A lot of these images, frankly, are gorgeous, riffing on the traditional look of not just Western films, but the paintings and photographs that helped us define the West in the first place over a century ago. Looking at these it's easier to think of Verbinski not as the guy who slowly got tripped up in the rabbit hole of the Pirates franchise, but as the guy who made the inventive and beautiful animated film Rango, another unconventional Western with Depp at the center. The Lone Ranger has been a troubled production, with the whole thing shut down for budget reasons before proceeding to go over budget over the course the long shoot, anyway.

In the interview with USA Today, Verbinski talks about making the film "the old-fashioned way," and even puts a thoughtful spin on the film's big action set piece set aboard a train:

“All the traditional westerns are about choice and the individual. When progress comes it's much more difficult to define the individual in that world. The train represents all of that. What do we give up in the name of progress?”

Clearly Verbinski has been reading up on his film history, and we can only hope that level of smarts translates into the final product. At the very least, seeing gorgeous images like these means we can't write off The Lone Ranger as an expensive folly like the previous three Pirates movies-- and if Verbinski and Depp can bring in some of that Rango flair, it could really be something special.

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