He may be one of the most successful producers of all time, but it can’t be easy being Jerome Leon Bruckheimer.
At least not this month. And though I’m not asking you to cry for him — his reported annual earnings exceed $120 million — when you are accustomed to making blockbuster hits, it’s aggravating when one misses, as The Lone Ranger appears to be doing.
Instead of opening to a fanfare, the $250 million production arrives in the UK to the sound of a slow handclap and reports that it stands to make a $150 million loss.
Of course, the numbers are easier to swallow when you are responsible for the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise that has made a whopping $2.79 billion worldwide. But rest assured that there will be a notable absence of critics’ names on Bruckheimer’s New Year greetings list. Yet this is a review he would like because I really enjoyed The Lone Ranger for a number of reasons.
For starters, Tonto is played by Johnny Depp, an actor more willing than most to put on wigs, acquire accents and adopt surreal identities — and for that he should be rewarded. Granted his Comanche Indian shares Captain Jack Sparrow’s styling, but Depp’s comic timing is Chaplinesque and he has a lot of funny lines.
That Armie Hammer doesn’t set the world on fire as the Lone Ranger matters less with Depp as a sidekick. Plus he is a looker which is often all the hero needs to be. Silver the horse steals every scene he is in and for fans of Westerns, there are numerous allusions to John Ford’s The Searchers and Little Big Man, as well as panoramic scenery to enjoy. Last, but certainly not least, it has fantastic action sequences aboard trains and horses that offer the same thrills as an adventure park ride.
Yes, it’s too long, but these days “cut” seems to no longer be part of a director’s vocabulary. And having made the Pirates trilogy, Gore Verbinski probably thinks he’s earned the right to put in more than we need to see.
So if you are old enough to remember The Lone Ranger in black and white, why not give this a go?