THE LONE RANGER: Reviewed by Ebert & Armond

THE LONE RANGER: Reviewed by Ebert & Armond

ZombiEbert & Armond White review Gore Verbinski’s THE LONE RANGER!

8 thoughts on “THE LONE RANGER: Reviewed by Ebert & Armond

  1. Thing is, Johnny Depp has gone out of his way to try and be as respectful to both the role and Native American culture as he can be. He’s even been ceremoniously adopted into the Comanche Nation and received a traditional Navajo blessing.

    The Tonto character has been a racial stereotype for decades, Is this not the kind of change that we WANT to see Hollywood take towards characters like this? Heck, I’ve even seen trailers of the movie listing ONLY Johnny Depp.

    What exactly are we to do then? Just toss out Native characters we have because they’re Native and might be seen as old stereotypes? That’s pretty racist.

    This just seems like a no-win situation here.

    1. Disagree completely. Johnny Depp isn’t the problem. It’s the people that decided he should be Tonto. Studios pay for things like Navajo blessings, and everyone accepts it (including the disparaged members of the Navajo Tribe, btw).

      I know for a fact there are American Indian actors who could fill that role perfectly well, maybe even with a bit of tongue in cheek to boot. If the character is to inherently be a stereotype, at least make it a platform for an actual American Indian.

      Front-lining with Johnny Depp doesn’t change the fact that Hollywood continues to make these peoples invisible. The stereotype is unavoidable; using as a platform for a white performer to perpetuate their star and make millions is not.

      1. Fair points. And I’m certainly not going to stand here and say that the industry is perfect as is. But at the end of the day the job of any actor is to play a role. The second we start handing out roles based on skin color (for any reason), we’re doing it wrong. Now I’m not going to go out and say that Johnny Depp was the BEST choice they could have made, but I think it’s wholly inaccurate to call the situation racist. Being racist would require some sort of malice or ignorance on DIsney’s part, and I’m not seeing either. They were clearly aware of the issue and tried to fix it for the better (in their own perhaps misguided way).

        So while I realize it was all part of the joke, to say that the movie is on par with the kinds of stereotypes being thrown around during the period that Pan & The Lost Boys played “Cowboys and Indians”, is a little much. Disney has come a long way since then, and continuing to rag on them without actually discussing what (if anything) they did right isn’t going to help. The worst thing that could happen now is for the studios to become so afraid to tackle the issue that they never use a Native character out of fear of being racist.

        What we need is an open discussion, not low-blow jokes. But perhaps this just isn’t the right medium for that.

        1. Your utter condescension aside, it isn’t just a joke. It’s also an articulation of how I feel about the film.

          I should note first that people actually ARE and ALWAYS HAVE BEEN cast for how they look. Almost entirely. Talk to any casting director, and they’ll tell you that. If a person is a star or platformed to be one, then they can train them/edit around to get their performance to get what they want. Happens more often then you’d think. But the “look” is key, because cultures/perspectives are one of art’s/entertainment’s primary contributions to a society.

          The first movie with talking was actually about that truth (a little picture called The Jazz Singer), and it clearly addresses something white performers had been doing for years up to the point. The history of both blackface and redface in Hollywood goes back to the beginning, and what it amounts to is a group of people being allowed or not allowed to appear onscreen.

          In this instance, what this does is erase the unseen perspective from the proceedings. That Disney can pay off a Comanche chief is fine and all, but it’s a misstep by everyone involved. Because when a bunch of American Indians sign up for Johnny Depp to play a Native American character in a blockbuster film, they are ensuring their continued invisibility in popular culture. Whether the film is any good otherwise is beside the point (though I will note I found it silly, bloated and sort of soulless, myself).

          Studios are not going to be afraid of American Indian characters, bud. Not if they have a property where dollars can be made. Casting a white man in the role was a purely financial decision by everyone involved, because they don’t think a true American Indian can hack it at the box office.

          It’s funny, because it’s mostly the same reason they used stereotypes in those old films — it wasn’t out of hate, but rather what they thought people would buy. A prejudice, including sheer lack of faith due to preconceived notions, is racism.

          1. Where are you getting this idea that they “payed off” anyone? You seem to be using this as the crux of your statement. but I’ve yet to see any proof. If Depp identifies himself as a Native, and has been accepted by Natives… then where exactly is the problem?

  2. I cannot give you the names of my personal sources, but rest assured they are “close” to the Mouse House. And that really is all I can say about that.

    Though, if you read the entirety of my replies, the “crux” had nothing to do with those dealings. That’s just Hollywood doing what it’s always done: manipulating the media to ensure financial rewards. Hell, half the reason we want to see things is because the very practiced machine told us we should. That’s a power I respect.

    No, the crux of my argument is that a company with a long an unfortunate history of misrepresenting racial stereotypes (from Song of the South to Pocahontas) has made a racially offensive misstep by casting the member of a dominant race in the role of a character of a disparaged minority race (without the requisit tongue in cheek required to pass it as satire). As such, they should be reprimanded socially and commercially (which, by all accounts, they are).

    1. I’d also like to circle back and address two points. First, Depp has never actually figured out if he has actual heritage or not. No blood tests or anything. Very easy to get one of those (heck, even France has ’em now!). Furthermore, being accepted by one tribe means astonishingly little; every American Indian tribe is its own nation. It’s like saying “Well, everyone in Germany said it was fine, so all the Europeans are totally cool with it.”

      1. One does not need to be related by blood to be a member of a given culture or people. Us Americans have proven that time and time again.

        No matter the circumstance of Depp’s approval, to denying its authenticity is to say that the Native Tribes have no say over their own culture. You don’t get to make that call, I don’t get to make that call. They do. If they want to give him membership/approval in exchange for a free subway sandwich, they can do that. To imply that they are simply tools in the white man’s corporate machine is really not giving them the respect they deserve though. They’re educated people and can make educated decisions (even if it is just for monetary gain).

        I’m also well aware of how the tribes work. But you do understand however, that your logic makes it all but impossible for ANY actor to ever meet your requirements? If no single tribe or people’s voice matters on a national scale, then what good would any one actor of any one tribe/people do?

        Depp is one man, playing one character, who got the approval of the one tribe he was representing in a movie. That’s more than enough for me. We’re going to have to disagree on the rest, cause this is getting out of hand.

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