‘The Lone Ranger’ Is an Epic Train Wreck
By Anne Hornaday
Those last three, of course, starred Depp himself. And it turns out that The Lone Ranger may best be understood and appreciated as one long, baggy homage to Depp, who addresses the myriad personae that have made him the world’s biggest movie star, especially the tattooed, bejeweled bohemian primitive that defines his off-screen look as well as the punched-up version when he plays Jack Sparrow.
As Tonto, the Lone Ranger’s perennially stoic and monosyllabic sidekick, Depp both challenges and indulges in the caricatures that made Jay Silverheels’ TV character such a lightning rod for Native American outrage. Depp plays Tonto as a sly, sarcastic spirit warrior, continually mugging and making with subtle put-downs of his earnest but dim crime-fighting partner. But his guttural pidgin English, elaborate war paint and the ridiculous dead crow he wears as a headdress suggest that, for all his desire to give Tonto the dimension and dignity he was robbed of for decades, Depp owes his own dubious debt to the Noble Savage stereotype he claims to critique.
By Chris Williams
By Ilan Preskovsky
No, he's played by Captain Jack Sparrow who may have been a breath of anarchic fresh air in the first Pirates of the Caribbean film but wore out his welcome within minutes of turning up in its first sequel. You can paint him white, put a dead bird on his head and give him an "Injun" accent but, make no mistake, this is Captain Jack doing his best to further wreck the reputation of the man we once knew as Johnny Depp.
By Kevin Gover
And there are problems with many of commercial accoutrements to the film. The “Lego Lone Ranger Comanche Camp” includes a Tonto figure, a canoe, and a “scorpion launcher.” Children are unlikely to discern that real Comanche villages had none of these. Also troubling is the Tonto costume for boys. Though the film makes clear that Tonto is eccentric and does not dress like most Comanches, a child will not likely understand. These are not trivial matters, and I hope that Disney will stop this sort of thing. Children get very little accurate information about Indians in their formal educations, and Indian people seem always to be fighting a wearying battle against lies and stereotypes in the popular culture.
By Chris Eyre
By Nancy Marie Mithlo
Maybe Johnny Depp misheard Disney. When they said they wanted another Sparrow, he thought they meant a bird on his head.
For more on Johnny Depp and Tonto, see Ilsa in a Bird Hat, Depp Justifies Tonto's Stereotypes, and Geronimo in a Crow Headdress?