The Project: The Lone Ranger

The Panel: No guests. Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer are still shooting. This was just a quick reveal of footage at the end of Disney’s presentation.

The Big Revelations: Johnny Depp’s voice as Tonto, speaking one line in broken English: “There come a time, Kemosabe … when good man must wear mask.”

Footage Screened: Director Gore Verbinski previously worked with Depp on the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies, which frequently relied on comedy and slapstick. Whatever is in the overall movie, there was none of that in the minute of Lone Ranger footage previewed at Comic-Con, which had a heavier, more ominous tone.

Amid scenes of the transcontinental railroad coming together in the mid-1860s, we hear the voice of Tom Wilkinson, playing an unspecified character – who clearly sounds megalomaniacal. “From the time of Alexander the Great, no man could travel faster than the horse that carried him. … Not anymore. … Imagine time and space under the mastery of man — power that makes emperors and kings look like fools. … Whoever controls this, controls the future.”

It’s hard to piece together much plot from the clips shown, but we see Armie Hammer as the title character, looking disheveled and intense. There’s a bit of gunslinging, and we see Depp’s white-and-black painted Native American warrior hanging beneath a moving train as he uncouples one of the cars.

Helena Bonham Carter turns up in elegant gentlewoman’s finery, and we see a bit of blood splashing on the ground, and some massive train accidents.

Snap Judgment: Those looking for a darker take on The Lone Ranger will be pleased by the intense tone and focus on action over humor. Critics of Depp portraying a Native American may not like him dropping articles out of his speech, but others may have complained about if he didn’t. So that’s a break-even; there didn’t appear to be anything disrespectful about the voice that might provoke more complaints than the ones already out there.

The Winner of the Panel: Fans. We now have an answer to “Who was that masked man?” Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer are focusing on a more serious Lone Ranger instead of the jokey version some worried was coming down the tracks.

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The Lone Ranger
  • Movie
  • 149 minutes

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