Tag: John Carter

MOVIE REVIEW | ***FLOP WEEK*** The Lone Ranger (2013)

The Lone Ranger is a mess.  It’s a box office failure and the most high profile flop since John Carter.  I’m not sure what kind of movie The Lone Ranger is trying to be, but I am sure it doesn’t meet its goals, whatever they may have been. It’s too violent and convoluted  to be a fun, family adventure.  It’s too Disney-fied and watered down to be an action movie for teenage boys and young dudes.  It’s too long to be a breezy, throw away piece of fluffy entertainment.  It’s based on a character too old and irrelevant to coast by on franchise familiarity.  It’s a huge pile of lots of small attempts at conflicting styles that results in a big pile of nondescript ooze.

Like John Carter (good to see Disney didn’t learn their lesson after that shit bomb) The Lone Ranger starts with a pointless framing device that ads absolute nothing to the movie, except 15 or 20 minutes to the already too long running time.  In this case, a kid dressed as the lone Ranger is at a carnival or some bullshit that has a museum for some reason.  He’s looking at a display of an old Indian when the display comes to life.  It’s Johnny Depp under a heap of makeup as the old Tonto.  He then tells the story of the movie to the young kid for no reason that I can ascertain.

Armie Hammer is John Reid, a lawyer in 1869 on a train home to see his Texas Ranger brother, Dan.  Also on the train, as a prisoner, is Depp as young Tonto.  Some bad guys rob the train, Dan ends up dead, everyone thinks John is dead and Tonto convinces him to wear a mask so people think he’s the undead version of his brother.  I think that’s what happened, my mind wandered a lot while watching The Lone Ranger and I’m sure I missed a lot of specifics.  I’m also sure those specifics would not have made the movie any more entertaining or less infuriating.

They fight the bad guys for a couple of hours, Tonto gets a tragic origin story and they win.  John Reid’s motivation is supposed to be avenging his brother and saving said dead brother’s widow and son.  But they had so little impact on me, every time they popped up, I was surprised, because I kept forgetting they even existed whenever they weren’t on screen.

I will say this for The Lone Ranger, you can’t blame Hammer or Depp for its awfulness.  They both genuinely made me laugh out loud more than once and really do make the most of what they’re given.  Their good performance actually makes The Lone Ranger even worse, because you’re given a tiny glimpse of how funny, entertaining and fun these characters could have been.

Budget $215million / U.S Box Office $217.8million

Razzies Won:
Not yet eligible.  But I’m sure we can expect a swag of nominations for this bad boy when the 2013 finalists are announced.

The Lone Ranger
Directed By – Gore Verbinski
Written By – Justin Haythe, Ted Elliot, Tedd Rossio 

Instead of The Lone Ranger, watch Johnny Depp be amazing in Ed Wood.

MOVIE REVIEW | ***FLOP WEEK*** John Carter (2012)


Andrew Stanton has been involved as a writer and / or director on some of Pixar’s best movies.  Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and the Toy Story trilogy all have his name in the credits somewhere.  So with such a spotless animated pedigree, I’m sure some people had high hopes for his first live action effort.  High hopes Stanton craps all over for 132 minutes.

Tim Riggins from Friday Night Lights is John Carter, an American Civil War veteran and difficult, unlikeable prick who we’re supposed to like, for some reason I’m yet to determine.  He’s looking for gold in the Arizona desert and stumbles across some bald, monk-looking dudes (one played by Mark Strong) and ends up on Mars.  On Mars, the different gravity means he can jump crazy high (worst superhero power ever?).  He hooks up with some four armed green dudes.  Elsewhere, on Mars, two groups of human looking people are fighting for some reason.  One is lead by a hot broad who’s some variety of princess, the other is lead by Dominic West (McNulty from The Wire).  Tim Riggins from Friday Night Lights hooks up with the hot princess, the four armed green dudes help him fight the white dudes lead by Dominic West and everything happens exactly how you would expect, exactly when  you would expect.

A pretty basic rule of film making is, show, don’t tell.  The first few scenes of John Carter tell us that Carter is a decorated war her.  They tell us he’s an honourable man.  They tell us a misunderstood hero.  But those same first few scenes show us that he’s trying to get out of paying a debt he owes to a local store owner even though he has a big ass chunk of gold in his pocket.  They show us Carter putting a gun to the store owner’s head because the greedy bastard thought Carter should maybe pay his bill.  They show him whip out his schmeckle and pee on the floor of a prison because he doesn’t agree with being imprisoned for putting a gun to an innocent man’s head.

The only thing that saves the John Carter sections of John Carter being the worst thing about this movie, is the pointless, excruciating, goofy framing device.  The movie opens with an older John Carter dying and leaving his entire fortune to his nephew, who is…  Wait for it…  Edgar Rice Burroughs…  The bloke who wrote the book this terrible move is based on over a hundred years ago.  The inheritance also includes his dead uncle’s journal.  And you’ll never guess what story the journal tells.  It tells the story of John Carter, the movie we’re watching.  Isn’t that so clever?  The movie uses the book’s author as a character to give the whole thing an added level of…  I don’t know?…  Bull shit?  The really confusing thing to me is, at some stage, when editing this movie, no one said, “It’s blown out to over two hours.  Maybe we should drop the pointless, excruciating, goofy framing device.  Get this mess down to a running time that gives people a little less of John Carter to hate.”

For a movie this expensive, the special effects are pretty dodgy too.  Some of the green screens are more obvious than they have any right to be in this day and age.  A scene involving some hover motorbike thingies that’s basically a rip of the hover motorbike thingies flying the through jungle in Return of the Jedi looks less convincing and more green screeny than Jedi did three decades ago.  And the wire work when Tim Riggins from Friday Night Lights uses the world’s most boring super power of jumping, is on par with Robin Williams in Hook.  If you’re gonna give us a hacky story about characters we don’t care about, at least have the decency to distract us with some half decent effects.

Budget $250million / U.S Box Office $280million

Razzies Won:
Somehow not even nominated

John Carter
Directed By – Andrew Stanton
Written By – Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews, Michael Chabon

Instead of John Carter, watch Mark Strong be awesome in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy