Friday, January 11, 2008


Well, evidently we can't win them all. Disney had such a great thing on their hands w/ the Pirates franchise after the success of the first installment, but the last two films have proven that even the Disney folks can put too many proverbial feathers in their three-cornered hats.

Thought I usually begin my reviews by a quick plot summary, it's pretty difficult to do that here. I found this story to be so convoluted and strange that I don't know if such a thing would be possible...heh heh. Suffice it to say that SOMEHOW Geoffrey Rush's salty Captain Barbossa is brought back from the grave for SOME strange reason with a VAGUE and largely unexplained purpose that involves rescuing our wondrous Jack Sparrow from the bowels of the Kracken. He is given the help of his former enemies, including our now sadly de-feminized Elizabeth Swan and her beau (?) Will Turner. Along the way, other pirate leaders get involved in an inevitable fray w/ the British military that was kind of a no-brainer after Jack escaped hanging in the first movie.

Needless to say, The Curse of the Black Pearl (9/10) was a fantastic movie. It succeeded on so many levels, one of which was the wonderful characterizations of Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp's most endearing role since Edward Scissorhands) and Geoffrey Rush as Barbossa. So though I adored Bill Nighye as Davy Jones in the second film (Dead Man's Chest 7/10) as well as the Indiana Jones-esque action scenes in that film, I was so happy to have Barbossa back in this ones, even if by somewhat cloudy means. Unfortunately, though Rush still 'Arrghs' and 'Mateys' his way through this latest installment with panache, there is too much story to focus on his efforts. When I say 'too much story', I mean just that. So much tale was attempting to be told in this movie, we are left w/ having 'heard' very little of it. Where more time and energy should have been spent on Will and Elizabeth's romance, which was one of the staples of the original film, only about five minutes of screen time are allowed for this important point and STILL we are left w/ a question mark concerning their future.

I enjoyed a few things however, namely the performances of the lead actors, a few witty bits of dialogue, and the dark but pretty direction of Verbinski. These things alone will make the movie watchable, even if it isnt as enjoyable as the prior two. Keith Richards' cameo was a hoot as well, as was the final moments of the film which reminded me of the first movie and gave me an actual charge to see the next one. Who knows, we could end up w/ something great (think Indian Jones and the Last Crusade) if the creators can get it together.

SPOILER ALERT: Perhaps I'm just not smart enough to enjoy this particular Pirate movie but I just didnt GET major points of the story. WHY did we need Barbossa particularly? Because he could sail? Why was Calypso released exactly? What did that accomplish? Davy Jones' locker was neat I guess, but too little explanation was given as to the workings of it and why no one but Jack Sparrow happened to be there. Was it a 'dry' season (pardon the pun)? So Will Turner is now Davy Jones (with longer curlier hair)? And the former crew of the Dutchman are ...okay? Dead? Alive? I was not satisfied on any of these points really. I also did not enjoy or 'believe' the love angle between Davy Jones and the seemed very tacked on to me. Odd stuff. If any of you guys can answer these questions for me, I'd appreciate it.

As it stands, I did not hate this movie. I would probably watch it again, if for no other reason than to see what I missed. But I hope that if Disney truly intends to carry this any further, they put a little more thought into it...or maybe, a little less?

My rating: 5/10


Blogger turborip said...

See, I personally would reverese the ratings for the final two Pirates films, as I though Dead Man's Chest was way more convoluted and merely a vehicle to lead into At World's End. Perhaps I was so underwhelmed at DMC, it surprised me that I liked AWE so much.

I took a lot of it with a grain of salt. They seemed to be playing with a lot of established pirate lore, albeit highly stylized, and since so much lore is already wonky and superstitious, it's bound to have holes in it. After all, pirates and seafarers in general were moronic enough to think women were bad luck on ships. No wonder they were so uptight!

They wanted to free Calypso to use her power, but someone didn't think it through she might actually hold a grudge against those that bound her in the first place. I took the use of Barbarossa to mean he might be the only one just crazy enough to actually lead a crew and have the skills to reach World's End.

And I would give this film a few more points for the use of the actually ride dialogue as the screen goes black when they fell off the end of the Earth. "Dead Men Tell No Tales!"I've rode that thing so many times and I actually have the Disney CD of that attraction in my collection! I had a major fanboy moment there!

8:00 AM  
Blogger jewlover2 said...

Interesting thoughts, turbo. Yes, I did get the reference to the ride in the movie and did love that...I'm a big fan as well.

I definitely expected more of the Calypso lots of crustaceans and a whirlpool? Big whoop. heh heh.

8:08 AM  

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