Sunday, June 24, 2018
Things To Do

Review: Not quite full steam ahead for 'Lone Ranger'

Runaway trains have enough to do in The Lone Ranger without being asked to serve as the defining symbol of this movie. Disney's bid for another Johnny Depp franchise went out of control when it left the station, bloated by a reported $250 million budget to a saddle-sore running time of two and a half hours.

Even runaway trains stop sooner and smoother.

The Lone Ranger sounds good in a studio pitch, with Depp playing Tonto and reuniting with Pirates of the Caribbean visionary Gore Verbinski to address yesteryear's last action heroes deserving big screen treatment. Yet the results are closer to the Pirates franchise's latter stages when all that was left to tell about Capt. Jack Sparrow was nonsense and noise. The ride isn't entirely unpleasant but a cringing sense of missed opportunity is unavoidable.

Verbinski wraps his movie around a conceit cribbed from Little Big Man, with Depp nearly incognito under layers of aging latex makeup. His Tonto isn't a dauntless warrior at first but a wrinkled, addled sideshow labeled "The Noble Savage," telling his story to a child. This establishes the movie's perspective as solely Tonto's, allowing serious riffs on Native American genocide and exploitation that contradict with the fun. This movie doesn't know from one scene to the next what it wishes to be, grim or goofy, and both approaches suffer for it.

Tonto spins a possibly tall tale about sugarfoot lawyer John Reid (Armie Hammer), heading west when his train is hijacked by the outlaw Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner) and his gang. John is rescued by Tonto's superstition therapy and the appearance of a scene-stealing "spirit horse" later named Silver, and vows revenge on Cavendish, who killed his Texas Ranger brother and ate his heart. The mask and silver bullets are Tonto's ideas.

The path to retribution winds through a gnarled plot involving Transcontinental Railroad corruption, a Custer-like Cavalry leader (Barry Pepper), a whorehouse madam (Helena Bonham Carter) sporting an ivory prosthetic leg with a shotgun built inside, and cannibal bunny rabbits. You can count on a runaway train to rumble through about every hour, skirting laws of physics with Rube Goldberg precision. It's easy to see where the money went in The Lone Ranger but that doesn't make it well spent.

Hammer's performance is merely warmed-over Brendan Fraser, an affable hunk wholly upstaged by Depp's eccentric flair. Depp is the only thing about The Lone Ranger that's fun or even necessary, whether feeding his dead crow headdress or polishing a politically incorrect image with a few more conjunctions in his broken English. Depp is the only reason this haphazard take on the Lone Ranger legend exists, at least in this swollen state, begging the question of why Disney didn't name the movie Tonto.

Steve Persall can be reached at [email protected]tampabay.com or (727) 893-8365. Follow @StevePersall on Twitter.

Comments
Review: Alt-rock legends Weezer and the Pixies a study in contrasts

Review: Alt-rock legends Weezer and the Pixies a study in contrasts

A scooter whizzing through the stands. A tear away cardigan. A face smacked by a rogue beach ball. And an intimate, acoustic version of “Island in the Sun” performed in front of thousands.The show put on by the four members of Weezer, at ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Review: Alt-rock legends Weezer and the Pixies a study in contrasts

Review: Alt-rock legends Weezer and the Pixies a study in contrasts

A scooter whizzing through the stands. A tear away cardigan. A face smacked by a rogue beach ball. And an intimate, acoustic version of “Island in the Sun” performed in front of thousands.The show put on by the four members of Weezer, at ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Photos: Luke Bryan brings a little country to Raymond James Stadium

Photos: Luke Bryan brings a little country to Raymond James Stadium

Raymond James Stadium was packed Saturday night as Luke Bryan brought a little country to Tampa Bay for the first time since 2015.Read more: Luke Bryan talks love, acceptance and his growing depth before Tampa stopLuke Bryant performed at Raymond Jam...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Sports on TV/radio for Sunday, June 24

TODAYAutosFormula 1: French Grand Prix10 a.m.ESPN2IndyCar: Kohler Grand Prix1 p.m.NBCSNMonster Energy Cup: Toyota/Save Mart 3503 p.m.FS1; 102.5-FMNHRA: Summit Racing Equipment Nationals (taped)6:30 p.m.FS1BaseballYankees at Rays1 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMM...
Published: 06/23/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Sunday

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Sunday

Our editors' picks for June 24, 2018.
Updated: 9 hours ago
See Datz pastry chef Alicia Wolding on Netflix’s Sugar Rush

See Datz pastry chef Alicia Wolding on Netflix’s Sugar Rush

When Alicia Wolding joined Datz as the new executive pastry chef last year her hair was rainbow — pretty much the whole ROY G BIV spectrum in cascading tresses. More recently, it’s bright purple, somewhere between iris and lilac. This is the color yo...
Published: 06/22/18
5 recent shows to catch up on over the summer

5 recent shows to catch up on over the summer

emember all those TV shows you’ve heard about but never watched, saving them for that proverbial someday? Summer is the best time to finally watch them — curtains drawn, A/C cranked down to 70. Quick, before fall gets here, and critics start insistin...
Published: 06/22/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay on Saturday

Top things to do in Tampa Bay on Saturday

Our editors' picks for June 23, 2018.
Published: 06/22/18
St. Petersburg couple drive a minivan, volunteer at church and were CIA spies

St. Petersburg couple drive a minivan, volunteer at church and were CIA spies

What's it like to start a family when you're working for the CIA? Jihi and Andrew Bustamante know.
Published: 06/22/18
Boy George, coming to Tampa with Culture Club, talks fame, Pulse and the term ‘LGBTQ’

Boy George, coming to Tampa with Culture Club, talks fame, Pulse and the term ‘LGBTQ’

It’ll still be June when Boy George arrives in Florida this week to kick off a summer U.S. tour with Culture Club. But the LGBTQ icon says it won’t feel quite like a Pride parade. "I also bake cakes for straight people," he laughed. "Tha...
Published: 06/22/18