An elderly Tonto recounts the origin and the first adventure of John Reid on his journey to becoming the Lone Ranger to a young boy at a Texas Fair.
When I heard that they were going to make The Lone Ranger, I was in the midst of reading the Lone Ranger comic book that took the mythology of John Reid and Tonto and embedded it in reality and made the old radio serial something very real and cool, and I got excited. I thought that with this great book being put out there that there could be no way that Disney could mess this up. Oh, how wrong I was. This movie misfires on every. Single. Level. I laughed about 4 times.
The casting of Johnny Depp as Tonto was just wrong from the very beginning. There are some great Native American actors that could have done better. I know people had a problem with him being cast in the first place, but I thought "Well"¦ maybe it won't be as bad as John Wayne being cast as a Genghis Khan in The Conqueror." Depp sounds straight out of the 1950s show, which wouldn't be bad if not for the fact that it's 2013.
Some of the other casting doesn't get much better. Armie Hammer as the Lone Ranger was another misfire. Maybe it's not that he was miscast, but I think it was the writing for John Reid/The Lone Ranger. They made him such a naÃ¯ve idiot, even to the point where you just glare at the camera and just openly ask "Why?!" Barry Pepper, as Captain Jay Fuller, wasn't so much a miscast as straight-up poor writing. The writers play him up as some uppity captain, and the way the Verbinski directs him has your head in your hands thinking "Isn't this the same awesome sniper from Saving Private Ryan?"
Now, that all being said, there is actually some good casting. Tom Wilkinson is great as Latham Cole. I don't want to give too much away, but you can tell what side of the law he's on after his second line. Once again, bad writing. William Fichtner as the villainous Butch Cavendish played him well, but once again, he is an over-the-top bad guy. Ruth Wilson as Rebecca Reid and James Badge Dale as Dan Reid are very well cast. James Dale's performance as Dan is the one performance in the movie that actually made me think "Okay, this movie night not be so horrible""”then very quickly my opinion changed. Finally, Helena Bonham Carter as brothel owner Red Harrington is another bright spot in an otherwise black hole of a movie.
The directing by Gore Verbinski is just"¦ I don't want to label it as amateurish because I know he isn't an amateur and he has done great work before, but the acting seemed so forced and over-the-top that it really makes me wonder what was going through his mind while he was behind the camera and just how deep in his ear the powers that be at Disney are. What's sad is that Verbinski is able to capture the beauty and wonder of a wild west Texas that very few have been able to in the past. His eye in certain scenes can create breathtaking visuals, but then the actors speak and everything is ruined.
The writers also worked on Pirated of the Caribbean, and you can definitely feel that same spirit here. If this had been another Pirates movie, I would have understood, but it's not. The jokes feel flat for anyone over the age of 12. The characters are basically one-dimensional caricatures of what they could have been. The overall plot of the film is so formulaic that you are left wondering if they just grabbed one of their old Pirate scripts and just exchanged the names. They had a great story line to work with, and they just ruined it. The writers have done some great work in the past, and maybe this is their one movie where things just didn't go right. Everyone gets one. When I can tell while the opening credits are still rolling who the bad guy is, you need to try harder. Even the special effects used are not up to the level of excellence that I expect from a Disney movie. Sometimes the effects came across slightly unfinished. Just because you can do something with CGI does not mean that you should.
In the end, just don't waste your time with this movie. There were very few scenes that made me go "Oh! Well this movie isn't a complete waste" and even fewer that involved the title characters. I can appreciate that Johnny Depp kept the movie afloat when Disney wanted to cancel it, and I know that he put a lot of heart into it. In the end I think that he should have invested his time and money in to something else"”anything else for that matter.