Jerry Bruckheimer has been combining over-complicated plots with hacky, hammy “jokes” for the better part of 20 years now, making movies that consistently exemplify all the worst trends in big budget filmmaking, yet he always seems to skate by on the charisma of his lead actors. But with budget estimates for Bruckheimer’s The Lone Ranger running higher than $250 million, it will be interesting to see what audiences think it when it opens this week. Because so far, the critics haaaate it. In fact, you might say that the hate has been almost Shyamalan-esque.
Some of the common threads among the haters (and even the defenders) include a scene where William Fichtner’s bad guy cuts out someone’s heart and eats it (despite it being a PG-13 Disney movie), a general mess of tone, an unnecessary framing device that finds a 100-year-old Tonto delivering the story via flashback to some kid, and a 149-minute running time.
This film is a catastrophe of tone, a truly tortured screenplay that seems embarrassed by its central character, and at two-and-a-half hours, it may be the single most punishing experience I’ve had in a theater so far this year.
… a terrible film by any standards.
…grim, ugly, and deeply unpleasant. -HitFix
Both joyless and seemingly endless. -TheWrap
An indigestible swill of forced humour and oversized, overbearing action sequences. -ScreenDaily
Depp’s shtick is that he wears a dead crow as a headdress and, on a regular basis, tries to feed it birdseed. -HollywoodandFine
Verbinski uses a framing device to assert, repeatedly, that his movie is actually sympathetic to Native Americans and not just taking advantage of stereotypes. He clearly doesn’t trust his audience to get his point of view; worse yet, he has to keep showing us how much he doesn’t trust us.
So, between reminders of all the atrocities committed by white men, we’re supposed to laugh and have fun. -VillageVoice
deathly dull… a tone deaf movie that doesn’t know whether it’s coming or going. -RopeofSilicon
dreadfully dull. The movie will keep jumping back to this kid to ask obvious questions about the plot throughout the movie, a tedious bit of narrative that grinds an already too long movie, nearly to a halt every time. -ThePlaylist
Monotonous, loud and relentless, [the action scenes are] a punishing example of the self-satisfied, digitally augmented ephemera that typifies modern Hollywood moviemaking, and House Bruckheimer in particular. – TimeOut
How deeply stupid is this film? Let’s start with the fact that Silver, a white stallion, is played by a mare. And then let’s talk about geography.
John Reed and his brother Dick are Texas Rangers. In Texas. Because it’s called “The Lone Ranger” – get it? Yet, somehow, the story of the film centers on the completion of the transcontinental railroad – which happened in Utah.
The film’s press kit makes a special point of noting how authentic the costumes were constructed to be (No zippers!). But somehow they had no problem taking a seminal moment in American history and relocating it by almost a thousand miles. -HollywoodandFine
The Lone Ranger may refuse to fire a gun unless absolutely necessary, but the film hardly shares his pacifist philosophy, its abundant carnage ranging from scary carnivorous rabbits to an ambush in which Butch kills half a dozen Texas Rangers and finishes the job by eating Dan Reid’s heart. -Variety
The Lone Ranger may look the look and talk the talk, but it does not walk the walk. If it strutted into an old town saloon, be sure it’ll be thrown out onto a pile of cow dung. -Matt’s Movie Reviews
Someone needs to drag this thing out behind the barn and put a silver bullet in its brain. It’s the only kindness this movie deserves. -Hitfix
So, if you were hoping that we’d at least get one big-budget blockbuster this summer that isn’t a hopelessly convoluted mess, it looks like you’ll have to wait for… uh… Pacific Rim? The Wolverine? …I’ll let you know when it happens. When did silly movies get so complicated?
While all this schadenfreude is kind of fun – the cool hatred feels so moist on my gills – I feel compelled to say something constructive so I can sleep easier tonight. So let it be this: if you’re going to see a new movie this week, make it The Way Way Back. It’s pretty good, the people involved seem like they care about the product and the audience, and anyway, Jerry Bruckheimer has already taken enough of your money. He doesn’t need another gold-plated orphan cleaver or fancy lock for his sex dungeon or whatever.