Despite such stellar reviews as, ” Colossal, misguided, dust-choked mess,” (Dave White of Movies.com) , “An extravagantly squandered opportunity,” ( Stephanie Zacharek of “The Village Voice.” )and my personal favorite, “Except for the dynamite finale, The ‘Long’ Ranger feels like a long, slow ride to the dump, to the dump, to the dump, dump, dump,” ( Joe Williams of the St. Louis Post- Dispatch) We took Zoe, Parker and Nathan to see “The Lone Ranger” Friday night.
Our alternative was spending another sweltering evening sitting by the floor dryers half-naked, scavenging for whatever particles of food Parker could reach if we hung him upside down over the dehumidifier blocking our pantry. There was no way going to the movies could be worse.
I will say, the reviews made sure I had very low expectations, so in that regard, I was pleasantly surprised. Sure it was long, and Parker was extremely antsy, and Zoe had to go to the bathroom 3 times because she drank too much iced tea at dinner. But I’ve sat through longer. “Deuce Bigalow Male Gigolo” comes to mind. Yes, I know it’s an hour shorter. But time is relative. “Lone Ranger,” in contrast, was a reasonably entertaining movie.
Many people complained that the Lone Ranger played second fiddle to Tonto in this movie, and I wouldn’t disagree with that assessment. Johnny Depp is difficult to contain. He’s a scene stealer. I did find myself wondering why he would choose to play Tonto, the sidekick, but eventually the backstory on the enigma that is this new incarnation of Tonto revealed an unexpected depth to the character. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I found Tonto shift from amusing to tragic in that moment.
I do think that Disney should have been more careful in some of the scenes in this movie. Was it necessary to show Butch Cavendish eating the heart of the Lone Ranger’s brother? Whether the movie is PG-13 or not, kids will want to see it. They can’t claim they didn’t intend for it to be a kids movie and then put out stuff like this to entice children:
There is a lot of violence, which I wasn’t surprised about, but there is a line between criminals and true evil. They chose to make Cavendish the latter, and several times his behavior had Zoe and Parker covering their eyes and ears. There is a way to show his character without being so graphic.
The family in front of us was a father and his two young boys. They came in late, and the dad seemed to either have hearing problems or a lack of theater etiquette. This knucklehead constantly snorted when he laughed and made loud commentary about each significant scene. When it appears that John Reid (aka The Lone Ranger) was dead just a few minutes into the film, he bellowed, ” Ok boys! Movie’s over! Time to go!” Chuckle snort chuckle. Sometimes I wish there were a vetting process for movie goers.
My favorite part of the movie came when The Lone Ranger and Tonto are captured by Comanche. I have a confession to make: I’ve never been much for cowboys, but from the time I was a very young girl I have had a mild obsession with Native American culture. I don’t know where it came from, but some of my earliest memories are of sitting on the floor of my bedroom with my fisher price record player
playing with my doll with the papoose on her back, listening to my 10 Little Indians Record.
Even at such a young age, I seemed to grasp the idea that something terrible was happening to these 10 little Indian boys. First, their numbers were increasing, but then things would happen to them, and one by one they were gone. It’s a pretty sick song if you listen to it. Here is the original poem:
Ten little Injuns standin’ in a line,One toddled home and then there were nine;
- Nine little Injuns swingin’ on a gate,
- One tumbled off and then there were eight.
- Eight little Injuns gayest under heav’n.
- One went to sleep and then there were seven;
- Seven little Injuns cuttin’ up their tricks,
- One broke his neck and then there were six.
- Six little Injuns all alive,
- One kicked the bucket and then there were five;
- Five little Injuns on a cellar door,
- One tumbled in and then there were four.
- Four little Injuns up on a spree,
- One got fuddled and then there were three;
- Three little Injuns out on a canoe,
- One tumbled overboard and then there were two.
- Two little Injuns foolin’ with a gun,
- One shot t’other and then there was one;
- One little Injun livin’ all alone,
- He got married and then there were none.
- See what I mean? I was traumatized.
- I was even more traumatized when I went to search for these lyrics and came to realize that there were alternate (even more racist) versions of this song performed by The Christy Minstrels in blackface all over the country, and that one of my (previously) favorite authors, Agatha Christie,also wrote a book titled “Ten Little ____ (N word)” which was then changed to be called, “Ten Little Indians” before being made into a movie as “And Then There Were None.” What’s worse? It’s her best selling novel of all time. Deep sigh.
I couldn’t have been more than 5 years old when my obsession began. We were living in Huntington Beach, California. I didn’t live anyplace where I was exposed to Native culture, really. My mother says one of her favorite things I ever said as a child was, “If I cut slits in my clothes, do you think people might think I’m Indian?”
You tell me. Do you think a little fringe in my clothing would give people the impression that I was Native American?
My mother made me a dress to wear. I still have it.
My kids have used it for dress up occasionally, but none of them ever got too into the Native American culture the way I did. Poor Sydney was forced to sit through “Pocahontas” several times as a kid when she would have preferred “Lion King’ or “101 Dalmatians.”
Parker loved wearing the dress, but more as part of his obsession with Peter Pan.
A couple years ago I decided to wear a Native American costume to our neighbor’s Halloween party.
The dress was below knee-length, not tight, not revealing in any way. But give men a few drinks and a girl in braids, and suddenly they’re pun masters. “Pocahotness” “Poke-your-heiny” “Pocahottie” “Peekyourhontas” and “Me want Wampum on your bum bum.” Doesn’t have to make sense, they all think they’re hilarious. Soon after the party I started wondering if it’s culturally insensitive for a non-Native to wear such a costume, but for me, it was less of a costume and more of a fantasy come true.
Last year, my mom gave me a Native American doll for my birthday. It was a thoughtful, sentimental gift.
My daughter’s friend took this pic and has, on occasion, pulled it out just to giggle about it. My children are convinced the doll is possessed and have taken to putting her in each other’s beds, moving her around the house, and sometimes I will find her shoved in a closet just so she will stop staring at them.
Oh wait, I was doing a movie review, wasn’t I?
The truth is, I don’t feel so protective of the Lone Ranger’s legacy. If he is a little boring, or not portrayed so much as the hero, but Tonto’s stooge, it doesn’t really bother me that much. I think my biggest gripe is that the best part of the original “Lone Ranger” story was a little lost in this remake. Yes, He refuses to shoot a gun, he doesn’t want to hurt anyone, it’s all about justice. But in the midst of the violence and quick-witted snarky lines, the true heart of the Lone Ranger wasn’t shown.
The best way I can explain that is by showing the creed from the original show. If they had made THIS Lone Ranger, I think the response may have been different:
That all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world.
That God put the firewood there but that every man must gather and light it himself.
In being prepared physically, mentally, and morally to fight when necessary for that which is right.
That a man should make the most of what equipment he has.
That ‘This government, of the people, by the people and for the people’ shall live always.
That men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.
That sooner or later… somewhere…somehow… we must settle with the world and make payment for what we have taken.
That all things change but truth, and that truth alone, lives on forever.
In my Creator, my country, my fellow man.”