The Lone Failure


Adrienne K saw The Lone Ranger so the rest of us don’t have to and her scathing take down of the film post on Native Appropriations pretty much confirms all of my fears about this stinking pile of mess.

I’m not sure who this fucking thing was for.  There’s no nostalgia for this character for anyone under the age of 90.  Tonto was always going to be a problem.  In the radio show, he was the total embodiment of the Noble Savage caricature.  He’s not exactly a character I’d hold up as representative of my people were I Native American.  Casting Johnny Derp in the role is a final slap in the face to Native Americans.

Oh, but he’s one twentiethteenth Native– shut the fuck up!  No one thinks of him as Native anything.  If he truly stood up for Native representation, he would have backed down and told Disney to cast someone who doesn’t need a flow chart to prove they have some Native blood somewhere in their long lost ancestry.  The only good Depp has done in portraying this character is that it’s stirred up the conversation about Native representation in Hollywood.

In truth, judging from Adrienne’s review, it doesn’t seem like it would have mattered who was cast in the role.  Even if Tonto was portrayed by a Native actor, the movie would still fail to connect with audiences.  I’m kind of glad a Native actor wasn’t attached to this playing an insane caricature of his people.  We can point to it as a failure of substance rather than a failure of trying something new by casting a Native lead.  This was never going to be a movie that accurately portrayed Native anything.

From: Native Appropriations

  • torsoboy

    I dunno, this kind of movie doesn’t really flaunt being a wholly honorable attempt to redeem under-acknlowedged Native America culture in the first place, so I don’t think it’s entirely fair to fault it for something it’s not trying to do. If you wanted to portray Native Americans as something American audiences could have a heartfelt, genuine connection with, you wouldn’t make a Lone Ranger movie to begin with, and you certainly wouldn’t cast Johnny Depp in it. I’d blame all of the Native American stuff on the old show, and blame the Johnny Depp part on the Disney Money Machine™. It’s another formulaic Johnny Depp money maker, I wouldn’t worry too much about placing any kind of racial upheaval upon it. But if it makes you feel any better, there was plenty of “stupid white people” this, “stupid white people” that in it. LOL

    • Jamie Noguchi

      I’m just kind of baffled why they picked the Lone Ranger. It seems like an odd vehicle to push that Army Hammer kid. There’s got to be better material out there for a big blockbuster summer type ‘splosion fest.

      And you’re right, there’s no pretense at being authentic. Though they promised to reinvent Tonto, they never imply that they mean to make him a better representation. It’s just a shame that after this movie, we probably won’t hear about Native actors in anything for a good long while.

      • torsoboy

        I agree. For me, the sad part stems from the relationship of Native
        Americans to our American cultural history. While it’s easy to
        acknowledge the long, rich history or their own, it seems that Native
        Americans will forever be the people that white Europeans and later
        white Americans almost eradicated for the sake of driving west in search
        of riches, so I fear there will always be some kind of stigma placed on
        any Native American roles (whether played by Native Americans or not). Regardless about how each individual feels about it, it’s so engrained in the American culture that you really can’t escape
        telling that kind of story without appearing to be blatantly false, or without telling a story predating the arrival of Europeans.
        Not that it’s an excuse for Disney, but it just goes to show that successfully
        telling a Native American story will be culturally difficult any way you
        look at it. :-/

        • SamuraiArtGuy

          When people learn about my ancestry and spirituality – I follow Lakota tradition, as that’s who my teachers mostly were – they often ask me what to read to get introduced to that world. I usually give them “Black Elk Speaks” to read. It’s a
          short, beautiful read, and gives good sense of the Lakota worldview,
          Black Elk’s remarkable vision, and a little cultural and historical

          Then I point them at Dee Epps Brown’s “Bury My Heart At Wounded
          Knee”… A bitter, painful, savage slog trough the settlement of
          America from the Native View and the horrifying chain of Broken Treaties. Yeah, it’s like that too, and NOT taught in your history class.

  • SamuraiArtGuy

    I’m about a quarter Native, no idea what nation… gets kinda messy a couple of generations back. But I was kind of worried about the casting of Jhonny Depp as Tonto…. but I had like almost NO expectations from this film, as the source material was essentially a cartoon, live action not withstanding.

    And seriously Native Americans have more pressing issues than funky films that almost no one went to see. But since this is tanking in the theaters, it’ll be on Netflix pretty swift, and I can catch it for goofs when I am bored some late night.