Release Date: July 3
Director: Gore Verbinski
Rating: Not Yet Rated
Presumed dead and having touched the other side existence, a badge in the Old West, aided by a Native American spirit warrior, becomes the famous a masked marauder of justice, battling the forces of an evil robber baron.
What We Know:
Back in the Old West, John Reid (Armie Hammer of The Social Network) did his best to uphold the law. That was, until it cost him everything he knew and loved, ending up buried in a grave after a mysterious skirmish. So, you can imagine his surprise when he woke up on top of some crude scaffolding situated on a rock formation high atop a desert canyon.
In tune with all things spiritual, Native American bystander, Tonto (Johnny Depp) was nice enough to dig graves for the battle victims, including John's. Yet, despite his knowledge in such areas, the whole "dead guy waking up from a high altitude nap" phenomena was a bit of a surprise to him, as well. He's concluded that John, having successfully made a rare round-trip from the afterlife, was a Spirit Walker; "A man who cannot be killed in battle."
Such a thing will certainly come in handy when John wages a rather lopsided war against a brutal, avarice-obsessed tycoon named Latham Cole (Tom Wilkinson), who is using the westward railroad expansion as a means to rule ripe territories while ravaging the homeland of Tonto's brethren.
Now cavorting incognito to maintain his deceased status, John becomes The Lone Ranger. Alongside Tonto and a freaky tree-climbing horse, the Ranger takes the battle to the forces of this self-obsessed steampunk Scrooge. (Who probably wipes his mouth with hundred dollar bills and uses rose-cheeked Dickensian urchin children as foot-rests.)
Rounding out the cast are Helena Bonham Carter (because, you know, Johnny Depp is in the film), William Fichtner, Barry Pepper, and James Badge Dale.
What We Expect:
While the titular role could be a breakthrough for Armie Hammer, Johnny Depp's role as Tonto could be potential for political backlash. However, it might be hard to write Tonto off as a crude stereotype if he is the heart and spiritual guide of the film. (Which could be why Depp opted to play Tonto rather than the Ranger.)
The film's "highfaluting industrialist exploiting the little guy" theme might be a clichéd attempt to ground the film in modern sentiments. Nevertheless, it could add a layer of popcorn-snacking satisfaction as the ill-gotten infrastructure of the gruesome greedmonger is leveled in beautiful montages of destruction, courtesy of producer, Jerry Bruckheimer's penchant for "giant things crashing to the ground in slow motion."
With director, Gore Verbinski and star, Johnny Depp procured, this film will undoubtedly tout its parallels to the Pirates of the Caribbean films like a badge of honor. And rightfully so, since it's clear that all the same intense, comic-relief-filled, lighthearted Disney-appropriate action will be present. While we've certainly been getting numerous reinventions of the western genre as of late, it will be interesting to see how much this film can cross-sell those Pirates credentials, while at the same time, divorcing itself from the swashbuckling shadow of that monstrously-successful franchise.
Will The Lone Ranger distinguish itself? Or will it simply be "Pirates of the Wild West?"
For more info on The Lone Ranger, check out the official site.
Be sure to check out more of G4's 2013 movie previews throughout the month of January.