Pirates of the Caribbean 1-3 director Gore Verbinski and star Johnny Depp reunite in The Lone Ranger, Disney’s expensive re-imagining of the iconic Old Western franchise. In this version, Tonto (Depp) is a unusual American Indian spirit warrior who rescues cowboy lawman John Reid (Armie Hammer) and leads him to become a masked vigilante – battling the corruption and power-grab which follows the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
Supporting cast members Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Wilkinson and Ruth Wilson (Luther) – as well as character actors Barry Pepper, James Badge Dale and William Fichtner (Elysium) – are using a story and script from Justin Haythe (Snitch), Terry Rossio and Ted Eliott (who wrote the first four Pirates installments together). A newly-released Japanese trailer both highlights the train-heavy spectacle and teases the film’s oddball sense of humor, much like its domestic counterparts.
So far, marketing for Lone Ranger has featured instances of quirky comedy and jokes that bring to mind Verbinski and Depp’s previous collaborations (see Carter’s legging gun in the new trailer), but otherwise the film’s been painted as a generic Summer blockbuster offering – kind of like Guy Ritchie decided to make a western in the vein of his Sherlock Holmes movies. If so, that would feel like a step back after the director-actor pairing on Rango, which resulted in a unique variation on the hero’s journey retold through a computer-animated cartoon (following A Bug’s Life, Kung Fu Panda, etc.).
Then again, remembering back to 2007, the trailers for Verbinski’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End also played down that installment’s attempts to weave philosophical musings into the mechanics of a popcorn blockbuster. So, it would make sense if Disney is repeating that (partial) bait-and-switch approach here, especially since Lone Ranger isn’t as much a surefire bet as a Pirates movie at the box office.
The Lone Ranger opens in U.S. theaters on July 3rd, 2013.