The Lone Ranger -2013-

Big ballin' is their hobby.

Big ballin’ is their hobby.

Directed by Gore Verbinski. 149 mins.

Worth my time? No, but I expected it to be worse. (Seen at Arclight Hollywood)

Gore Verbinksi has made a clever, exciting Western that includes all the elements that people love about the genre.

Its title is Rango, and you should watch it.

God, The Lone Ranger is a really fuckin’ long movie.

While the viewing experience isn’t as painful as many critics have claimed, the movie is a mess. Its tone shifts wildly from purely sadistic — main villain William Fichtner, one of my favorite character actors, cuts out a dude’s heart and eats it — to gleefully violent — Helena Bonham Carter’s completely unnecessary character has a prosthetic gun-leg made of ivory — to Saturday morning cartoon hijinks — poop jokes and stereotypical Injun antics from John Depp.

God, The Lone Ranger is a really fuckin’ long movie.

The material feels like it would have fared far better in the hands of Tarantino, or even Rob Zombie. The dudes love their old-timey pop culture, and I bet they would have better luck squeezing some fun out of the bloated script. Instead, there are lotsa pretty things onscreen that you’ll forget about the moment the shot ends. Even the lame Princess Brideish frame story did nothing to make me give a shit.

Armie Hammer is this year’s Sam Worthington. People in high places are clearly grooming him to be an action hero, but it just ain’t working. Scarlett Johansson has more onscreen charisma than this dude. That’s kind of a big problem when he’s a main character.

Depp’s Tonto comes off as a baffling mix between Kato from The Pink Panther movies and Jar Jar Binks. His performance is such garbage that I bet that Native American from the PSA would shed a tear if he saw it.

Fichtner delivers the only interesting performance, but it feels out of place for a popcorn movie. Maybe some creative geek can splice his character into a Peckinpah Western – he’d be right at home.

Aside: If you think about it, The Lone Ranger is like a high-budget reboot of Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man.

(Seen and originally written on 2013-07-03)