"Horse says you are a spirit walker."
If you're all finished watching the second trailer for Zack Snyder's Man of Steel, maybe you'd like to watch the other very strange second preview for a 2013 summer blockbuster that came out today. Gore Verbinski has teamed up once again with his Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny Depp for a big budget adaptation of The Lone Ranger, starring Armie Hammer as the title character, a masked wild west hero, and Depp as his Native American sidekick, Tonto.
The Lone Ranger is one of the most enduring icons of the once-dominant western genre, having appeared in radio shows, television series, comic books and movies consistently since his first appearance in 1933. Nowadays, he is mostly remembered for his iconic look, a simple domino mask under a white hat, and for Tonto's pigeon English, a relic of a bygone era of casual pop culture racism towards Native Americans. So it's a little unexpected that Johnny Depp chose to embrace that particular trait for Disney's new re-imagining of the characters, in an era where "political correctness" has evolved from a buzz word into more-or-less the status quo in the kind of mainstream media that Disney usually provides.
We say "a little" unexpected, because this is Johnny Depp we're talking about. He's the one who made the inexplicable decision to play a Keith Richards version of a swashbuckling pirates and got an Oscar nomination for his trouble in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. We imagine that, after that series took off, it would be very hard to say no to any of his creative decisions (assuming, of course, that it was his idea). And perhaps in the context of the film it makes more sense. Maybe he has dialogue about English being his second language, and simply has difficulties with certain aspects of the syntax. Maybe he doesn't even care to learn the language of the white man better, what with the whole "Manifest Destiny" and "Trail of Tears" debacles. Or maybe they're just staying faithful to an element of the original series that, really, we can't imagine anyone being upset about evolving with the times. Be honest: if Tonto didn't say things like, "There come time when good men must wear mask," in that particular near-monotone, would you have complained?
Otherwise, The Lone Ranger looks like good, clean, action extravaganza fun. It co-stars Tom Wilkinson, Ruth Wilson and Helena Bonham Carter, and opens in theaters on July 3, 2013.