Mini Review: The Lone Ranger (2nd trailer)
By Douglas Rusley
Originally published to Examiner.com, December 14 2013
Will Smith was riding a wave of success in the mid-90’s. Then he teamed with a director he’d worked with before to make a big, expensive summer blockbuster based on a classic TV show set in the old west. That movie of course was Wild Wild West, and it opened to scathing reviews and middling box office, breaking Smith’s streak and polluting his career with one of the greatest, priciest cinematic stinkers of the decade.
I bring this up because it occurred to me watching the first teaser trailer for The Lone Ranger, Johnny Depp is facing down that same loaded gun. He may have more goodwill over the years, but his last big movie was Dark Shadows, another revival of a TV show that massively flopped. It doesn’t help that Ranger has experienced a troubled production, with a massively fluctuating budget, sets being destroyed, and other problems. It was always curious that a low-budget family series would inspire a blockbuster reimagining with an over $200 million budget, but with the first trailer and now this new one, we get to see where all that money went.
This new full trailer takes the focus off Depp’s Tonto (I still haven’t decided whether Depp’s version of Tonto is racist. It probably is.) to focus more on the Lone Ranger himself (Armie Hammer). John Reid wakes up from an open grave high up in the western plains and soon runs into Tonto, who apparently informs Reid that he recently died and has come back as a “spirit walker,” so he cannot be killed in battle. (So basically he’s The Crow.) Knowing nothing about the Lone Ranger myself, I have no idea if this is in line with the original story, or it might just be a way to justify Reid donning the mask: as Tonto explains, it may be better to conceal his identity and let everyone continues to think that he’s dead.
There’s plenty more of the film’s gritty, harsh color palette on display, though there is just a bit more of that humor we expect from the Pirates gang. As for the rest of the cast, Tom Wilkinson has been reduced to only one quick shot, and Helena Bonham Carter appears just long enough to have a showdown/reunion with Depp. The whole thing finishes with what looks to be a pretty spectacular train crash sequence. That’s probably what sucked up all that money, along with all the supernatural stuff implied throughout. I hope everything works out with this one; the world doesn’t need another Wild Wild West. Or Dark Shadows.