Watching the theatrical trailer for The Lone Ranger, I was struck by two things. One was that Johnny Depp gives great Indian. The second was that Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer looked and felt like an old west version of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple.
Of course the trailer that I watched, while waiting for World War Z to start, was a bit more, shall we say, inclusive than the one below, it still put both characters solidly into place as the Felix and Oscar of western days.
Hammer as the Lone Ranger with his almost sparkling white hat and his impecable dress sense, is clearly the fastidious Felix Ungar. While Hammer’s Lone Ranger version of Ungar probably wouldn’t be caught dead emptying an ashtray, or the old west equivalent, a spittoon; he would be one of the cleanest crime fighters in the annals of history.
Depp as Tonto, and yes he does say kemo sabe (at least in the trailer I saw he did) and for some unknown reason has a dead crow on his head, is clearly the “non-cigar chewing” Oscar Madison. With his black streaked “war-painted” face with its white undercoating, he is definitely the “slob” of the two men.
This crime fighting duo seem to be quite violent as compared to television’s version who had Clayton Moore behind the mask and Jay Silverheels as his “trusty companion.”
The director Gore Verbinski, who has worked with Depp almost as much as Tim Burton, allows the actor to continue in his specialised “quirkiness,” a la Captain Jack Sparrow in Verbinski’s Pirates of the Caribbean, but not to the point of “throwing” the role of Tonto out of sync.
Just the trailer shows that the two men work well together and it appears that the film will redefine the legend of the masked ranger with the silver bullets. It looks very action packed and the pacing, unless the trailer is exaggerating, looks to be quick and impressive.
Verbinski looks as though he has used a lot of humour to even out the pathos of the story. Hopefully it will not dominate the film, but instead have the equal measures of action comedy that was present in the Pirates of the Caribbean.
I may be the only viewer who sees the new Johnny Depp/Armie Hammer pairing as an old west version of the Neil Simon classic. And neither of the actors resemble Jack Lemmon or Walter Matthau (the big screen version) or Jack Klugman and Tony Randall, but I do feel as though that is what Verbinski is aiming for.
You can almost invision John Reid, the lone ranger, fussily brushing dust from his clothes and checking to see that his chair seat isn’t dirty. Tonto on the other hand looks like he would be right at home in the filthiest of places.
But Odd Couple imagery aside, the trailer has impressed me enough that it is now on my list of films to see this summer. I had gotten burned out on Johnny Depp, who seems to have turned his career into one quirky and “strange voiced” character after another. But when I said he “gave good Indian” I meant it. He sounds like every “Hollywood” American Indian in cinema history.
While he’ll never be as convincing as Chief Dan George or that great Creek actor Will Sampson, he apparently has enough Cherokee blood in his veins to pass muster in the Hollywood Indian speaking school. At least in this Disney version of the old west, he sounds like he should.
So I think I’ll queue up to see The Lone Ranger along with every other Disney fan out there and see Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer as the old west version of The Odd Couple. The film will be in cinemas in the latter part of summer this year. Watch the trailer below.
By Michael Smith