That is not the Lone Ranger

After several months of waiting to see one of my childhood heroes come to life on the big screen, I left the movie theater last weekend feeling as though I had been punched in the gut.

I found producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s and director Gore Verbinski’s new adaptation of the Lone Ranger – the legendary masked man who brought justice to the western frontier with his Commanche sidekick Tonto – on the verge of offensive.

The offense was not due to any bad language, or gruesome scenes, but the manner in which they took one of the greatest heroes of the old West and turned him into a bumbling, cowardly stooge.

I grew up with the Lone Ranger, Zorro, the Cisco Kid, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and of course, John Wayne.

My dad, to this day, remains an avid fan of Westerns, and he passed that along to my brother Jeff and me.

I suspect his TV rarely leaves the Western Channel – one of the greatest products of cable television. My Tivo maintains a rather consistent residence there, also (Ch. 538 on DirecTV).

However, my TV will never be recording this loser of a movie, which will probably be gone from theaters rather quickly based on early reviews.

Thank goodness the late, great Clayton Moore can’t see what this new incarnation of Disney has done to his heroic character.

This movie portrays the Lone Ranger, played by Armie Hammer, as some “Johnny Come Lately” lawyer, who refuses to carry a six-shooter and can’t handle one when it’s handed to him. I’m surprised they didn’t show him routinely falling off his horse.

Meanwhile, Bruckheimer and Verbinski turn Tonto, played by Johnny Depp, into a stand-up comedian spending most of his time poking fun at the Lone Ranger.

Depp is actually the only thing about this movie that kept me from getting up and walking out. He delivers a good performance based on the character he is portraying. That said, that is not the real Tonto, and Johnny Depp is no Jay Silverheels.

The capper, was the Lone Ranger and Tonto weren’t enough, the film’s producers had to bring Silver into this mockery. They turned the famous white stallion into Mr. Ed.

This movie would have been better had they just called it the “Lawyer and the Indian” and scrapped any reference to the Lone Ranger, therefore not soiling the legend’s reputation.

I told my wife Lisa upon leaving the theater, “I’m going to have to go home and watch hours of the real Lone Ranger (Clayton Moore) just to get that out of my system.”
I’m still working on it.

You may email Joel McNeece at and follow him on Twitter @joelmcneece