The Lone Ranger teaser trailer isn’t so much about introducing Old West heroes John Reid (Armie Hammer) and Tonto (Johnny Depp) – in fact, they’re barely in it. Instead, it foremost offers a peek at the antiquated trains used in Gore Verbinski’s western – which in part account for the estimated $200-250 million price tag and principle photography taking 4-5 months (in such places as Monument Valley and Moab).
Of course, Depp and Verbinski are no strangers to working with massive budgets and shooting on location in unspoiled terrains, after Pirates of the Caribbean. Lone Ranger reunites them with producer Jerry Bruckheimer as well as Pirates writing duo Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, who worked together on both the story and script with Justin Haythe (Revolutionary Road, Snitch).
Disney’s full Lone Ranger trailer gives a more proper introduction to the lawman John Reid and explores his inspiration to put on a bandit mask, in order to fight for justice in the Wild West; however, he is once again overshadowed by Depp as the peculiar American Indian spirit warrior Tonto. On one hand, it’s refreshing to see an iteration of Lone Ranger where the characters feel like true equals; on the other hand, there’s a risk that Depp’s antics will take precedent over Reid’s story, making the latter seem like a second-tier player in his own movie (similar to what happened at times in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland).
Lone Ranger also reteams Verbinski with director of photography Bojan Bazelli, who worked with the filmmaker on The Ring. Their new collaboration uses a similar harsh color palette – here, with more of a western flavor – and the nightmarish montage that opens the new trailer almost feels lifted from their J-horror remake. Yet, but a matter of seconds later, there are jokes with horses wearing hats and big-budget spectacle featuring multiple (count ‘em, multiple) train derailments that tease the central conflict: a power struggle involving a scheming railroad tycoon (Tom Wilkinson) and his henchman (William Fichtner).
That’s to say: upon closer inspection this trailer’s all over the map, as is the actual movie (we suspect). That’s not a surprise, seeing how Depp and Verbinski’s first foray into the western genre resulted in the highly idiosyncratic Rango; moreover, Verbinski made it clear from the beginning that he’s not interested in making a conventional Lone Ranger re-telling. But will moviegoers in general go for it, especially once word-of-mouth comes into effect?
Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.