Thursday, July 4, 2013

In Theatres: The Lone Ranger (2013)

Even the best creative minds can make bad decisions.

Director Gore Verbinski's take on "The Lone Ranger" is a total farce. This is clearly not your father's Lone Ranger, much less your grandfather's. The story that everyone knows is buried under nearly 2 1/2 hours of padded folly designed as a star vehicle not for Armie Hammer, who has the title role, but rather Johnny Depp, whom Verbinski directed in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series. Worse, Depp's Tonto is more of a poser than Hammer's John Reid, aka the Lone Ranger. We've all seen the trailers and commercials for the movie, which presents Tonto with black & white face paint and a stuffed crow atop his head. That is not Tonto!!! The story is told in flashbacks, framed by an elderly Tonto (Depp again) haltingly, haphazardly recalling the adventure for a young Lone Ranger fan. I'm sorry, but that is an insult to a franchise that is 80-something years old.

Even the outlaw Butch Cavendish is mistreated in this movie, given a disfigured appearance that I don't recall seeing in previous interpretations. There are some funny moments, all of them involving the Ranger & Tonto, but this isn't supposed to be a comedy. The three jabronies who wrote this fool's parade and Verbinski should all apply to have credit turned over to "Alan Smithee", this was so bad.

Three times now, in the last 32 years, Hollywood has tried to revive the Ranger, and has failed all three times. 1981's "Legend of the Lone Ranger" tried to remain true to the source material, but was a box office flop. A 2003 TV-movie was another mistake, completely disassociating the Ranger from his spiritual descendant, The Green Hornet, with Chad Michael Murray (One Tree Hill) as someone named Luke Hartman. Excuse me? Seems I was lucky not to have seen either one of those films, and the 2003 movie seems to be a cipher now.

The trailers were worth more of my time. To wit:

"Pacific Rim" (next week): WB & Legendary Pictures' "other" summer blockbuster.
"R.I.P.D." (July 19): Ryan Reynolds & Jeff Bridges as undead detectives. Think of it as "Dead Heat" crossed with "Men in Black".

"The Wolverine" (July 26): Hugh Jackman returns as everyone's favorite X-Man.
"Thor: The Dark World" (November): Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, & Anthony Hopkins continue the Thunder God's story.
"Red 2" (July 19): Hopkins & Catherine Zeta-Jones join Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, & Helen Mirren as Warren Ellis' comic book merits a sequel.

"Battle of the Year" (September): If you've seen MTV's Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew, you get the idea, except that this one's on a global scale. No sign of Mario Lopez, though.

"Delivery Man" (November): Vince Vaughn as a man whose life is turned upside down when he learns just how many kids he fathered via artifical insemination. Thor will blow this loser away.

And, now, as a public service, the "Lone Ranger" trailer:

Rating: D-.

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