribbean was made from an amusement park ride.
The other problem, odd how the Pirates of the Caribbean keep cropping up in the debate, is Cap’n Jack himself, Johnny Depp. The critics all say that his rendition of Tonto is just another tired variation on his quirky Jack Sparrow without the Keith Richards accent. Point taken. Other’s are calling The Lone Ranger Pirates of the Caribbean five…or is it six, now?
Various critics have likened The Lone Ranger to a “weeble” by saying that it “thrashes and wobbles all over the place.” Another has said that it is a $250 million bloated western comedy that feels like watching an “elephant dance in your living room.”
The theme of displeasure continues from many. Too long; too much Tonto; too much action and not enough of a logical plot; too much makeup on Johnny Depp’s face; well you get the idea. It’s too much and, as Keith Uhlich from Time Out New York says, “not enough” at the same time.
Perhaps the most scathing attack on the film comes from Variety’s Peter Debruge who said, “By the film’s climax…what began as an elegantly epic, potentially realistic retelling of the Lone Ranger legend has devolved into Wile E. Coyote-style cartoon shenanigans.”
Beep, beep, anyone?
After such a dearth of bad reviews and overall negative feelings for the film it makes the idea of watching it seem quite painful. But it must be seen. If for no other reason than to see what all that money went on besides Depp’s salary. It stands to reason that Armie Hammer’s salary didn’t eat up too much of the budget and if the film bombs too badly, his salary for his next film won’t break the bank either.
With overall panning of The Lone Ranger and the consensus that it will be box office poison, it’s tempting to wait for the DVD and that way if the film is really that bad, you’ve not spent a fortune to be disappointed.
By Michael Smith