The Lone Ranger Reaction

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.

Johnny Depp is Bothering Me (My Objections to Tonto)

It’s been bothering me for some time now.

Hunny is a Johnny Depp super fan dancing on the thin line between deep admiration and crazy stalker.  I push him over to the admiration side from time to time because I don’t want Hunny to skip town and move to France to gawk at JD on the regular (I would be super disappointed if he went without me).  Since Hunny has a strong man love for Johnny Depp, I find out about his comings and goings before your average person.

I remember the first time I heard that JD was going to be Tonto.  I was sitting on the floor in our living room.  Hunny was sitting on the couch, hunched over our laptop.  He let out a large, startling laugh.  “They’re doing a Lone Ranger remake.  Johnny Depp is going to be Tonto!”  Before the words registered in my mind, Hunny whipped the computer around so I could see one of the first leaked pictures of him in the Tonto makeup and garb.  “This is going to be good!”

My reaction was, They couldn’t get a Native American to play Tonto?

Hunny’s face fell.  I think his heart broke a little.  My disapproval of JD’s role choice was just as damaging to him if I had disapproved of something Hunny did.  I don’t know what it is about JD.  Hunny feels like they are one and the same.  Hunny sees himself in JD.  Except for the fact that they both attract women from the ages of 15 – 75, I can’t see it.

Seriously, though.  Tonto would be a great role for an up and coming actor.  There’s a Native American actor who is still highly sought after right now.  I think you’ve heard of him, or at the very least, heard a teenage girl squeal about him…

I know this movie is being advertised as “the next Pirates of the Carribean.”  I understand what the studio execs were thinking:  We need another period piece for our Golden Goose.  It has to be something where he can play a crazy character.  And he has to wear makeup.  The female demographic really responds to him in makeup… I know!  Cowboys and Indians haven’t been in for decades.  Let’s bring it back!  He can play an Indian!  I mean, Native American. 

But come on!  Let’s think this through a little.  Wouldn’t people be offended if he wore makeup to play an African American?  Prosthetics to play an Asian?  I think so.  At least one other blog post I’ve read agrees.

All of this doesn’t matter, because Hunny is making me watch it.  In the theater.  I can hardly watch the previews without cringing.  I don’t know how I’m going to make it through the movie, but once I see it, I’m going to let you know how I feel about it.  Is the storyline more powerful than Johnny Depp playing Tonto?  Is it grabbing enough to make me forget it?  I’ll let you know.

30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 7} Summer Blockbuster or (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Before I delve into the movie I chose for today’s genre, I’d like to share some history behind the term “Summer Blockbuster.”  How old do you think this term is?  Sixty years?  Fifty?  I’ll give you a hint: this movie paved the way for Shark Week.  Jaws, which was released in 1975, began the summer blockbuster craze.  Jaws was released during the summer, and even though it’s million dollar ticket sales had been surpassed in the past by Gone with the Wind and The Sound of Music, the film’s success created a modern movie tradition.

“Blockbuster” itself is a term that was originally associated with theatre.  Historians believe that this term meant that the play was so successful that it “busted” the other play houses on the block.  Now it is used to describe movies, books, video games, or anything that makes a ton of money.

The Pirates franchise is perfect for the Summer Blockbuster genre.  It’s high action, it has romance, and it is a period piece.  Did that last part throw you?  I think part of what makes Pirates so special is that it is a period piece.  It takes the genre of Summer Blockbuster and gives it an interesting spin.  Old world pirates are shrouded in mystery and fantasy.  There are so many legends and folk lore surrounding pirates that I think a well done movie about pirates was bound to happen.  It just so happened to be a Summer Blockbuster.

Everyone who has heard of this movie franchise knows that it was based on the popular Disney theme park ride.  What you may not know is that the screenwriters wrote the script in the early 90’s and Disney turned down the movie in the pitch meeting.  Steven Spielberg got the script and wanted to make the movie with Steve Martin or Robin Williams as Captain Jack.  Disney still did not want to make the movie.  This is so exciting!  Almost or possibly a full decade after the original pitch to Disney, Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio saw their script become a Summer Blockbuster.  Give your dreams a chance.  Sometimes they do not come to fruition immediately.  Keep working toward your goals.

Favorite Line: You like pain?  Try wearing a corset!

Favorite Character: Jack Sparrow, of course!

Favorite Scene: When Elizabeth passes out from wearing her too tight dress falling into the water.  It’s kind of symbolic.  Society is trying to confine her into a certain type of person that she can never be so fate intervenes and she is allowed to be one with her true self – a sea loving adventurer.