The $250,000,000 (million) Disney production “The Lone Ranger” will open in U.S. theaters July 3, 2013. It is a film remake starring Armie Hammer as the ‘lone ranger’ & Johnny Depp as his Native American side kick ‘Tonto.’ There are now ‘4’ movie trailers that have been released by Disney. The last ‘2’ were broadcast during the Super Bowl game (Feb. 3) 2013. Each Super Bowl commercial spot had an estimated price tag of $4 million dollars purchased by Disney. The first 30 second ‘Ranger’ spot aired during the pre-game show & the second extended trailer aired during the game. They brought a glimpse of more comedy from Depp as ‘Tonto’ & some fantastic visual action involving a large moving train in the American southwest.
According to the official “Lone Ranger” website the synopsis of the movie is - “A thrilling adventure infused with action and humor - in which the famed masked hero is brought to life through new eyes. Native American spirit warrior Tonto (Johnny Depp) recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid (Armie Hammer) - a man of the law - into a legend of justice-taking the audience on a runaway train of epic surprises and humorous friction as the two unlikely heroes must learn to work together and fight against greed and corruption.”
There has been much criticism over Johnny Depp’s characterization of ‘Tonto.’ In the second movie trailer ‘Tonto’ does speak a native language which we are to presume is a Comanche tribal dialect. Depp based his make-up & costume design after a painting titled “I am Crow.” It has a native male with a crow above his head whose face is painted completely white with black lines crawling downward. Depp copies that painting exactly - but with a dead crow glued to the top of his head.
Depp then goes all the way with the voice. He recalls Jay Silverheels from the 1950s TV show. This is a Western after all & the dialogue brings us the Hollywood stereotype of ‘Tonto.’ Here are two examples from the movie trailers - “There come a time - when good man-must-wear-mask!” & “Justice is what I seek - Kemosabe!” Depp does bring comedic flair to ‘Tonto’ but we’ll have to see the whole film to find more of his characterization.
Disney halted the original production because of an over bloated budget. The theatrical release date was pushed to July 2013 from Christmas 2012. The budget was brought down initially but only to rise again after reshoots. In the meantime, Johnny Depp became an honorary adopted Comanche Indian, he mingled with Santa Fe native artists, donated scholarship money to the Navajo tribe & served as ‘grand marshal’ of a Comanche parade. Will it all work as Disney hopes to bring people into movie theaters? Who knows? It is entertainment at the cost of $250,000,000 million.