The Big Picture: The Lone Ranger: What Happened?

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pottyaboutpotter1:
Say Bob. The Lone Ranger is Summer 2013's biggest flop. But didn't The Lone Ranger open at No.2 in the Box Office and has made over $100 million? And then there's that Robot movie which opened at No.3 and has yet to make $100 million. I'm not saying anything Bob. Just making an observation.

After one weekend, Pacific Rim has made back half its budget, meaning it has the rest of its running life to make another $95M.

After two weekends, The Lone Ranger has made back half its budget, meaning it has the rest of its running life to make another $95M.

Ergo, The Lone Ranger is a bigger flop than Pacific Rim, as a second weekend can do wonders.

evilthecat:

PunkRex:
Why you rip on my favourite film? Im fairly sure the real Samurai didn't go out quite as spectacularly but its still a good battle and the message seemed legit. I know the term Samurai mean't alot of things in Japan back in the day and they didn't all go on about honour and duty but I don't see how it's offensive.

I'm in a very tiny minority here, but I did find the last samurai offensive on a level. Not racially offensive, heck it was wildly popular in Japan, but I do find it sort of intellectually offensive.

Firstly, it completely subordinates the entire point of the events it is depicting. There was actually a rebellion against the Meiji government whose leader (Saigo Takamori) was the basis for Ken Watanabe's character.

The thing is, what they were actually fighting for was the retention of the enormous social privileges which were being taken away from the samurai class in favor of a more meritocratic society. Being a samurai was not a profession anyone could pick up, it was a birthright, and these people were fighting because they believed that that birthright should make them socially superior to other people.

The whole "life in every breath" thing is also just weird, not just in that it's absolutely meaningless but also in that it's actually the opposite of how samurai at the time tended to describe Bushido. Samurai seem to have been relentlessly obsessed with death. The "philosophy" of the samurai is all about treating life with detachment and being ready to sacrifice yourself if required.

But what's really dody about this is that this kind of misrepresentation (i.e. "anyone can be a samurai", "bushido is a part of Japan's national character", etc) is that it was a huge component in the ideology of Japanese militarism. It has absolutely nothing to do with what real samurai actually believed, but it does have an awful lot to do with what the people who pushed Japan into World War 2 believed, with massive and terrible consequences for just about everyone involved. The film is referencing that pretty much directly.

Now, I'm not saying that The Last Samurai promotes militarism (and regardless, I'd be a massive hypocrite if I said that I could never enjoy films or books which are supportive of militarism) but it's still directly referencing that era and the way that era sought to rewrite history.

Now, the real issue for me is not about that. Heck, the actual ideas behind the film are so meaningless that it doesn't really promote anything except that Japan is cool. It's really just about selling the really stereotypical imagery of "traditional" Japanese culture (inner peace, cherry blossom, submissive women) as something good and wholesome and which you can be part of irrespective of who you are, and that's.. a bit offensive in just how shallow it is.

As I said, I get its romantisised out the wozzoo but there's so much I just dig about it. The whole redemption thing has been done to death but the story seemed more focused on the Samurai than Tom Cruise, the imagry was nice along with the music, the fight/battle scenes were amazing and harsh (I love the shot that pans over the final battle showing the scale of it), the acting's good (love Watanabe), I just love the crap out of it.

I heard it was actually based on the story of a Welsh guy so it was kinda lame of Hollywood to put a bloody American in the leading role but it didn't stop the film from being the one time I liked Tom Cruise.

Still, you have a point. I'm a fairly simple guy anyway, my movies can be too /)^3^(\

You forgot the conman who told the production crew he was an indian and sold them loads of utter fake shit.

Which is a crime in America, you cannot claim you are an indian when you are not and sell fake indian products. For reasons other than false advertising and what basically amounts to fraud.

http://front.kinja.com/lone-rangers-native-american-fashion-is-shameful-dis-719199201

I'd be more inclined to give MovieBob more grief about his complaints of racebending in the casting if I didn't think that there are certain roles which are only given to lily white actors. How many romantic comedies (made in Hollywood, no cheating with foreign films) can you count in which both leads were not very, very white? The few times in which this is not the case, the movie has to make a big deal about it like it's two different species getting together.

Personally, I'd rather that race was a non-issue in casting for all movies aside from one franchise. Bond movies I do think should make a point of a very diverse cast of Bond girls which include sexy women of all colors, creeds, ethnicities, etcetera. Yes, I am a pig and there is nothing you can do to stop me.

I suppose it's too simple to consider that people have just gotten tired of Jonny Depp's kookyness. I mean, it's not like Erol Flynn swashbuckling adventure was in demand when PotC came out. That film made it popular for a time and this could have done the same for westerns. It's just that Depp hasn't evolved much since then; mugging the same persona in movie after movie to the point we're all wondering why they think pirates 5 will be a breath of fresh air.

The problem with finance types (and I am one so I know) is an unwillingness to admit the formula changes very quickly. Doing what was successful once may succeed again, but with less impact over time until something flops. They banked on who they thought was a "do no wrong" actor in a property that really only exists as an historical remnant, only known for the 1812 overture, hi ho silver, and the name Tonto to be used as a stereotyped slur against natives. The only thing to take away is that Depp isn't the draw he once was, and he should join Mike Meyers wherever he goes between Shrek movies.

I mean, I'm not a fan of even the concept of the doofus slowly becoming the hero, but it really should have worked for the rest of the country.

I find I trust Bob less and less.

Stomperchomper:
So I feel like the only one around who actually liked the movie...

(Yes, I know, I'm never the ONLY one)

Ahem i've been defending this movie sense before bob opened his mouth which i knew was coming sense he only likes deps "bad movies." like Ed wood.

which by the way he likes cause sensai ebert liked it back in the day.

lacktheknack:

pottyaboutpotter1:
Say Bob. The Lone Ranger is Summer 2013's biggest flop. But didn't The Lone Ranger open at No.2 in the Box Office and has made over $100 million? And then there's that Robot movie which opened at No.3 and has yet to make $100 million. I'm not saying anything Bob. Just making an observation.

After one weekend, Pacific Rim has made back half its budget, meaning it has the rest of its running life to make another $95M.

After two weekends, The Lone Ranger has made back half its budget, meaning it has the rest of its running life to make another $95M.

Ergo, The Lone Ranger is a bigger flop than Pacific Rim, as a second weekend can do wonders.

No doubt. May i tell you the difference. The lone ranger sucking and dying isn't gonna discourage people from making western movies.

Pacific rim failing is the life blood of giant robot movies in the usa. that's exactly why even if Pacific rim sucked ass,
Movie bob was gonna verbally blow it for the greater good.

What's more giant 100 million dollar movies don't get made to "break even." A whole Genre just died before it was ever born guys.

This was make or break for Giant robots. It lost and with the lone ranger won't hurt Depp, disney, or westerns, this ruined.... ALOT!

PunkRex:
I heard it was actually based on the story of a Welsh guy so it was kinda lame of Hollywood to put a bloody American in the leading role but it didn't stop the film from being the one time I liked Tom Cruise.

My impression (shared by wikipedia apparently) was that his character is largely based on French artillery officer Jules Brunet. Seriously, you thought a film with a Welsh dude was never going to get made. ;)

The big samurai charge thing at the end is (I believe) based on a painting of the Battle of Hakodate which shows the Republican troops in traditional samurai clothes fighting with swords and spears. It almost certainly didn't happen, but it's a nice image and it's at least authentic in the sense that the mythology behind it is Japanese in origin, I suspect quite unlike the Native American banzai rush!

Why would Bob put a picture of Amazing Spider-Man up while mentioning terrible films?

Must've been an editing mistake.

So what you're saying is this is like Disney's other failure about that martian dude?
Disney is going to stop trying to be "original" if their movies keep flopping >.>

TekMoney:
Furthermore, his portray is racist. Based on stereotypes and caricature.

Tonto is and always has been nothing but a walking bunch of Native American stereotypes and caricature from day 1, over anything else he is in LR you can't hold actually accurately being like the character he's acting as against Depp.

PH3NOmenon:
Snip

Same here. I am so sick and tired of hearing everybody whine "THAT'S RACIST/SEXIST!!!" about fictional [read:NOT REAL!!!] situations all the damn time whether it's there or not (and if it's not, they'll outright make it up if they have to so they can keep whining about it). Newsflash! Racism/Sexism complainers, if you have enough time to spare to be up in arms about something as insignificant as whether a fictional character was cast as a [Insert Race/Sex here] instead of a [Insert Race/Sex here] instead of using that time to be rallying against any REAL cases of Racism/Sexism that actually affect people daily lives, you've pretty much already won the fight, at best you're fighting a battle that your side has all but won already.

I think the thing that pisses me off about this the most is the fact this kind of irrelevant crap that sensible people shouldn't care less about dominates media attention and any REAL issues of Racism/Sexism end up getting drowned out as a result, and as a result of that many of those issues don't get the attention they need for something to actually be done about them.

anthony87:
Why would Bob put a picture of Amazing Spider-Man up while mentioning terrible films?

Must've been an editing mistake.

Nah, it's just the same old same old confirmation bias hate that Bob has always had for ASM. Bob decided he was going to hate ASM before he ever walked in to see it, so it could have been the best movie in the history of cinema (which it isn't, but it's up there) and he would have still walked out hating it as one of the worst movies ever. I see the same kind of bias here with Lone Ranger too, I just hope he isn't going to whine about Lone Ranger every chance he gets for a year straight too.

Mr_Terrific:
I have no problem with Depp playing a Native American. I'm not Native American, but I also didn't have a problem with Robert Downey Jr playing a Black man in Tropic thunder. I thought it was a great caricature of a caricature in a Blackploitation film. It was funny and well done. Of all the actors in hollywood, you'd think that Depp would be the one to "get away" with playing a Native American???

Did you even see Tropic Thunder? Robert Downey Jr. plays a similar character to what Depp actually did in real life: A white actor who trusts his acting skills so much that he plays a member of a different race in an extremely offensive way. This is so obvious that I can't believe you actually would compare the two roles. The Tropic Thunder role is an admonition of the sort of crap seen in Lone Ranger.

Also ok with....

Parry White being Black
Nick Fury being Black
Heimdall of Thor being Black even though it's odd
Tonto being White

Perry White and Nick Fury are two characters not defined by their race. Heimdall is defined by his species, which doesn't necessarily adhere to any human race, and Idris Elba did a fantastic job depicting him (if they had made Heimdall stereotypically black, with Elba saying "Yo dawg" all the time, that would be another matter, because that's clearly not in character for Heimdall). Tonto, however, is a character defined by his race, and if this movie had to be made (it didn't), it should have been made with a First Nations actor in this role.

The Hollywood remake of Oldboy comes out in a few months, and most or all of the cast have had their races changed. This doesn't matter, because the characters of the original Oldboy are not defined by their race. But if Hollywood were to remake a film like Glory and decided to cast Channing Tatum in Denzel Washington's role, that would be extremely offensive and inappropriate.

I'd just chalk the casting of Depp as Tonto as a case of laziness and wishful thinking. Disney was hoping they'd get another Haloween costume out of it (a la pirates) and instead, it turned into a symbol for what's wrong with this movie. Instead of a decent script, they figured if they let Depp "do his thing" then everything would automatically turn into money. The trailers are just a pastiche of things the studio thought would put butts in the seats with no real substance to them and the movie seems to have delivered on what was promised.

That Disney didn't even attempt to cast the role with an actor that actually looked like "Tonto", as cartoonishly easy as that would have been, shows more about their corporate mindset than just a little cultural insensitivity and I think that's the crux of Bobs' thesis here. An "ambiguously brown" actor would have been as easy to find as a screenwriter capable of taking on a "rasied by injuns" subplot. That Disney decided to just give Depp the movie and wait for "Pirates" sized checks to roll in, shows they just didn't care.

I enjoyed this movie for one thing: The action scene at the end. I found it hilariously over the top.

Jenny Jones:
How to make a modern day western: See firefly and/or serenity.

Really? See a pretty decent science fiction TV show that takes some inspiration from Westerns but never really plays out like a good one and it's sequel movie, instead of, say, one of the actual modern Westerns that have been both well received and quite good? The Cohen version of True Grit was fantastic, 3:10 to Yuma was a pretty fun movie, and, hell, even Django Unchained had more Western in it than Firefly. Add to that the fact that a lot of old Westerns have actually aged surprisingly well. The ones that were shallow action pieces mostly can't measure up to the things that currently fill that role in movies, but a lot of them were much more focused on character drama. A movie like Johnny Guitar or the original Django is still a damn good watch, and the classic spaghetti westerns are all still solid movies.

TAdamson:

pottyaboutpotter1:
Say Bob. The Lone Ranger is Summer 2013's biggest flop. But didn't The Lone Ranger open at No.2 in the Box Office and has made over $100 million? And then there's that Robot movie which opened at No.3 and has yet to make $100 million. I'm not saying anything Bob. Just making an observation.

Cost of 'The Lone Ranger' - $330million

Estimated final takings - ~$180million

Estimated losses of 'The Lone Ranger - $150million

Cost of 'Pacific Rim - $190million

Projected takings - >>$200million

And it hasn't even been released to all markets. Japan is actually going to have it open this week so a large portion of Overseas money will be collected and the movie will bank more than enough money for del Toro and Legendary Pictures

Steve the Pocket:
Why does the movie industry seem to be run by the stupidest people on the planet? Seriously, their tendency to make the wrong decisions and learn the wrong lessons from their failures every single time makes Homer Simpson look smrt by comparison. At least he occasionally learns something, even if he has to forget it by the next episode or they'd run out of things to do episodes about. So how did they get where they are today? How did the industry not collapse under their leadership? It's as baffling as how the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant never became the next Chernobyl.

I wonder the same thing as this is nothing new.

Back when 20th Century's Cleopatra was putting them so deep in a hole that if they looked up the Devil could have asked 'how's the weather down there?' they ran around looking at killing any project they thought wouldn't make money. And they found one-a black and white WWII film being made.

However the film's producer had other ideas and pushed to save the film. The film 20th Century though no one would see because it was black and white and was a war picture got nearly double its actual budget back at the box office, won two of the five academy award it was nominated and would later be know as the film that saved the studio.

The name of this film? The Longest Day (1962).

But back to how they are in their current mess.

I think part of the reason can be found in MovieBob's Big Picture "Hollywood History 101: Part 2" of two years ago--the ability to make a diverse movie type has been destroyed and so every goes into the giant cannon method ie the blockbuster as a way to do business.

A related issue is coming from TV. Look at how many series have to grab an audience practically the moment they hit the air to even see a season. If done today Happy Days, MASH, Quincy, TNG, Mission Impossible and many other long lived series wouldn't have lasted long enough to find their stride and audience.

So there is less an insensitive to innovate or even think why a movie did well and just mindlessly copy what looks like it will sale because of the 'we have to make money NOW' mentality.

Though I have to wonder why *this* franchise? The Lone Ranger (2003) pilot didn't do that good as a TV movie so just how did someone think this was going to sale in movie theaters?

At least even with the disaster that The Phantom (1996) was a revival of *that* could be put to the success the superheroes genre has had. But this? WHY?!?

pottyaboutpotter1:
Say Bob. The Lone Ranger is Summer 2013's biggest flop. But didn't The Lone Ranger open at No.2 in the Box Office and has made over $100 million? And then there's that Robot movie which opened at No.3 and has yet to make $100 million. I'm not saying anything Bob. Just making an observation.

Lone Ranger has been out longer and had Johnny Depth, and according to boxofficemojo.com they have only got $120,873,802 as of July 15 WORLD WIDE. They did $29,210,849 opening weekend. Second weekend, oh my, only $11,506,100.

Pacific Rim on the other hand $94,342,433 (July 12) world wide with $37,285,325 opening weekend.

So, technically, yes. On DIFFERENT weekends, Lone Ranger was #2 and Pacific Rim was #3. BUT on the SAME weekend Pacific Rim was #3 and the Lone Ranger was a very distant 5th.

Your "Observation" method is tragically flawed, you do not use any facts other then what you choose to observe. In the future, you could save yourself the embarrassment of making bad observations by looking at more then 2 random bits of information.

So, for less money, Pacific Rim is on the fast track to make FAR more money.

lacktheknack:

pottyaboutpotter1:
Say Bob. The Lone Ranger is Summer 2013's biggest flop. But didn't The Lone Ranger open at No.2 in the Box Office and has made over $100 million? And then there's that Robot movie which opened at No.3 and has yet to make $100 million. I'm not saying anything Bob. Just making an observation.

After one weekend, Pacific Rim has made back half its budget, meaning it has the rest of its running life to make another $95M.

After two weekends, The Lone Ranger has made back half its budget, meaning it has the rest of its running life to make another $95M.

Ergo, The Lone Ranger is a bigger flop than Pacific Rim, as a second weekend can do wonders.

Hey knack, it is even more embarrassing when you see the Lone Ranger at 5th place on only its second weekend, only pulling in $11.5M.

Not only did Pacific Rim do more opening weekend they are currently being projected to do even better through July (projected anyway).

I love this math game.

Speaking as someone who is actually part Native American, this film is about offensive as Robert Downey Jr.'s role in Tropic Thunder. Let's just acknowledge the film for what it is, a lazy attempt of another Pirates movie in a western setting.

Lono Shrugged:

Jenny Jones:
How to make a modern day western: See firefly and/or serenity.

Or any of the amazing westerns or western style movie released in the last ten years...

No Country for Old men, Deadwood, Assassination of Jesse James, The Good The Bad and the Weird, The Proposition, Seraphim Falls, True Grit, Django Unchained. Hell even Rango was a great western. And that's the same guys who made this. I could go on and on. That's off the top of my head.

And yes, Firefly and Serenity deserves a mention.

I'm not convinced Firefly did anything to get people into westerns more. I read somewhere that Whedon based Serenity on The Searchers (which: Bull. Shit.), but was there a resurgence of popularity for that movie? I don't think so. That just came off to me as a name Whedon rattled off looking for cred, mostly, because as westerns go, it's one of the more thoughtful, emotionally powerful westerns that ever were (I still cry at the end of that movie).

And ironically, it was a movie that DID touch on the concept of racism.

Brockyman:
Of course we have to drag race into EVERY FUCKING THING ON EARTH..... geez

I'm dating myself here, but when I was a freshman in college, I complained about the press surrounding the OJ Simpson trial. One of my professors had to (admittedly on a little on the condescending side) explain that, yes, that trial was all about race (my complaint was that some dumb celebrity killed his girlfriend and people cared too much about it; I was too young to realize that it had everything to do with not only race, but also veneration of celebrities).

Since then, I've been at least a little more careful to disregard the nuance of details in any given situation, even if it's over something as dumb as a Disney popcorn movie.

In this case, it's about power.

Some white guy with lots of pull and a huge ego says he can appropriate a role in an already underrepresented group anywhere, and it's one more loss to the community, one less opportunity to be represented.

Let's not forget that even Martin Luther King noticed the effect of this: he's the one that encouraged Nichelle Nichols to stay on Star Trek when she thought she might aim for Broadway. Ask a lot of successful black women how they feel about that. Look up Mae Jemison if you don't believe me.

I won't lie, I'm tired of Johnny Depp's gimmick by this point. As Captain Jack Sparrow, he was entertaining and the second film actually gave him some sort of character development. Then he played the same sort of role in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which was okay. Then there was Alice, the 4th Pirates film, Dark Shadows (one of the few films I've turned off instead of seeing the conclusion, it was THAT terrible) and now this. He plays the same role too often.

(I must respectfully disagree with Bob's opinion on The Amazing Spider-man, although it wasn't the greatest it was still "decent". Basically the last portion of the film was bad)

JimB:
Westerns are cool.

Westerns are America's legends, or at least the legends of the America that we have become. The gunslinger is America's knight in shining armor, our samurai, our cultural exemplar of a hero. The Western is a story about a hard man living in a hard time, a man who doesn't want to be a killer but must in order to battle the killers threatening those he loves. The Western is a story about a man who, after the entire movie has been spent piling pressure on him, becomes willing to take damnation onto himself in order to protect those who can't bear that burden not because he's broken and has become a beast but because he has made a choice as a man to embrace what of the beast he can use as a man. The Western is set in a nearly fantastical world we barely recognize where water is scarce and where enemy armies are camped out in the darkness just beyond our sight. The Western is a magical experience when done right, and if one is in a theater I will always go see it.

I did not go to see the Lone Ranger, and I never will, because I have no reason to believe it is a Western. I have seen nothing to suggest it has any understanding of what makes a Western great, and from what I've heard, no one else has seen that either.

This is not intended to rebut anything Mr. Chipman said. I'm sure his analysis is spot-on, and even if it isn't, I haven't seen the movie myself so I don't get to call him a liar. I'm only saying the Lone Ranger did not really want to be a Western, and that is a source of great sadness for me.

Thank you.

Honestly, I'm extremely surprised that Disney screwed up something as simple as a Western. Guys, you had, like, several huge examples from back when that are prime examples of how to do a Western, and Westerns themselves have pretty simplistic formulas.

It's a shame that this might actually deter people from trying to go back to this genre of movies.

Talking of films where the "sidekick" is the main actor and not the typical story's star there's two I can recommend;

Without a Clue - Michael Caine (as Sherlock Holmes) and Ben Kingsley (as Dr Watson). A bit dated now, and not really from Dr Watson's view but the premise is great. Michael Caine/Sherlock Holmes is just an actor, all the detective work is by Ben Kingsley (becuase you know, he's a doctor, smart and army trained) but uses Sherlock as a buffer for publicity. Clever spin on an overdone character

Man Friday - Pretty old now but has Peter O'Toole as Robinson Crusoe, and Richard Roundtree as Man Friday. The whole story is told from Man Friday's "native" perspective showing how stupid "western" civilised thought is. It's a brilliant film. Very weird song & dance routine shoved in there for no reason but it was the 70s, for some reason you just had to have a song in there, like Bollywood.

Why are people still having trouble accepting that Pacific Rim is performing well? More importantly why is it still a subject of discussing in a video that didn't concern it... but whatever.

Before you decide to try and pull out some dry numbers and yap about it ripping off "Eva" or whatever else you think it did a number on consider the context of the word "well".

Up until five years ago, maybe even four, the idea of a totally original IP specifically aimed at "genre" audiences (I dislike using that term due to its ambiguity but for the sake of argument lets say that "genre" simply refers to people with a predisposition for wanting to go to SDCC) would even break even on its budget was considered a joke. Hell I distinctly remember the articles popping up at the time of Iron Man's release which basically pigeon-holed it as a fluke that couldn't be repeated and sold it off completely, compare with articles by the same people heralding the idea of an interconnected film continuity as the next leap forward in cinematic entertainment (yes Variety I'm looking at you). The fact that it even had a chance of standing toe-to-toe with a comedy by a mainstay funny man actor or a sequel to a popular animated kids film with some known voice talent represents a massive shift in perception by film audiences worldwide and in the US, but it'd be nice if they also employed some hindsight and considered the state of the industry now compared with a year or two ago.

Even more surprising is that this "genre" film based on an original IP doesn't have any typically big name crowd pleasing actors to drag in the people who might be on the fence. Elba, despite having a presence in Prometheus and Thor, is still effectively a newcomer to film and is better known as a television actor. Even then he isn't really known to North American audiences, despite The Wire, and is much more at home in the UK and Europe with his leading role in Luther. Both of the aforementioned series and his roles in them have a markedly different tone to that of Pacific Rim, so I can't see much in the way of cross-over there. Hunnam is similarly set-up, a British actor with some American television credits, and I seriously doubt Queer as Folk is doing the rounds on prime-time broadcasting in North America. Feel free to correct me on that one. As for Kikuchi... I had never heard of her before this, and I'm still not sure what her deal is.

The odds are stacked against Pacific Rim in every way I can imagine, and having a large budget when your film was already consigned to chopping block months before release by bigoted industry commentators unable to look past the actors who were given top billing is not a good thing. Comparatively films like the recent Spiderman reboot, which I remember hearing positive things about in the build-up to it and had a lot of recognisable names associated with it as well as being an established IP or indeed Lone Ranger (which I didn't hear much about) have it easy and should be expected to do extremely well in regards to box office takings and due to the relative calibre of those involved should an extremely slick production... but neither were.

EDIT: I actually don't mind that people are ragging on Pacific Rim, every film should be subjected to measured critical scrutiny or just outright pitchfork lynching of specific elements depending on your tastes because that is the only damn way things will change so you see more films that cater to your sensibilities. That said it'd be nice if people picked up on the specifics of the plot or the acting, even the production, as opposed to trying to go at it with box-office takings without considering the broader reality of what those figures mean in relation to audience tastes, preferences or habits. Because that kind of bullshit, the "not considering broader reality of what those figures mean", is exactly why the Lone Ranger happened.

Lowest common denominator productions have their place, look at the Hangover films as a great example of that kind of film making done right (in my opinion), but if the common place mode of viewing by cinema audiences is just taking the most basic and formula elements of a films presentation at face value without trying to actually understand why those elements are there then I really don't see why people continue to effectively waste money going to see a film.

immortalfrieza:
I am so sick and tired of hearing everybody whine "That's racist/sexist!" about fictional (read: not real!) situations all the damn time whether it's there or not.

That a white man got a payday for playing Tonto instead of someone who actually possesses some detectable amount of Native American DNA is not fictional. It is real.

I snipped the part where you called anyone who disagrees with you a liar because frankly, it's beneath your dignity and mine.

immortalfrieza:
Racism/sexism complainers, if you have enough time to spare to be up in arms about something as insignificant as whether a fictional character was cast as a [insert race/sex here] instead of a [insert race/sex here] instead of using that time to be rallying against any real cases of racism/sexism that actually affect people's daily lives, you've pretty much already won the fight; at best you're fighting a battle that your side has all but won already.

Two things, immortalfrieza.

First, "all but won" is not the same thing as "won." That is, in fact, what those three words mean.

Second, you do not get to begrudge anyone the time they spend discussing this kind of racism rather than "real" racism (whatever that means) when you are sitting here discussing this kind of racism rather than "real" racism (whatever that means).

Yojoo:

Mr_Terrific:
I have no problem with Depp playing a Native American. I'm not Native American, but I also didn't have a problem with Robert Downey Jr playing a Black man in Tropic thunder. I thought it was a great caricature of a caricature in a Blackploitation film. It was funny and well done. Of all the actors in hollywood, you'd think that Depp would be the one to "get away" with playing a Native American???

Did you even see Tropic Thunder? Robert Downey Jr. plays a similar character to what Depp actually did in real life: A white actor who trusts his acting skills so much that he plays a member of a different race in an extremely offensive way. This is so obvious that I can't believe you actually would compare the two roles. The Tropic Thunder role is an admonition of the sort of crap seen in Lone Ranger.

Also ok with....

Parry White being Black
Nick Fury being Black
Heimdall of Thor being Black even though it's odd
Tonto being White

Perry White and Nick Fury are two characters not defined by their race. Heimdall is defined by his species, which doesn't necessarily adhere to any human race, and Idris Elba did a fantastic job depicting him (if they had made Heimdall stereotypically black, with Elba saying "Yo dawg" all the time, that would be another matter, because that's clearly not in character for Heimdall). Tonto, however, is a character defined by his race, and if this movie had to be made (it didn't), it should have been made with a First Nations actor in this role.

The Hollywood remake of Oldboy comes out in a few months, and most or all of the cast have had their races changed. This doesn't matter, because the characters of the original Oldboy are not defined by their race. But if Hollywood were to remake a film like Glory and decided to cast Channing Tatum in Denzel Washington's role, that would be extremely offensive and inappropriate.

Yeah...still don't have a problem with Tonto. Also, how many Brown people are actually in the other 8 realms? Heimdallr is a god of Norse mythology which Heimdall is based on. Why would he look Black? Defined by his species? That sounds like arguing for the hell of it, to me. When has there ever been Black Asgardians and why would there be?

Both Perry White and Nick Fury have been White for longer than you an I have been around. How are they not defined by that? If that's the case, why not make Lois Black or Asian, and Maria Hill Indian? These are long established characters that were changed to fill a need. In both cases, there's a stunning lack of brown people in these films. If these characters are not defined by race, why choose to alter them to fill a void? We are a long ways out for Falcon and Black Panther showing up. Speaking of, is Black Panther defined by his race? Do you actually have to cast an actual African for that role or can any of us American born Black people play it? Race is more than just how we look.

How about my avatar? Is Mr. Terrific defined by race? No right? The character was white year ago, and still is, but would it make a difference if DC went with Terry Sloan for JSA instead of Mike Holt?

I think the Tonto thing is blown out of proportion. Depp is a good actor and not a racist. Disney has been busting their asses for diversity lately. You cast anyone else in that role and the movie flops even harder and critics call for bigger stars in a big budget film.

None of that makes sense.

evilthecat:

Firstly, it completely subordinates the entire point of the events it is depicting. There was actually a rebellion against the Meiji government whose leader (Saigo Takamori) was the basis for Ken Watanabe's character.

The thing is, what they were actually fighting for was the retention of the enormous social privileges which were being taken away from the samurai class in favor of a more meritocratic society. Being a samurai was not a profession anyone could pick up, it was a birthright, and these people were fighting because they believed that that birthright should make them socially superior to other people.

The whole "life in every breath" thing is also just weird, not just in that it's absolutely meaningless but also in that it's actually the opposite of how samurai at the time tended to describe Bushido. Samurai seem to have been relentlessly obsessed with death. The "philosophy" of the samurai is all about treating life with detachment and being ready to sacrifice yourself if required.

But what's really dody about this is that this kind of misrepresentation (i.e. "anyone can be a samurai", "bushido is a part of Japan's national character", etc) is that it was a huge component in the ideology of Japanese militarism. It has absolutely nothing to do with what real samurai actually believed, but it does have an awful lot to do with what the people who pushed Japan into World War 2 believed, with massive and terrible consequences for just about everyone involved. The film is referencing that pretty much directly.

I'm not arguing against your points here but simply wanted to add a bit to them. Bushido as a code of honor was very much a part of mainstream Japanese culture and Japan's national character, but only after Samurai had largely ceased to exist. As a code of honor, it had a much greater impact on the wars the Japanese fought long after the Samurai themselves were gone.

The code of Bushido was developed after the wars that united Japan were over (Basically, the period between Hideyoshi's rule and the Meji era). Bushido was an attempt to glorify the Samurai's past roles in those battles. It was a way of trying to keep their nobility and mystique in a Japan that largely had no more need of them. What use were a bunch of guys who spent all their time practicing sword fighting and eating the crops the peasants grew? That's not to say Japanese warriors of the pre-unification era were not honorable, but all that poetic self-sacrifice, death before dishonor, retreat is cowardice stuff wasn't used in practice by the actual Samurai fighting the actual battles, to say nothing of the cloth-armored peasants with their crude spears who actually made up the vast majority of the people fighting all of those battles.

Really Bushido is no different from the various codes of honor used by Knights from Europe; developed by guys who almost never saw battle to glorify themselves and the history of their order and to serve as proof of their nobility (read: better than those cowardly peasants). In many ways Bushido existed for exactly the same reasons the rebellion against the Meji government happened.

pottyaboutpotter1:
Say Bob. The Lone Ranger is Summer 2013's biggest flop. But didn't The Lone Ranger open at No.2 in the Box Office and has made over $100 million? And then there's that Robot movie which opened at No.3 and has yet to make $100 million. I'm not saying anything Bob. Just making an observation.

Keep in mind, of course, that the cost of TLR was ridiculously high. The cost of Pacific Rim was not so disproportionate with its box office results.

Hutzpah Chicken:

Anyways, why is it not okay for Johnny Depp to play a fictional native American when most Indians in westerns were played by Jewish men?

Yeah, why should things be different than 60 years ago?

And while we're at it, blackface is still cool, right?

PunkRex:

Why you rip on my favourite film?

Because it's a bad film?

Im fairly sure the real Samurai didn't go out quite as spectacularly but its still a good battle and the message seemed legit. I know the term Samurai mean't alot of things in Japan back in the day and they didn't all go on about honour and duty but I don't see how it's offensive.

Do note, please, that he compared the action to that of lemmings, who are believed (in popular culture) to be so phenomenally stupid and lacking in self preservation that they will drive themselves off a cliff with no regard.

That contextually might be a clue.

Though I find it fitting that a white dude who used Theromopylae as a rallying point caused the slaughter.

Mr_Terrific:
Heimdallr is a god of Norse mythology which Heimdall is based on. Why would he look Black?

Even Norse sources frequently refer to "dark" Gods. And they don't mean "dark" as in "evil." Heimdallr himself is a bad example (being described as something like "the whitest" if memory serves), but this whole "Norse Gods are obviously white because ponies" line of thinking is kind of crap.

Defined by his species? That sounds like arguing for the hell of it, to me.

It makes plenty of sense. The Asgard are in themselves a species that exist as they are regardless of our perceptions.

Besides, nobody seems to give a shit that these Norse Gods are speaking bad Shakespearian English. Why would they speak like that?

Hell, nobody complained when it turned out the Asgard were all really Roswell Grays.

How are they not defined by that?

Name oen trait they have that is informed by their race? Can't? Moving on.

If that's the case, why not make Lois Black or Asian, and Maria Hill Indian?

Yes, why not? Why are you making this soudn like it'd be a big deal?

If these characters are not defined by race, why choose to alter them to fill a void?

False premise, much?

Speaking of, is Black Panther defined by his race?

Yes, but he's a pretty specific example. Falcon, War Machine and Captain Marvel (The specific one in question) are not.

Now, this brushes up on something interesting. A lot of black characters in comics, especially Marvel, are kind of racially stereotyped. Witch Doctors and weather goddesses and ghetto blacksploitation, oh my! That in itself is a problem.

However, if you're going to take a character like that, having a white dude play them is clearly going to complicate things.

Do you actually have to cast an actual African for that role or can any of us American born Black people play it?

Is anyone asking specifically that Tonto be Comanche? Is this anything more than reductum ad absurdum?

Race is more than just how we look.

I'm too lazy to look for a Heath Ledger's Joker "not sure if serious" picture and post it here. Just imagine one.

Race as it is modernly understood and applied to humans isn't more than how we look. Sorry.

How about my avatar? Is Mr. Terrific defined by race? No right? The character was white year ago, and still is, but would it make a difference if DC went with Terry Sloan for JSA instead of Mike Holt?

At this point, I'm not even sure what you're on about. To my knowledge, he's not defined by race. I think this is deliberate obfuscation, however. It's not hard to figure out how someone becomes defined by race.

Depp is a good actor and not a racist.

Didn't know anyone thought he was. Either of those, to be honest.

Mr_Terrific:

Yeah...still don't have a problem with Tonto. Also, how many Brown people are actually in the other 8 realms? Heimdallr is a god of Norse mythology which Heimdall is based on. Why would he look Black? Defined by his species? That sounds like arguing for the hell of it, to me. When has there ever been Black Asgardians and why would there be?

Both Perry White and Nick Fury have been White for longer than you an I have been around. How are they not defined by that? If that's the case, why not make Lois Black or Asian, and Maria Hill Indian? These are long established characters that were changed to fill a need. In both cases, there's a stunning lack of brown people in these films. If these characters are not defined by race, why choose to alter them to fill a void? We are a long ways out for Falcon and Black Panther showing up. Speaking of, is Black Panther defined by his race? Do you actually have to cast an actual African for that role or can any of us American born Black people play it? Race is more than just how we look.

How about my avatar? Is Mr. Terrific defined by race? No right? The character was white year ago, and still is, but would it make a difference if DC went with Terry Sloan for JSA instead of Mike Holt?

I think the Tonto thing is blown out of proportion. Depp is a good actor and not a racist. Disney has been busting their asses for diversity lately. You cast anyone else in that role and the movie flops even harder and critics call for bigger stars in a big budget film.

None of that makes sense.

You're not getting me on the concept of "defined by race". Nick Fury was white for decades, sure. But you don't look at Nick Fury and think "If this character isn't white, he doesn't make sense". Same with Perry White. Tonto, on the other hand, clearly has to be a Native American for his character to make sense.

Idris Elba playing Heimdall is fine because Asgardians aren't human. Thor isn't a movie about Norse mythology, it's a movie about badass aliens who at one point influenced mankind enough that they were worshiped as gods. That's a blank slate for casting purposes. As has been pointed out repeatedly in this thread, there aren't enough roles for black or other minority actors in Hollywood. So picking a traditionally minority role and filling it with a white actor is pretty lame. On the other hand, I have no problems with minority actors filling roles that may have been white in the past but aren't defined as being white roles.

All I'm looking for is a little equality and respect. Depp in Redface is just as wrong as another actor in Blackface. This applies in both directions: It totally wouldn't have worked to cast a black actor as Captain America without extensively re-writing the story, since a black man becoming the face of America in the 1940's when the nation was still so heavily segregated would have been impossible, or would have totally altered the history of the nation. There's no reason Bruce Banner couldn't be black, though.

Anyway, I'll try to stop rambling. Black Panther needs to be a black actor with African roots, it shouldn't matter how far back one has to look to find those roots. I don't know who Mr. Terrific is, so I can't comment on that. Maybe Depp's star power was the only reason Lone Ranger made any money at all, but as Bob pointed out, the movie didn't have to be made in the first place, or it could have been made on a lower budget with an actual First Nations actor in the Tonto role and not had to make hundreds of millions to be a success.

TAdamson:

pottyaboutpotter1:
Say Bob. The Lone Ranger is Summer 2013's biggest flop. But didn't The Lone Ranger open at No.2 in the Box Office and has made over $100 million? And then there's that Robot movie which opened at No.3 and has yet to make $100 million. I'm not saying anything Bob. Just making an observation.

Cost of 'The Lone Ranger' - $330million

Estimated final takings - ~$180million

Estimated losses of 'The Lone Ranger - $150million

Cost of 'Pacific Rim - $190million

Projected takings - >>$200million

Just to point out that means both movies would be losing money big time. You have to make back 2 to 3 times you budget to not be considered a financial flop. Remember theaters keep a cut of ticket sales, plus you're not counting the marketing budget in those numbers.The longer a movie hangs around the bigger cut the theater gets. Lone Ranger would have to make close to a billion dollars to be profitable and Rim would have to make 500-600 million.

So yeah, Lone Ranger is probably the bigger flop but don't hold your breath on seeing a Rim sequel unless it makes a lot more than 200 million.

Zachary Amaranth:

PunkRex:

Why you rip on my favourite film?

Because it's a bad film?

Kidding, I can see why some are put off by the film.

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