Few reboots have generated as much discussion and controversy as Lone Ranger – and it’s easy to see why. The film re-frames the classic Ranger story from a do-daring western into a $200 million (maybe more?) dysfunctional buddy adventure with Pirates of the Caribbean-style grit, and philosophical musings similar to those in director Gore Verbinski’s Oscar-winning animated western, Rango.

Johnny Depp as Tonto has also prompted complaints about racially-insensitive casting (despite Depp being one-quarter Cherokee and adopted by the Comanche Nation) to concerns that he will overshadow Armie Hammer (The Social Network) as the Ranger, by delivering an overly-familiar Jack Sparrow-esque performance. Today’s teaser trailer probably won’t put those worries to bed, though it should help to quell some of the storm.

Disney previously unveiled a teaser for Lone Ranger at its Comic-Con panel this past summer. That footage featured majestic sweeping shots of the Old West and steam-powered locomotives, accompanied by some sinister voiceover from Tom Wilkinson (Batman Begins) as a tycoon who recognizes that the invention of railroad technology will mark a new era in human history. It concluded with an action montage, featuring a short slow-mo shootout, brief appearance by Helena Bonham Carter, and a few shots of Hammer and Depp (stuffed crow hat and all).

The official teaser trailer, as you can see, is the same, right down to the final ‘money shot’ with Tonto hanging on the underside of a train after disconnecting its passenger cars. It all unfolds in a serious manner, with stylish cinematography and earthy color palette that help establish the western atmosphere (how many of the much-ballyhooed supernatural elements have been carried over from earlier script drafts, remains to be seen).

Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp in ‘Lone Ranger’

Depp, from what little we see and hear of him, seems to be toning down his quirky mannerisms, instead playing Tonto as an eccentric, but no-nonsense, American Indian warrior. Verbinski once compared the Ranger and Tonto to Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, though it remains unclear whether or not that means Hammer will be the comical foil to (or equally serious as) Depp. Either way, the actor’s done solid work in the past, both dramatic (J. Edgar) and playful (Mirror Mirror), so that bodes well.

I stand by what I wrote after seeing the Lone Ranger teaser at Comic-Con: if this trailer is a proper reflection of the film’s tone and style, then Disney could have a winner on its hands – one that instills new life into the western genre (similar to what Pirates did for old-school swashbucklers). Of course, it’s best to wait and see more footage – some that’s lighter on the trains, heavier on the actual characters – before placing any bets on that wager.

Lone Ranger opens in theaters around the U.S. on July 3rd, 2013.

Source: iTunes Movie Trailers