I didn’t see “The Lone Ranger” (2013), and frankly I don’t want to see “The Lone Ranger”. But the topic of Johnny Depp’s fame has bothered me for quite some time. I mean, who am I to say anything, right? I’m behind a computer and writing about this. But to tell you the truth, I have the right to be entitled to my own opinion. Most especially, since I am a self proclaimed “movie blogger” who likes to write about these things. I do, however, understand why Johnny Depp is in his place today. But movie after movie of disastrous messes make me question why in the world does he have such a big fan base? Because I personally, don’t like him and I am getting quite sick and tired of the antics he’s been pulling the past few years.
With the Disney disaster that “The Lone Ranger” was, I wonder if “John Carter” (a movie I didn’t bother seeing as well) was any better then all the horrible things I’ve been hearing about the new Johnny Depp Western romp. As soon as the trailer popped up, and I got to see it online, I said to myself: “WHAT IS HE DOING? HIM? AGAIN?” This I ask, because if you trace Depp’s film history, he’s actually quite a capable character actor. In the early 90s he starred in such classic hits with his freuqent collaborator Tim Burton and damn, they were good. But today it seems like this long cartoonish team (thank God “Lone Ranger” wasn’t directed by Burton) has been loosing any sense of quality in their work.
Let’s trace it all the way from the start. Audience got their first dose of Johnny and Tim when they collaborated in the classic which was “Edward Scissorhands” (1990). Everything about that movie was almost perfect. We got a wonderful script, the right director to helm such a dark project, Winona Ryder as the girl, and of course, a charismatic new male lead named Johnny Depp. This kind of character acting was exactly what he needed to capture the audiences heart. And it captured mine too. Even though I saw it years later from its original release date, “Edward Scissorhands” became one of my favourite movies from 1990. After that, Depp showed good range and even better character acting in upcoming films like “Ed Wood” (1994) and “Sleepy Hallow” (1999). Not to mention, he played NORMAL great too like in films such as “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” (1993), amongst others.
The problems for me really began when Johnny Depp got that surprise Oscar nomination for “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl” (2003). At the time, I was in full support of this nomination. For a lead actor be nominated for something like that was new, inventive and plain out fun. But unfortunately, the film, the nomination and everything else about it got to his head. To squeeze out the cash, they produced three more (and I heard a fifth is coming?) of very unsatisfactory Pirates movies that basically told the same old story.
This is when Burton really decided to use Depp in a shit load of projects that just seemed WTF to me. “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (2005) was so atrocious. Watching it is painful. “Corpse Bride” (2005) was not good to me, but other’s believe it was. “Sweeney Todd” (2007) was okay, but it didn’t challenge Depp or Burton to the very least. And don’t even get me started with “Alice and Wonderland” (2010) which was just plain out dreadful. Lastly, they did “Dark Shadows” (2012) together, which ended up being quite a mediocre effort. I don’t know why anyone would green light project after project of the same old thing. The sad thing is, he is a money earner.
But are the audiences getting tired of it with the giant flop which was “The Lone Ranger”? It seems that I’m not the only one who is getting sick of Depp cartoonish antics. If “Ranger” was released back in 2004, they’d have a certified hit. But today, the times have changed. We’ve got a new boom of filmmakers like Nolan, David O. Russell, Paul Thomas Anderson, who’s style of movie making are really very distinct. The thing I think Johnny Depp needs to do is go a different direction to revitalise his suffering career. True, he makes money, but he’s one of those actors who thinks that he’s too cool for everyone else. If you’re serious, like a wannabe Brando, then show it, man! The numbers that “The Lone Ranger” is producing in the box office is clearly not a good sign.
He needs to step out of his comfort zone and really begin to choose ballsy and challenging roles. Because he’s very capable of acting. But then we can look at the other side of the story, which becomes the depressing part. It seems that Johnny can’t make a buck when he’s playing normal. Most of his films, though sometimes are critically acclaimed, can’t see to find a proper place in pop culture (unlike people like Leo, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt etc.) like his his big cartoonish ones do. His efforts as Peter Pan Writer (NOTE: WRITER not PETER PAN) in “Finding Neverland” (2004) was pretty good and got him an Oscar nomination. But where’s “Finding Neverland” million of dollars and large fan base? THEY ARE NON-EXISTENT. I’m sure there’s a great role out there for him, it might even be offered to him. Think about it, he’s Johnny Depp. I think the next few steps for him will be the most difficult. Will he stick of “Alice in Wonderland 2” and “Pirates of the Caribbean 5”? Or will he finally find his place in the many greats, where arguably, he belongs? First step: step out of the comfort zone.
We’ll see. But as of now, I’m sick of him. If he wins an Oscar soon, for a role that is too cartoonish or too similar to something he’s done before, then I don’t think I can take him seriously anymore. Please, Johnny, for your fans: TRY SOMETHING NEW.
DO YOU STILL LIKE JOHNNY’S WORK?