Comic-Con 2012: THE LONE RANGER Looks Big And Expensive

Disney surprised Hall H with a sizzle reel of the new Lone Ranger movie. But is there any substance?

The best news about the teaser trailer for The Lone Ranger is that it isn't steampunk. I was concerned that Gore Verbinski would lean to that busy, purposefully anachronistic style when making a Western, but the footage screened at Comic-Con yesterday indicates he's made a pretty straight oater.

A really big, expensive straight oater. The cost is dripping off the screen, which means every penny of the film (once halted due to expense) is showing. The Lone Ranger promises to be massive. 

It also promises to be the Johnny Depp Show. The logo is Tonto's bird headgear and face. Not a silver bullet, not a mask - Tonto. And from what little we saw in Hall H, Depp seems to be playing the part very, very seriously. Not a grin was cracked as he played Tonto as the most serious silly-looking guy you ever saw.

As for Armie Hammer? Who knows! The second half of the teaser had a line from Tonto: "Kemosabe, sometimes good men must go masked" and Tonto doing some sort of mystical Indian thing in a jail and Tonto riding underneath a speeding train car and Tonto on his galloping horse, but there was only the briefest of looks at Hammer in his costume, and he had no lines at all.

As a sizzle reel what was shown was appropriately impactful. But it left me wondering why I cared besides the loud noises and spectacle (Tonto and the Lone Ranger leaning against a jacknifed train car while another train car slides across the desert at them). There's no way to tell from such a short presentation, but there was a hollowness at the center of The Lone Ranger - and a self-seriousness - that concerns me.