Directed by Gore Verbinski, written by Justin Haythe, Ted Elliott, and Terry Rossio, starring Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, Tom Wilkinson, Helena Bonham Carter, and William Fichtner - Rated PG-13
This is slightly above a "meh."
I've pretty much taken off the last month as far as reviewing movies is concerned, and I have no real excuse for you. I haven't been busy, and nothing major has happened in my personal life. I simply haven't been motivated to write anything, reviews or otherwise. Now, inexplicably, I feel like writing again, so I wanted to start with The Lone Ranger.
In all honestly, I had very little intention of watching this movie before it came to HBO. I remember reading about it being shut down before it even started filming, and I thought that was probably a good idea. No matter how big the draw of Johnny Depp, a film version of a franchise that has been dead longer than most intended viewers have been alive is not a great idea. (Of course, hindsight is 20/20, and I would not have mentioned my initial thoughts if this film had turned out to be a success.)
But the film eventually got the green light, and the rest is unfortunate Hollywood history. The fact that it bombed is what made me want to see it. Last year's John Carter was a high profile bomb, and I ended up loving that movie. So maybe the same would be true of this.
In short, I did not like this nearly as much as John Carter. I didn't hate The Lone Ranger, but it doesn't surprise me that most people do hate it or simply don't care about it. First, it's a western. I love westerns, but they are few and far between because they don't make a lot of money. As far as westerns go, this is too much Wild Wild West and not enough Tombstone for my tastes, but it's still nice to get my western fix in. (And to be clear, this is not nearly as ridiculous and horrible as Wild Wild West. No giant robot spiders in this film...)
Second, and more importantly, the film is kind of a mess. It's too long (at nearly two and a half hours) and tries to cram too much story into that running time. I was never all that confused (thanks to a framing device in which a child asks all the questions the audience might have), but I didn't really care about all of the stuff going on. The moments when some people get their comeuppence meant nothing to me. In fact, I had a hard time deciding if there were any characters that I wanted to survive or die.
Despite plot issues and generally not caring about anybody onscreen, I still sort of enjoyed this one. The action is big and expensive, and it's nice to see a western. Also, it has Johnny Depp. I like Depp, so I liked most of the moments that were meant to be funny. I thought the character ventured too far into Jack Sparrow country every now and then (feeding the bird, for example), but for the most part I enjoyed the performance. As for Armie Hammer, well, he's Armie Hammer, that bland, handsome guy that doesn't really matter. He's a fine actor, but aside from playing the Winklevi, his roles haven't been very interesting.
Depp playing a Native American has left many people upset, but I doubt that that it was factored into the film's success. It certainly didn't affect my opinion of the film. Sure, it seems a bit silly to have Depp play a Native American, but in general the Natives are treated as the wronged people who deserve to strike back at the white settlers. Regardless, the controversy gets to die now since the film is not likely to spawn a sequel.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie, as long as I didn't try to get too involved in the story. I'll probably never watch it again, but I don't regret watching it once. It is still a western after all, and I'll take whatever I can get. Unfortunately, due to this film's box office, I won't likely get a chance to see another western for quite some time.
Glad to see Jeff Bridges isn't the only one getting mileage out of his True Grit accent. Barry Pepper pretty much sounds just like his character from that western.
I had no idea what was going on with Helena Bonham Carter. Her scene was the equivalent of the visit to the voodoo lady in the Pirates movies, except she's just a prostitute...with an ivory leg? Not going to lie, I paid almost no attention to that scene because I just didn't care. In fact, all that scene did was confuse me because I assumed it meant Carter's husband Tim Burton had directed the film when I know it was directed by Gore Verbinsky. So much confusion...