Lone Ranger, The (2013)

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +1

Content: -2

Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, Tom Wilkinson, William Fichtner, Barry Pepper, James Badge Dale, Ruth Wilson and Helena Bonham Carter. Action-Adventure directed by Gore Verbinski.

FILM SYNOPSIS: From producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski, the filmmaking team behind the blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, comes Disney/ Jerry Bruckheimer Filmsí The Lone Ranger, a western 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 how he and man of the law John Reid (Armie Hammer) are opposites brought together by fate and must join forces to battle greed and corruption.

PREVIEW REVIEW: The last Lone Ranger movie (The Legend of the Lone Ranger) was made in 1981, starring Klinton Spilsbury, whose every line was dubbed by James Keach and I believe it was Spilsburyís only film. For those who saw that monstrosity of a movie, you know why it was his only movie. Now, we have another tongue-in-cheek, rollicking version of the masked ranger and his faithful companion. But along with the over-produced look, the several subplots too many, and the fact that Johnny Depp as Tonto does the same shtick he does in all his action/comedies, it is also an offensive, biased, prejudiced, insulting characterization of Americaís biggest minority, the white man.

First, back to Mr. Depp. He plays the anachronistic speaking Tonto with the same facial tics, mannerisms and dry sense of humor as that pirate from the Caribbean, only with caked-on mud to hide the fact that heís a white man playing a Native-American. I thought we werenít supposed to do that anymore. I guess activist actors who want to mock their own race get a pass for race-crossing.

Most of that screen time is taken up with explosive sequences, which for the action addict will be catnip. For many, however, at nearly two and a half hours, the story and the characters lose their charm.

What really began to bother me is that nearly every white person in this film is a fool, a coward, a bigot or a greedy, mustache-twirling villain. In an era when a woman can lose a successful TV series because she uttered a racial epithet twenty years before, it appears that the only people who can still be ridiculed or negatively cartooned are the American pioneers. (I keep hoping for the day when nobody is negatively cartooned.)

Isnít it called bigotry when you paint all members of a race with a negative brush? In the film, the entire establishment of the U.S. populace, from the business community to the military, behave like ravenous demons. Now, I wonít try to defend those who populated the plains some hundred and fifty years ago, as I wasnít there. But I know enough of world history to realize that there have been those in every empire who sold their soul for silver and gold. Greed and villainy are not found in white Americans alone. So whatís the deal with this reverse racism? Evil has a firm hold on the makeup of mankind, so I wonder what the filmmakerís purpose is by implying that an entire race has been bent on the destruction of others. Really, the whole race?

It further frustrates me when people of faith are seen on screen as prim and proper goofs. This film does just that. Every single Christian character in this film is portrayed as an imbecile or a villainous hypocrite. You can be sure thatís the way some (many) in Hollywood see us. I thought that was prejudice.

And in a time when our soldiers are called upon to make life-changing sacrifices, Iím again frustrated with their military predecessors uniformly painted as murderous monsters.

I like it when a film presents the premise that we need to work together and celebrate what different races offer this unique nation. Our differences make us strong. But this film is more like a social statement that wants to negate what our pioneer founders have made possible.

Now, Iím not just a conservative. Iím not just a patriot. Iím also a realist. I know self-aggrandizement and greed have been as much a part of the forming of our nation as any other agenda. But the filmmakers ignore the good and only focus on the bad, delighting in finding fault while ignoring American ideals. I raise the question once again, isnít it harmful when you present only the negative of any race? Certainly there is a place for exposing areas in our creed that need perfecting, but Jerry Bruckheimer and crew do it from a one-sided, often contentious slant.

All that to say, I didnít like this lethargic, bloated, excessive, bastardization of the Long Ranger legacy. Shame on Disney for this bigoted portrait of the American pioneer. It will make my worst film of 2013 list, although I was grateful for one thing: no Klinton Spilsbury.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: Several minor expletives such as damn and hell, even from the Masked Man himself, but I caught no harsh language.

Profanity: I caught no profane use of Godís name or Christís.

Violence: The PG-13 kind of violence, with people being stabled, strangled, shot at close range and blown up, but with little blood to evidence the killings.

Sex: Just a sweet kiss, admittedly, with the two facing each other while on horseback.

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Some drinking.

Other: People, including the lead villain, are seen praying, only to turn out to be hypocrites and murderers; yes, there are those in religion who are little more than whitewashed sepulchers, but what do you call it when an entire religion is summed up as phony, where no examples are given that indicate a true following of their ideals?

Running Time: 150 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and up

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