It’s a movie on people’s lips more for a disappointing box office than for reasons to go see it. But here’s why you should come late to the party and still buy a ticket.
“Why was this Western so slow on the draw? After all, despite all the bad reviews from critics and the negative buzz about the bloated budget, the movie earned a solid B+ at CinemaScore, indicating positive word-of-mouth among those who saw it. But that was only if you could get them into the theater first,” wrote film critic Gary Susman.
A recent review of the movie in the New Yorker stated the film deserves better. Critics have been vocal in not liking the mix of comedy and violent action. The New Yorker noted there were flaws, but said:
“There are plenty of things right with it, too — more than enough to reward a couple of hours in the dark. Like a good many such exercises in Hollywood gigantism in this bright dawn of the age of C.G.I., when almost anything that can be imagined can be portrayed, ‘The Lone Ranger’ overflows with astounding, astoundingly detailed visual spectacle.”
One criticism is that Johnny Depp’s Tonto is too much like Captain Jack Sparrow of “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Beyond the humor and hair length, the two characters seem quite different. Perhaps it’s the black eye makeup that people can’t get past.
Sadly, after a number of critics drubbed the movie for it’s July opening, it appeared moviegoers weren’t willing to see for themselves.
At the Lakes 12 Theatre Saturday one customer said she wasn’t going to the “Lone Ranger” because she heard so many negative comments and heard Tonto was basically a Commanche version of Sparrow.
“I suppose if you saw or you felt Jack Sparrow in there, here’s the thing that people forget, I guess,” Depp said at the “Lone Ranger” Berlin premiere. “It’s the same entity, it all comes from my unfortunate brain so if you see or recognize something of Jack Sparrow then I think what you’re seeing is me. I mean all the characters, there’s something of course in there, the basis of those characters is me, the truth it comes from me so no I didn’t feel like Tonto, I thought that Tonto was the polar opposite of Jack Sparrow.”
To be fair, the reviews have been mixed but the negative ones appear to be the ones that stick in people’s minds. On the Internet Movie Database, reviews give the movie 6.7 out of 10 stars, not that different than the overwhelmingly attended “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies. At Rotten Tomatoes, while 27 percent of critics liked the move, 63 percent of regular moviegoers gave it at least 3.5 starts out of 5.
As of this past weekend, the “Lone Ranger” has taken in $81 million in the U.S. and is still opening in markets in Europe and Asia. Without making hundreds of millions, certainly the movie won’t see the anticipated franchise opportunities for sequels. Numerous box office predictors expect it to be a financial loss for Disney. That’s too bad. It would have been interesting to see the relationship grow and the hero’s journey progress for John Reid and Tonto.
At Rotten Tomatoes, the over/under on the movie was that stars Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp “make for an appealing pair of leads” but not enough to make up for bland script, bloated length and action overkill.
Action overkill? These are the same critics who gave a 56 percent of approval for “Man of Steel” with uninspiring destruction of Metropolis and Smallville and 72 percent approval for “Pacific Rim” a movie they said had more style than substance. Moviegoers turned out for both in larger numbers than “The Lone Ranger.”
In “Man of Steel,” the latest Superman entry, there was plenty of mindless action and little chemistry between Lois and Clark. If Superman was saving Metropolis and Smallville, it was hard to tell. The movie cost $225 million to make, had nearly the same running time as “The Lone Ranger” and wasn’t nearly as entertaining. But “Man of Steel” took in $283,686,000 million domestically and nearly $622 million worldwide since its release in June. It is already expected to produce sequels and be part of a Batman/Superman joint movie venture.
At a recent “The Lone Ranger” matinee, moviegoers laughed at the humor and comedic moments and appeared to enjoy the action. It is hard not to smile in the dark when the William Tell Overture starts in earnest for a rousing, action-packed ending. The movie was actually even better on the second viewing.
It is beautifully shot, has exceptional real action sequences without a robot or extra-terrestrial in sight. Monument Valley serves as a spectacular backdrop. It’s made to be seen on the big screen. Is it perfect? No. But once it’s on Bluray and DVD, it’s hard to imagine there won’t be a large number of moviegoers who end up wondering why they didn’t give “The Lone Ranger” a chance.
To have “Man of Steel” rake in so many more summer viewers when “The Lone Ranger” is just what summer should offer in a popcorn movie matinee — now that’s an injustice.