It‘s obvious that with the inclusion of Johnny Depp, Walt Disney Pictures and Producer Jerry Bruckheimer were hoping for a Pirates of the Caribbean-like hit that would produce titanic size profits and generate endless remakes. What they got was more like the Disney/Bruckheimer film Prince of Persia (2010). Their worst nightmare would be a film that was close to the John Carter (2012) bomb. While The Lone Ranger opened about 25 percent better than POP and 33 percent better than JC it‘s comparison to the first POTC film is very disappointing. There will be no Lone Ranger 2. At this point, five days into the release, they probably wish there was no Lone Ranger 1.
The Lone Ranger goes way back. With appearances in novels and comic books, the LR first appeared outside print with a radio show in 1933. Serials were released in 1938 and 1939 with Lee Powell then Robert Livingston as the masked man. Lee Powell joined the military and fought as a Marine in key Pacific Island battles. His end came on Tinian, not from wounds, but from acute alcohol poisoning as a result of drinking Sake that caused his death and almost killed a friend – who survived but was blind for 21 days. The brand is unknown.
The best-known LR portrayer was Clayton Moore who starred on TV from 1949 to 1957. CM also played the part in a couple of films that were spun off from the TV series. In 1981, one of the worst films in history was released: The Legend of the Lone Ranger starring Klinton Spilsbury (whose voice was dubbed by actor James Keach). KS wasn‘t a very good actor or Lone Ranger. This was his only acting role of any kind, ever.
The LR returned in 2003 when Warner Bros. released a two-hour made for TV movie. It was supposed to be a pilot for a new series, but it didn‘t work out. Now he is back in an extravaganza valued at $250 million. Unfortunately, the extravaganza is in the first 20 minutes and the last 20 minutes. The 100-minute period in between the big train chases is mostly a waste of time. There are attempts at humor – some work out and others fall flat. They try to create a superhero and sidekick relationship, but the two generally don‘t get along or cooperate with each other.
On the positive side, much of the film was shot in Monument Valley. The scenery easily outshines both the action and the script. In total, six Western states were used for locations and they look terrific. The blue screen stunt shots were done at the Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia, CA. Why they filmed there is anybody‘s guess.
Overall they spent $250 million – much of which will be lost – and produced a very average, way too long, movie experience. The end credits appear to be setting up a sequel. Do not be fooled, the sequence goes nowhere other than to the middle of that same destination (nowhere).
Watch for Pirates of the Caribbean 5 coming soon, but no Lone Ranger 2. Unless Klinton Spilsbury makes a comeback.
Rated 2.5 out of 4.0 HiNo Sequels, away.