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'The Lone Ranger' falls off the horse

Cinema, interestingly enough, is one of the world's biggest gambling industries. It's a high-stakes game played with hundreds of millions of dollars that turns on the economy, public perception and the logical fallacy that anyone actually knows what they want.

Disney's latest gamble, "The Lone Ranger," seems like a very dangerous experiment. Westerns are typically very expensive and struggle at the box office. Coupled with the fact this film was promoted and perceived as a stepbrother to the ailing (in both ratings and revenue) "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, I cannot help but wonder where exactly the confidence was placed in this project.

The first "Pirates of the Caribbean" film was also a gamble, but it was wildly successful -- in no small part to its fantastic word-of-mouth reviews. Unfortunately, "The Lone Ranger" will receive no such endorsement from me.

The first of many major problems with "The Lone Ranger" is it's not really about The Lone Ranger -- it's about Johnny Depp as Tonto. I understand Depp has the star power and draw to sell tickets, but I find it more than a little disheartening that Armie Hammer as the title character did not get first-billing.

Don't get me wrong, Johnny Depp is one of my favorite actors. That said, it would have been relatively easy to eliminate a full hour from this overlong monstrosity by cutting out the entire structural framework that, in my opinion, served no dramatic purpose other than giving Depp more screen time.

All corporate and political misjudgments aside "The Lone Ranger" is rife with problems. The plot is boring, consistently inconsistent and completely misses the point. The Lone Ranger is a hero who should share a table with the likes of Zorro and Batman -- a lone vigilante who strives to bring justice to an unjust world. Director Gore Verbinski and company eventually get there -- but by the time they do, that train already has taken a nosedive off a bridge they've already burned.

HHIIII

James Gerstner works at the Fort Hays State University Foundation and is the founder and editor of Six Horizons Media at sixhorizons.com. Contact James at james@sixhorizons.com, @sixhorizons on Twitter, Facebook.com/sixhorizons.