Critics have laid into a $250 million blockbuster remake of '50s TV show The Lone Ranger, calling it "a scrap heap of train wreckage" and "one hot mess".
Reviewers have already savaged the film, with an approval rating of just 38 per cent on review aggregate site Metacritic, and 26 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Critics attacked the film's tone, pace, length, action scenes and directing. In a review for the news agency Associated Press, critic Jake Coyle called it a "runaway train".
"Verbinski's film, stretching hard to both reinvent an out-of-date brand and breathe new life in the Western with a desperate onslaught of bloated set pieces, is a poor locomotive for Depp's eccentric theatrics," he wrote.
"For 2½ hours, the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced Lone Ranger inflates, subverts and distorts the conventions of the Western until, in an interminable climax, the big-budget spectacle finally, exhaustingly collapses in a scrap heap of train wreckage."
Hitfix reviewer Drew McWeeny agreed, calling the Lone Ranger "a misfire on every level".
"Let's be clear: this is a terrible film by any standards. Overlong, with a script that reads like a notes session no one ever organized into something coherent, and totally confused about what audience it supposedly plays to, The Lone Ranger is grim, ugly, and deeply unpleasant."
Time Out New York reviewer Keith Uhlich called the film's over-the-top action scenes "relentless".
"It's all too much and not enough-a succession of disparate, can-you-top-this episodes inelegantly piling up like skidding cars on a freeway. And that's not even taking into account the action scenes.
"Lord, those action scenes: Monotonous, loud and relentless, they're a punishing example of the self-satisfied, digitally augmented ephemera that typifies modern Hollywood moviemaking, and House Bruckheimer in particular."
Louise Keller from the Urban Cinefile website had some kind words to say about Depp's performance:
"The plot is rich and colourful and with a hi-ho Silver, non-stop humour and fast action; there is much to enjoy in the company of the incongruous trio of an in-form Depp, dashing Armie Hammer and a scene stealing white horse."
And Charlie McCollum from the Mercury News gave it 2½ stars, calling it "one hot mess" and saying it was "way too long, incoherent at times, loaded with clumsy dialogue and less than sure-footed in its tone".
But McCollum said it was still entertaining.
"Despite all its not-inconsiderable failings, it's surprisingly entertaining for its two and a half-hour running time. Every time it threatens to go completely off the rails, there's a spectacular action sequence or, more often, a dazzling bit of business from Johnny Depp as Tonto that pulls you back into the film."
Disney Rides Into Box-Office Ambush With Depp’s ‘Lone Ranger’
Johnny Depp’s “The Lone Ranger,” opening in theaters tomorrow to negative reviews and tough competition, looks poised to become Walt Disney Co’s biggest flop since last year’s $200 million loss from “John Carter.”
The movie, based on the 1930s radio show and 1950s TV series, is the type of project that’s worked well in Hollywood of late. It features well-known characters and a proven star in Depp, with potential for sequels and merchandise sales.
Still, Disney will struggle to turn a profit, after the budget climbed to $225 million and the film earned mostly unfavorable early reviews. The task is more challenging because “The Lone Ranger” opens on a competitive summer weekend, against Universal Pictures’ animated “Despicable Me 2” and holdovers that include “Monsters University,” from Disney’s Pixar, and the zombie thriller “World War Z.”
“It is a huge gamble,” said Doug Creutz, an analyst with Cowen & Co. in San Francisco, who predicts a $100 million write-off for Disney. “You need the film to be really good.”
“‘The Lone Ranger’ is a drag as an action movie,” wrote Alonso Duralde, critic for the industry website The Wrap.com. “It’s not funny in its attempts at self-parody, and it feels like a Western made by people working off a checklist of tropes.”
BoxOffice.com predicts three-day weekend sales of $37 million in the U.S. for “The Lone Ranger,” just $7 million more than “John Carter.”
The film will benefit from the long July 4 holiday weekend in the U.S. It is projected to take in $135 million in its domestic theater run, a sum the studio splits with cinema owners. “John Carter” generated $73.1 million in U.S. cinemas.
“The Lone Ranger” reunites Depp with the team from the “Pirates of Caribbean” films, which overcame initial skepticism to become a top franchise. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer generated a combined $3.7 billion with four “Pirates” movies, according to researcher Box Office Mojo, the first three led by “Lone Ranger” director Gore Verbinski.