Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Lone Ranger Strikes Back

This week the stars and producers of The Lone Ranger blasted critics of the film, stating that the numerous negative reviews it received are directly responsible for its poor box office performance (the film could end up losing as much as $150 million for Disney).

For the record I reviewed the movie a couple of weeks ago and gave it a B-. In a nutshell I said it was reasonably entertaining and not the train wreck that most critics claimed it was. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, eh? 

Jerry Bruckheimer, the producer of the film, actually declared in public that critics will change their minds about the film when they see it again in the future:
"It’s unfortunate because the movie is a terrific movie, it’s a great epic film. It has lots of humor. Its one of those movies that whatever critics missed in it this time, they’ll review it in a few years and see that they made a mistake."
I admit that sometimes I'll see a movie and hate it, but will watch it again and actually like it. So yes, it's possible. But I don't think the producer of a movie should count on wearing down the audience until they surrender and admit it's good in order for his movie to be a success.

Somehow I don't see myself ever watching The Lone Ranger again and giving it an A. In fact if I ever do see it again I'll probably end up giving it an even lower grade.

Johnny Depp, who played Tonto in the film, had this to say:
“I think the reviews were written seven to eight months before we released the film. I think the reviews were written when they heard Gore (Verbinski) and Jerry (Bruckheimer) and me were going to do The Lone Ranger. They had expectations that it must be a blockbuster. I didn’t have any expectations of that. I never do.”
That's certainly an interesting theory, Johnny. I can only speak for myself, but I took the unusual step of reviewing it, you know, after I'd seen it.

As for critics expecting it to be a blockbuster, I think that's only natural given that the film had a freakin' $250 MILLION DOLLAR BUDGET! That doesn't exactly scream "quirky independent film" to me. I'm pretty sure Disney was expecting it to be a blockbuster as well.

Armie Hammer (who really needs to think about changing his name), who plays the titular Ranger in the film, also piped up about the critics, saying:
"If you go back and read a lot of the negative reviews, most of them don't actually have anything to do with the content of the movie, but more what's behind it. And it's gotten to an unfortunate place with American critics where if you're not as smart as Plato, you're stupid, and that seems like a very sad way to have to live your life."
So if I look at the trailer of Grown Ups 2 and think to myself, "Wow, that looks dreadful. I'd rather eat bees than ever watch that," it doesn't mean I'm perceptive or have a modicum of taste, it means I'm an elitist snob. Got it.

The most intriguing comments though came from director Gore Verbinski, who had the chutzpah to say:
"The critics keep crying for original movies. You make one, and they don't like, so what can I tell you?"
Did you just say you made an original movie, Gore? Original, as in "not derived from something else."

Ahem. These gentlemen would like to have a word with you.

1 comment:

  1. Well said.

    I think film-makers are far too quick to blame critics when their product doesn't succeed, as with everything there are a number of factors to consider, such as the degree of impact of promotional materials, what the film's competition is on the big screen (and increasingly, on the small screen, as TV shows get more ambitious and cinema ticket prices get higher), and so on.

    It's also conceivable, in this case, that Johnny Depp just doesn't have the power to pull in female viewers as much as he used to, bluntly put, his star might simply be dimming. Then of course, there are the problematic ethnic and racial overtones in this particular film, and the fact that Westerns just aren't as popular as they used to be.

    Laying all the blame at the feet of critics is scape-goating, pure and simple. Most teens don't bother reading reviews before they pick a movie to go see with their mates, they go what looks funniest and most exciting, based on the trailers and posters they see before they ever get to the cinema.


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