The Lone Ranger Movie Review
On a Pirates of the Caribbean scale, The Lone Ranger is most definitely at the Dead Man's Chest end of the spectrum. And back around to At World's End. Boring, agonizingly long and somewhat racist, The Lone Ranger reunites Johnny Depp with director Gore Verbinski for an epic tale of western clichés, blackface/whiteface Johnny Depp and carnivorous bunny rabbits.
At two-and-a-half hours long, The Lone Ranger's greatest accomplishment is making the story feel twice as long. The movie begins for some pointless reason with a pointless scene involving a little kid at a carnival and a really old Tonto, who for some reason is hanging out in a Wild West museum exhibit. The rest of the movie is told in flashback, an ominous sign.
Had Verbinski cut the framing scenes from the movie, he would have shaved off at least 10 minutes from the film's running time while causing literally zero impact to its story.
Then again, story was of seeming little importance to Verbinski and gang.
Verbinski appears to have approached this movie assuming that with a $200 million budget and Depp at his disposal, everything else would work itself out. The Lone Ranger is a muddled mess, with more care given to special effects and Johnny Depp doing Johnny Depp things than plot or entertainment value. The story meanders without much care for pacing or building suspense, opting instead for Tonto and his masked pal to get into a variety of bland situations and arguing with one another.
Armie Hammer plays the forgettable title character, though it's hardly his fault; Tonto is the real hero and the more interesting of the two, the guy who gets the funny lines and solves the duo's repetitive issues. John Reid/The Lone Ranger is largely an idiot and incapable of doing much of anything, at least until the film's climax.
The climax, by the way, is the only good part of the movie. Zany, ridiculously over the top and charged with the Lone Ranger theme song, the climax is fun, funny and entertaining.
If only the rest of the movie had the same energy, it could have been something. Alas, that was not to be. The action is surprisingly sporadic and yet consistently mediocre. The movie lacks a sense of adventure. It also isn't nearly as funny or clever as it thinks it is.
Simply put, The Long Ranger is a terribly dull movie. It has its moments, but moments are meaningless in such a long movie. At least Verbinski has almost as much fun slaughtering Native Americans (while white people are miraculously spared) as Depp does playing a "savage" with a painted face. At least there are carnivorous bunnies.
P.S. If you want to see a good western directed by Verbinski and starring Johnny Depp, you only have to look two years back to the animated film Rango.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.