The second trailer for the upcoming movie version of The Lone Ranger has been posted to Disney UK's YouTube page, and it's bound to provoke a few reactions in Indian country.
Johnny Depp, who plays Tonto, has talked a good game about delivering a more well-rounded version of his character, known to those familiar with the story as a one-dimensional sidekick. But many Indians who saw the first trailer were disappointed to hear Tonto speaking in the stereotypical Hollywood Indian-ese. This time around, Tonto speaks to Silver, the Lone Ranger's horse.
There are moments of humor in the trailer, which is in keeping with descriptions of the film as not a typical western but instead an action-comedy buddy movie. Moreover, the roles are reversed to some extent, so that the Lone Ranger (played by Armie Hammer) is more dependent on Tonto for his survival, a touch that is also reflected in the trailer.
So while the trailer gives us more of an idea of the tenor of the film, it does raise some issues. Combining humor and cultural heritage can be risky business, particularly when it's not your own culture. (Depp claims some Native heritage, which may be true, and he was adopted into the Comanche Nation, but he would hardly claim to have lived his life as an Indian.) Are the jokes funny because they're good jokes, or are they funny because non-Indians think Indians are funny? Will the audience be laughing at the clever writing and skillful acting -- or just laughing at Indians?
That remains to be seen. For now, all we have are two trailers, and this is the second one: