July 2nd, 2013
05:49 PM ET
"The Lone Ranger" is riding into theaters on July 3 with a trial of bad reviews.
The movie is getting torn apart by pro film reviewers, who've caused its rating to sink to a stinky 23 percent fresh on RottenTomatoes.com.
Jerry Bruckheimer and Gore Verbinski have spoken at length about the pains they've taken to create the world in which Armie Hammer plays the masked Lone Ranger, and Johnny Depp his Native American partner, Tonto, but it seems those efforts were in vain. Critics are ripping the action epic as being too long, lacking in focus, unsure of its tone and derivative of some of the great, classic Westerns of yesteryear - basically, "the rough cut of a slimmer, better movie," as Time magazine said in its review.
"'The Lone Ranger' is a movie for the whole family ... to avoid," said the San Francisco Chronicle. "It represents 2 1/2 of the longest hours on record, a jumbled botch that is so confused in its purpose and so charmless in its effect that it must be seen to be believed, but better yet, no. Don't see it, don't believe it, not unless a case of restless leg syndrome sounds like a fun time at the movies."
That may sound like hyperbole, but no, the SF Chronicle's Mick LaSalle isn't alone. "Audiences expecting a 'Pirates' of the Panhandle from [director] Verbinski — who paired with Depp on that swashbuckling franchise as well as on the 'Rango' — are in for some serious dry stretches," warned NPR.
The Village Voice found the film to be filled with "dozens of superfluous plot points, action sequences so cluttered they obscure whatever genius may lurk within, heaps of heavy-duty symbolism that ultimately mean nothing, and juvenile gags that appear to have been written by 10-year-olds rather than for them," with all of it adding up to "an extravagantly squandered opportunity."
The Hollywood Reporter doesn't completely write it off, allowing that "The Lone Ranger" is "moderately amusing," with "appealing leads" and "enough entertainment value ... to put it over commercially."
The movie, critics say, is really more about Depp's Tonto than it is Hammer's lawyer - and eventual Lone Ranger - John Reid, which isn't a bad thing. "Certainly, Depp plays Tonto as no one else could," said Variety.
Yet, with a cast that doesn't quite gel and a leading character that isn't all that interesting, "'The Lone Ranger' is a drag as an action movie," says The Wrap. "It feels like a Western made by people working off a checklist of tropes without ever really understanding the genre. Verbinski and his writers have taken a promising idea and put a silver bullet in its head."
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