The Lone Ranger and Johnny Depp's Tonto serve up a turkey
Disney have another flop on their hands as $225m Western is slaughtered by the critics
DISNEY appears to have another huge flop on its hands if early reviews of Jerry Bruckheimer's latest epic, The Lone Ranger, starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer, are anything to go by.
The film, which was almost five years in the making and cost around $225m, has been savaged by the critics. The bad reviews keep on coming. The first critical salvos were fired over the weekend, and things have only got worse since then.
The latest round of reviews, on the day of its release in the US, are even harsher than the first. On Monday the film had a lowly 29 per cent approval rating on website Rotten Tomatoes. Today it has fallen to an abysmal 16 per cent.
Lou Lumenic, writing for the New York Post, is unflinching. The film is "a bloated, misshapen mess" loaded with unfortunate metaphors, including a dead horse being flogged and a train going off the rails, he declares.
Not even Johnny Depp can save the movie. He simply turns the character of Tonto into "an aphorism machine", although he is at least imbued with "some sort of crackpot dignity".
Ty Burr of the Boston Globe is equally unimpressed. "[It's] like watching an elephant tap dance in your living room: everything gets trampled and the dancing’s not very good," he moans.
And his take on Depp? The role was "ill-advised" and he plays him as "Jack Sparrow on downers, in red-face".
Comparisons with the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise are plentiful, given that producer Bruckheimer, director Gore Verbinski and Depp worked together on those films. But while the salty swashbucklers were "lively and lithe" according to William Goss of Film.com, The Lone Ranger is simply "misguided".
Claudia Puig of USA Today agrees. "Verbinski has choreographed a movie too similar in style and energy to his high-seas franchise films. The likeness is intensified by Johnny Depp's turn as Tonto, who seems related to Jack Sparrow, at least in the smirking comic relief department."
Her review is more positive than many, but she still describes the movie as "a two-and-a-half hour slog, with tonal inconsistencies and monotonous, drawn-out action sequences".
It all leaves Disney with its biggest turkey since last year's $200m flop John Carter, according to Bloomberg.
"Disney will struggle to turn a profit," it declares, particularly because the long-awaited film finally comes out at the same time as other summer blockbusters including World War Z, which has also been panned. Some experts are even predicting a $100m loss.