At first impression, one might look twice at the title of this blog. “Really? The Lone Ranger? The one with Johnny Depp wearing that crow hat?” Yeah, that one. To all the people who scorn this movie, I hope you’ll take another look. Why?
A) It’s a Johnny Depp movie. Never underestimate the Deppster. He can pull of a one-liner with as much skill as the legendary Phyllis Diller. Many times through the movie, Depp’s one-liners made me laugh. Examples are many, but here are a few of my favorites.
– Tonto: “Nice Shot.” Lone Ranger: “That was supposed to be a warning shot!” Tonto: “In that case, not so good.”
– Tonto is buried neck deep alongside the Lone Ranger, in the ground and left behind while the Comanche tribe abandons the area. Hooves pound the ground around the vulnerable heads, barely missing them as the riders depart. Silence falls, as does the reality of the situation. They are alone and trapped. Tonto to Lone Ranger: “My name come up?
But comic timing isn’t Depp’s only talent. He can say so much with so little.
– Lone Ranger: “I’m not a savage!” Tonto: “You are not a man.”
B) An amazing breadth and scope of Native American mythology. From the totem animal Depp keeps on him (literally!) to the cries of “Wendango!”, the open-minded viewer is whisked along on the current of one man’s spiritual journey. (Tonto’s) In my opinion, that is what coaxed Depp into accepting that role. He has the luxury to pick and choose what films he lends his talents to, and he often picks films that stretch the envelope of the normal. And he chose this film.
The character of Tonto is far more important to the main story line–to liberate the area from the Bad Guys–than the past TV show, and his participation is also critical to Dan Reid’s Hero’s Journey. Really, the film is Tonto’s Hero’s Journey as much as it is the Ranger’s.
C) The sociopolitical elements of the story. The 80’s idea of “Greed is good” has been replaced by, and I paraphrase Tonto, “The poison of greed is all-pervasive.” A fundamental question asked by this film, and is uttered by the Deppster, asks: “What does the white man kill for?” In the current political dynamics happening in this last decade, I believe that to be a critical and brave question.
It’s the kind of question presented by a both Sci-Fi and a Futuristic Romance. That is why I posted this blog here, where I talk about expanding galaxies of understanding. There is much to be seen and discussed in 2013’s The Lone Ranger, far and above the discussion about Depp’s face paint and crow hat. Just as there is much to be seen and discussed when a reader opens up a Sci-Fi/Futuristic Romance. One need only be willing to let those vistas unfold.
Oh, and Silver made me laugh. Yeah, I’m a dork.