Ten years ago, A-list Hollywood star Johnny Depp, legendary producer Jerry Bruckheimer and highly-acclaimed director Gore Verbinski were the golden boys at Disney – after turning a theme park ride called Pirates of the Caribbean into an unprecedented worldwide box-office smash.
But, sadly, lightning hasn’t struck twice for the trio, with this modern incarnation of the much-loved (in the States anyway) TV series proving to be nothing short of a box-office disaster.
Disney execs were worried about the $250million budget (and nearly canned the project once before) but, with the trio’s track record, they tentatively gave this the green light – and will undoubtedly wish they hadn’t.
As much as you try to give it the benefit of the doubt – even with the most open-mindedness – there’s nothing approaching excitement at any point during the film’s bloated duration.
Depp quite obviously felt he could put the same unique twist on Native American sidekick Tonto as he did with his much-lauded first Keith Richards-inspired turn as Jack Sparrow, but he alone can’t carry a movie that is misfiring in every department.
Armie Hammer shone in The Social Network, but is surprisingly unheroic (and generally quite annoying) as the title character, John ‘Lone Ranger’ Reid, with the usually dominating presences of Tom Wilkinson (as corporate fat cat Cole), William Fichtner (as escaped outlaw Butch Cavendish) and Helena Bonham Carter (in one of her most pointless roles to date as brothel Madam Red Harrington), struggling to ignite the plot.
Even the expensive action set-pieces fail to be memorable (particularly the finale when the famous Lone Ranger theme tune hits), and – bar the odd fleeting comedic moment from Depp – this is surprisingly quite a humourless affair.
The film’s 1859 set Western story being recounted by an old Tonto to a young Lone Ranger fan in the 1930s simply doesn’t work either, and stops what little entertainment momentum it has, which usually comes from Hammer and Depp’s passable on-screen chemistry.
The whole team behind the movie have said critics where waiting to vilify the film even before it was released, but generally scathing reviews are fully justified.
This is simply not a very good movie and undoubtedly the biggest disappointment of the summer.
And for three of the biggest names in Hollywood to provide such an expensive misfire is quite staggering.
Gavin Miller rating: 2/5