When I was a little girl getting ready for school in the wee hours of the morning, my brother and I would sometimes watch re-runs of the classic tv series “The Lone Ranger”. I use to live for him to say “Hi-Ho Silver…Away”! For some reason it really use to make me chuckle. So it suffices to say, I was really hoping that this new Disney feature starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer would make me reminisce with much delight. Let’s start with what I did like. I really enjoyed the effort to explain the origins of how The Lone Ranger and Tonto became outlaws. The stunts were breathtaking, especially a few that involved Johnny Depp jumping from one train to the next, which looked it was a good 50 foot drop, the performance of Helena Bonham Carter (Red Harrington)was hi-sterical and the soundtrack by Hans Zimmer was so compelling it made me actually want to run out and purchase it. Ruth Wilson (Rebecca Reid) as the love interest for both The Lone Ranger/John Reid (Armie Hammer) and his brother Dan Reid (James Badge Dale) seemed to be the only actor whose performance was grounded from a real organic place. However, my favorite storytelling element was how a boy dressed as “the lone ranger” on a museum trip at the fair was used to tell the story of the legendary duo from none other than an aging Tonto himself.
Needles to say…I should’ve known something was awry when I saw stills of Johnny Depp being released as Tonto months in advance in white face. While I respect and admire Johnny Depp immensely… just to satisfy my curiosity (being someone of partial Indian heritage), I researched hundreds of Comanche Indian pix and NOT ONE showed a warrior in white face. Clearly, this was a character choice of behalf of Mr. Depp, but I found it to be demeaning to the Indian people by making the Comanche tribe to look like clowns.
Seeing that for some reason the N-word happens to recently be used like a tennis ball in flight, the use of “red-nigga” by one of the characters didn’t make me feel any warmer about this film, nor did the performance of Armie Hammer in the title role. Some of you may remember young Mr. Hammer from “The Social Network” or from the fact that he is a great-grandson of Armand Hammer. While he is beautiful eye-candy, his acting in this film seems very stoic with no real humanity or emotion underneath.
This film often felt like it was about 45 minutes too long and there were numerous scenes where I found myself asking why they were there and what did they have to do with furthering the plot. THE LONE RANGER is in nationwide release by Walt Disney Studios and directed by Gore Verbinski.