Director Gore Verbinski's The Lone Ranger will be quite a lonely film at the theatres this weekend, if critics are to be believed. The much anticipated cult westerner starring Armie Hammer as the protagonist (or at least the character after whom the film is titled) and larger than life Johnny Depp has failed to impress.
With a painful 149-minute long running time, the film has successfully managed to annoy some. As Christopher Orr writes in The Atlantic, "Somewhere around the hour-and-a-half mark, The Lone Ranger makes the fateful decision not to end. Worse, the movie keeps not-ending for another full hour."
From Orr's point of view, you miss the fun in the film thanks to the long lone ride.
"But while it's not a good movie, neither is it quite the total train wreck implied by many reviews. (It does, however, wreck more than its share of trains.) The film has plenty of weaknesses-an unevenness of tone, a surfeit of plot convolutions, some problematic political echoes-but its central flaw is that it is absurdly, punishingly overlong."
Liam Lacey chides the film in Globe and Mail for confusing more and delivering less.
"Throughout, forced comedy and violent excesses are jammed together: The Lone Ranger's horse, Silver, for example, is a magical creature that can apparently levitate, which seems designed to appeal to children. But if so, how does that jibe with a scene of Cavendish carving a man's heart out of his chest and eating it? Is this for fans of My Little Pony or The Silence of the Lambs?"
Rene Rodriguez, however has no confusions whatsoever. Butchering the film, Rodriguez notes in Miami.com," The tone is all over the place, wildly veering from broad comedy to surprisingly dark horror - a sign there was never a guiding vision behind the picture other than a movie poster and Depp's bankability. And for all its attempts at historical relevance (the story explores everything from the exploitation of Chinese workers to build the railroads to Native American genocide), there's no gravity or weight to anything in The Lone Ranger. " Ouch!
So is there no hope at all? Well, if you are a die-hard Johnny Depp fan (the sorts who wouldn't mind a paradigm shift in the narrative) then all is not lost for you.
Peter Howell writes in The Star noting how the film revolves around Depp and not Lone Ranger Hammer, "But shouldn't these Lone Ranger arrangers have decided whether they were doing send-up or serious? And shouldn't they have called the film Tonto, since it's really all about him?"
And if you love the classic westerner, it would probably do you good to skip this one.
Perhaps the only point of redemption for the film comes via Forbes' critic Mark Hughes. Hughes wites, "This film manages to maintain the modern sensibilities that present a more realistic depiction of the relationship between white settlers and Indian nations, but also utilizes more oldschool traditional western action-adventurism of the sort that has been largely forgotten in the last couple of decades. Gunfights, horse chases, train robberies, everything is here, and it's all done with attention to detail, superb stunt work, and great visual effects."
To each his (or her) own, eh? But this is no Last of the Mohicans in any case!