Thursday, July 4, 2013
"The Lone Ranger" opens in San Diego July 3. Guest critic Nate John has a review of this classic remade.
I sat down in the theater for "The Long Ranger" with low expectations. I left after the final roll of credits feeling the film hits above its mark -- just a bit above. It is better than the last three "Pirates of the Caribbean" films, for whatever that's worth.
Johnny Depp, leading actor/sidekick/narrator Tonto, is an imbalanced, trippy Comanche tribesman with a lot of one-liners in the chamber. Armie Hammer is a handsome, law-abiding gent who turns from his non-violent ways to seek vengeance for his brother's death. And that's pretty much it.
It's a mix of light Western movie fun, wonky Depp style, over-the-top stunts and chase scenes, and a "Lone Ranger" episodic finish to it all, complete with the unmistakable William Tell Overture made famous by the TV series of the same name.
"Lone Ranger" is the predictable summer blockbuster remake we should expect from director Gore Verbinski, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, and ultra-mega-superstar Depp.
The landscape is beautiful and at least that makes the film substantially more enjoyable.
Begin Obligatory Native Americanism Rant:
Depp seems to have the right credentials to play American Indian sidekick Tonto. But some argue Depp's performance gives off a racist-y vibe -- a distorted view of Native Americanism -- a caricature that many American Indians wish to stifle after their long history of oppression by white dudes like Depp and the Disney execs.
These arguments are not unfounded. While I understand Depp's Tonto has to be outlandish to pull a 140-minute film along, his performance as a mystical, brain baked Indian evokes those unmistakable feelings of racial discomfort (like when I saw the black face routine in "Holiday Inn"  for the first time).
Less cartoonish Natives in the film describe Tonto's madness and its origins. It is important to note we do see these more grounded representations of the North American's indigenous, but their parts are forgettable and short. It is certainly arguable that Depp and Disney, being highly influential social entities, have responsibility to not be this whack, and present more realistic and respectful images of an already damaged culture.
Note: Director Gore Verbinski did hire Comanche consultant William “Two Raven” Voelker to ensure cultural correctness.
Sidebar to Note: Could have fooled me.
Read more on this matter here.
"The Lone Ranger" is rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence, and some suggestive material.
See more about "The Lone Ranger" (and its cult following) here.
"True Grit" (2010 & 1969), "The Wild Bunch" (1969) features one of the bloodiest battles in film history, "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969), "Tombstone" (1993), "Shanghai Noon" (2000)
Other "Lone Ranger" works:
Here is a link to the first episode of "The Long Ranger" for those who never saw the original TV series.