Seeing that The Lone Ranger has a 64% positive ratting on Rotten Tomatoes and it only recouped $74 million of it’s estimated $250 million budget, I think it’s safe to say that there won’t be a sequel. The Lone Ranger is not the Pirates of the Caribbean cash cow that Disney had hoped. But that’s fine with me.
Johnny Depp is a talented actor. I don’t care if you love him like Hunny or if you’re over him, there is no denying his talent. The movie opens with an aged Tonto talking to a small child dressed as The Lone Ranger character. When I saw him in the old man makeup, I thought, Wow. They did an awesome job on this. But his voice, movements, and posture were that of an octogenarian. The special effects make up would not have worked if Johnny Depp didn’t work it. I thought, Hey. Maybe I was wrong. I’m not perfect. Maybe I can stomach him in the get up and the face paint. Then they flashed back to young Tonto, and I couldn’t do it.
The dialogue felt superficial and contrived. Things like “My crime is being Indian,” and the sarcasm from “I wouldn’t understand because I’m a savage” fell on deaf ears. It WAS a crime to be a Native American. The government paid people for Indian scalps: man, woman, and child. No one was safe from the genocide the American government allowed and funded. It’s a painful reminder that any government made up of human beings is going to do evil things. The power and the pain of these statements cannot be conveyed by Johnny Depp. He’s an amazing actor, but the “pain of my people” sounds ridiculous coming from Johnny Depp masquerading as a “savage” with a dead bird hat.
The way he spoke in the halted speech pattern that is stereotypical of Native Americans bothered me, at first. Johnny Depp is an actor. It’s not just his job, it is his gift. He never slipped out of his “Tonto talk.” Even as the older version of Tonto, he kept the speech pattern and made his voice sound gravely to accompany the age of his character. By the movie’s end, I did not wish he had spoken differently. Armie Hammer is another story…
With all the money Disney put into The Lone Ranger, I don’t understand why they didn’t get Armie Hammer a voice coach. They could have cut expenses somewhere, anywhere else so that he could be consistent with his accent. Sometimes he used a thick southern accent, sometimes he didn’t, sometimes he didn’t have an accent at all. What in the world?! I can’t stand that. It drives me crazy! Leonardo DiCaprio is a good actor, but he cannot do accents. He’s always going in and out of them. Exaggerating them when there’s no need. Unlike Johnny Depp, who kept the same creepy voice for the entirety of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and kept the same British accent for the 116 minute long Sweeny Todd, which is a different British accent than the one he uses for Captain Jack Sparrow, and a totally different sounding voice than the one he used for Finding Neverland when he played the author of Peter Pan (Forgive me for sounding all Hunny like, but the man is talented!).
It all boils down to this: The Lone Ranger could have been different. There have been many successful westerns over the last few years, and a nostalgia piece like The Lone Ranger should have been a success. But it wasn’t. Even though Johnny Depp was an Executive Producer on the film, I can’t help but think that this film may have struck a chord if someone else had played Tonto. And maybe someone else had written the script… And don’t forget the voice coach for Armie Hammer.