Hollywood's terrible track record with historical dramas labours on

At the movies the past is merely a digest of recognisable tropes, offering the comforts of home – like some bad cruise liner

The Lone Ranger begins with a scene in which Tonto (Johnny Depp), now 100 years old and making a living at a traveling wild west show in San Francisco, runs into a little boy dressed as the Lone Ranger and decides to tell him the real story.

The film's producers might as well have held up a big sign outside the theatre that says: "We are worried about the fading demographic appeal of this story to the eight-year-old at whom our merchandisers say we must direct our film." Smelling fear as swiftly as a pack of wolves, the critics have pounced.

"Indigestible swill," said Screen Daily. "A catastrophe of tone," judged HitFix. "Delivers all the energy and spectacle audiences have come to expect from a Jerry Bruckheimer production, but
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