Last January I wrote that no other fictional character has been such an important part of my life than the Lone Ranger, starting with radio and the movies in the 1950s through the final days of Clayton Moore, who portrayed the Western lawman on TV.
It was in January that I learned Disney was going to make the movie and that Johnny Depp would be playing Tonto. “Depp better not mess it all up with his usual mugging into the camera,” I penned.
I wasn’t going to pay the inflated price of going to see the film at the theater; I planned to wait until the movie was available at the video store. But so many people who seemed to agree with my concerns seven months ago urged me to go see it, so I did.
My expectations were confirmed. It was Captain Jack Sparrow dressed as an Indian. There were outrageous explosions and exploits so common to today’s films that keep me out of the theater in the first place.
But this time it was personal because of my love of the character created by Fran Striker back in 1932.
There was very little to like in this latest remake. The film did follow the basic tale of the Texas Rangers who are ambushed by Butch Cavendish and his gang. Everyone dies except John Reed, aka the Lone Ranger, who is nursed back to health by an Indian named Tonto.
There was no need to make Cavendish so evil, so cannibalistic in this film.
There was one brief moment in the too-long film that brought back pleasant memories toward the end when the Lone Ranger and Tonto decide to take matters into their own hands as the William Tell Overture swells to a crescendo. That was a joyful noise soon supplanted by more outlandish stunts.
There was very little effort to portray the Lone Ranger as a good man. Oh, it was there, but you had to look for it. Tonto was more like a buffoon than a faithful companion.
The best performance in the entire film was turned in by the white horse that played Silver. At the end, as was always done, the Lone Ranger has Silver rear up on his hind legs as the masked man hollers “Hi-Yo Silver.” Tonto looks at him and says, “Don’t ever do that again.”
I’m delighted the film has become an overnight flop.
The Disney folks should be ashamed.