Editor’s Note: Today’s blog is from our friend Wallis DeCandia who wanted to share her thoughts about the box office bomb, The Lone Ranger. Thanks Wallis!
What do you get when you put Johnny Depp, Gore Verbinski, and Jerry Bruckheimer together?? In nine out of ten cases a blockbuster movie that everyone is talking about. But I guess even this dynamic trio could only keep it going for so long. According to the box office receipts from a holiday opening weekend their most recent endeavor seems to be a total dud. Ladies and Gentlemen I give you The Lone Ranger – a movie that cost around $250 million to make and only brought in $48 million in domestic sales and $24 million from overseas over the 5 day opening. If we estimate that the average movie ticket costs $10, that’s roughly only 7.3 million people who decided to give up 2 hours and 29 minutes of their holiday weekend to sit through this movie. According to a website that shall not be named, the Tomatometer gave Ranger a very sad 25%, but the audience reviewers gave it a semi respectable 68%. Talk about a big gap in opinions! After reading a few reviews and deciding that we don’t always agree with what the “experts” think when it comes to movies my husband Leo and I headed to our local theater for the $5 matinee on Saturday morning (we decided it wasn’t worth $10 to see it in prime time in case it really was as bad as everyone seemed to be saying!).
We went to the 11am show and I honestly figured the theater would be semi empty….bad reviews, a beautiful Saturday morning that was also 4th of July weekend, and 11am should have thoroughly backed up this assumption. But I was wrong! The theater was about ¾ full and we almost had people sitting in front of us (the horror!!) I just have to mention here that we saw some wonderful previews (I LOVE previews, Leo feels they should be at the end of the movie so you don’t have to watch them, that’s how much he adores them)- Thor: The Dark World (helllooooo Chris Hemsworth), Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and The Wolverine (do I need to even say anything here??) were among the top 3 we saw. Then after some technical difficulty of the screen getting stuck, the movie began.
The familiar Disney intro- the flowing river, the castle with fireworks in the backround, finishing with Walt Disney Pictures logo on the bottom of the castle- how could any movie be bad with an intro like that???
The Lone Ranger opening scene starts at the “end” of the story- a young boy named Will is walking around a San Francisco carnival circa 1933. Will wanders into the Wild Wild West sideshow, and we see that he is dressed up as the Lone Ranger, mask and all. He seems mesmerized by the life size dioramas, reading the descriptions and taking the scenery in. He gets to the scene titled “Noble Savage”, and after staring at the wrinkly old man for a few seconds Tonto comes to life! Tonto, a Comanche tribesman with a dead bird on his head who he continues to feed in case the spirit of the bird ever comes back, is played by Depp, (and in my opinion, only Depp can successfully pull this character off). Tonto proceeds to tell Will the story of himself and The Lone Ranger aka John Reid (played by Armie Hammer). The story goes back and forth from 1869 to 1933, with the film returning to Will and present day Tonto- much like The Princess Bride and The Never Ending Story did. A lot of reviews claimed this was disruptive to the storyline, but we didn’t feel this way at all.
The movie then transitions into the opening scene of 1869 showing John Reid on a train taking him back to his childhood home of Colby, Texas- it just so happens that the same train is also transporting Tonto, and the outlaw Bill Cavendish, the latter who is heading to his hanging. Bill’s posse attacks the train, frees Bill, and the first big action scene of the movie is complete. After the train crashes, John joins up with his brother and 5 other Texas Rangers and they go out to go bring Bill “back to justice”. Without giving too much of the film away that plan goes completely awry and Tonto finds John in the desert with a white horse who he believes is a spirit horse who were sacred to the Comanche. Tonto believes John is now a spirit walker, and cannot be killed in battle. He convinces John that he needs to wear a mask so Cavendish doesn’t recognize him, gives him a special silver bullet that he believes is the only thing that will take down Cavendish, and tells him that from now on he should go by The Lone Ranger.
The two decide to head into town to follow up on a lead as to where Cavendish went and find themselves in a brothel run by Red Harrington (played by Helena Bonham Carter). Harrington is not only a red headed saucy woman in a too tight corset, but she also has a full ivory leg with intricate tattoos on it which happens to house a shotgun that shoots from the heel A little over the top? Perhaps, but I loved it! Red gives them a little insight into the trouble over some silver rocks between John’s brother Dan and railroad tycoon Latham Cole, who was managing the Transcontinental Railroad being built in Colby. Red happens to have one of these rocks, which give John a hallucination when he touches it. John “sees” Cavendish’s men raiding settlements near the Comanche-American border while disguised as Comanche Indians—-cough, foreshadowing, cough.
The movie continues to go into quite a bit of detail that shows how Tonto, Cavendish, and Cole all played a part in each other’s lives and all that foreshadowing plays out. I won’t give you a full play by play but know that there are a lot of action scenes, a couple of twists, a few jokes that only Depp could deliver correctly, a big over the top chase scene where the theme from the original Lone Ranger show (that’s the 4th part of Rossini’s William Tell Overture for all you music buffs out there) is remastered and blasted through the speakers, and a “happy” ending to boot.
So what’s our final verdict? Leo and I walked out saying we really liked it!! Were some of the action scenes totally unbelievable? Of course! Would any real day person be able to jump from one moving train onto another and live?? Of course not! But since when is any action film even close to realistic? Any movie that Bruckheimer has been a part of has crazy action scenes- but they are executed and planned well, and that’s what makes a great movie. So don’t listen to that 25% who say this movie is for the birds and join us over at the cool kids table who think this is a great way to spend 2 ½ hours of your time.
Personally, I believe the delayed release of the movie (originally scheduled to be released a month or so earlier) likely caused some sort of “delayed movie anxiety.” That aside, Releasing a movie on the fourth of July weekend seems to be a bonehead decision, as I know of nobody (other than the original poster) who goes to a movie on the Fourth of July.
While I do not seek guidance of reviews in order to determine if I think I will like the movie, I can understand why bad reviews would sway people away from the movie. Heck, I recall watching Siskel & Ebert reviews … and yelling at the TV … cursing them because they had some maniacal theory at tho why the plot went somewhere they had not anticipated, hence, a “thumbs down.” When I go to a movie, at the end, I either like it, don’t like it, or figure it was just okay. I still talk about the plot, and any idiosyncrasies … but I don’t let the writer’s mind or director’s thoughts of a moment dictate whether I liked it, nor does it dictate whether the world should think it’s a bad movie.
In the end, while the movie may not make money during the first month, I am quite sure Disney will make money on The Lone Ranger. I’d be more than happy to shell out $15 to watch this in Downtown Disney (ambiance) … I’d be more than happy to visit exhibits at MGM (ooops, Hollywood Studios), and likely consider trinkets and souvenirs.
End result? The OP’s review made me want to watch the movie. Maybe I will make it a DATE NIGHT. 🙂