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Monday, July 8, 2013

Monday Movie Mania - The Lone Ranger

I forced the family to go see The Lone Ranger because, well, it's Johnny Depp.

Yes, I have issues.

You would think that the team that turned a Disneyland ride into a multi-billion dollar franchise would have no problem doing the same to a classic radio/TV program. Unfortunately, the movie's budget has been questioned by Disney's CEO over its super-long production cycle, there's been controversy over the casting of Johnny Depp as a Native American, and the critics have royally trashed it. It's neither as good as it could have been or as bad as critics have would have you believe.

Pros
1) In this version, Tonto has more common sense smarts than the Ranger.

2) Tonto's origin story is shown as well as the Ranger's. There's some really good characterization that I wish the writers and director had embellished.

3) William Fichtner did a delightfully evil job as Butch Cavendish, so much so that I didn't recognize him and was flabbergasted when the credits rolled.

4) Helena Bonham Carter and her artificial leg rocked. Trust me, you have to see the movie to understand.

Cons
1) I normally love mixed genre movies, but the writers did some paranormal stuff that didn't match even my sense of weirdness. It's pretty bad when DH leans over and says, "That rabbit, he's a killer." Other times, the story swung between action-adventure and spoof.

2) Nothing against Armie Hammer. He did the best he could with the script, but the Lone Ranger should have died in the first fifteen minutes of the movie. Yes, he was that much of a tenderfoot, and it did not improve.

3) The story needed some serious pruning. SERIOUS pruning. The framing story of a 100-year-old Tonto relating his adventures to a young fan should have been ditched entirely. The kid asking questions of Tonto kept yanking me out of the story. The rest needed to be tightened.

Overall, I give The Lone Ranger a 7 out of 10. A fun afternoon if you have nothing else better to do or if you're a huge Johnny Depp fan. Otherwise, you might want to wait until it comes out on DVD.

3 comments:

  1. You know, I'm a huge Johnny Depp fan, but they really should've cast a Native American actor. [sigh] Black/yellow/red-facing is ridiculous, especially in the twenty-first century. I get that he's a huge draw, but until they start giving actors of color opportunities to play a wider variety of roles, they're not going to have the chance to develop large bodies of work and become huge draws themselves. Right now there are a one or two black men in Hollywood who are A-list superstars, and... that's about it. It has to start somewhere, and it could've started here, in a movie with a part written for a Native American.

    Johnny Depp is a wonderful actor with an incredible range, and he'd better get at least one Oscar before he dies or I'm going to have strong words with someone. This isn't the kind of role he should be playing, though. :/

    Angie

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  2. I've got mixed feelings about the casting. DH and I had a long talk about race before I wrote the review.

    Johnny's one-quarter Native American. At what point is a person too much of one thing where he/she is insufficient of another. But this movie claims Tonto is a Commanche, Johnny is not one-quarter Comanche, and yes, it would have been more authentic for someone from that tribe to play Tonto, even if he was only one quarter Commanche.

    There were a couple of points in the movie where Tonto has the opportunity to kill Cavendish, but he tries to make the Ranger do it. It would be an interesting look into motivation if they'd expanded on it instead of treating it as a slapstick version of the white guy has to make the decision. That did bug me from the racial standpoint.

    But the casting of the Lone Ranger doesn't piss me off half as much as the casting of The Last Airbender. Maybe I'm trying to justify TLR in my own mind, which isn't good either. Something I need to think about.

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  3. I'll grant you Airbender. :/ I even bought the shirt (Aang Can Stay Asian and Still Save the World) for that one.

    Angie

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