Monday, July 03, 2017

Pirates of the Caribbean, Again?

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales ~ How many of these things are there? I understand the desire to move away from numbers in franchise titles as the Marvel movies do, and decades before with James Bond and Godzilla, but here with the Pirates movies I can't tell one from another, and it hurts my desire to see them, as I might get the continuity mixed up. I don't even know if this is movie number four, five, or six. Shouldn't that (and I'm not the only one with these questions) bother the folks in charge?

Of course the idea that Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow has rarely been either protagonist or antagonist in these films makes the storytelling difficult and therefore the continuity hard to follow. And Depp is no longer the sweetheart, matinee idol, and box office draw he used to be, so it might be advantageous for the studio to make some definitive decisions about this franchise, or just end it.

This one is set several years after the last one, whichever one that was, and still revolves around Captain Jack Sparrow. This time his compass unlocks the curse of the Devil's Triangle, and the Flying Dutchman, and the Trident of Poseidon, and whatever other kitchen sink mumbo jumbo McGuffins were needed for this mess of a movie. But honestly that's not fair, it's only Depp that makes the film unwatchable.

They try very hard to make a good movie, with a convincing plot, and believable performances, and stunning special effects - but every moment that Johnny Depp is onscreen it becomes a politically incorrect cartoon, that after a while, becomes frankly insulting. The character is annoying, sexist, and takes the focus off the story and the rest of the cast. Disney is removing the 'we wants the redhead' sequence from their Pirates ride, how about getting rid of the alcoholic misogynist Captain Jack as well?

As I said, the effects of the ghosts of the Triangle are quite amazing, and so are the undead sharks, even though I am so sure there was a board meeting where someone stood up and said two words with a grin on their face, "zombie sharks," and immediately got this flick greenlighted. All that aside, the undead sharks are freaking cool.

The Paul McCartney cameo where he sings "Maggie Mae" seemed way out of place, but I'm glad they got it over early and quick. Geoffrey Rush, Kaya Scodelario, and Javier Bardem were terrific when not being upstaged by Depp, but the real stars here are the effects and the event status of the flick. Blink and you're miss Paul McCartney singing "Maggie Mae." Attempts are made to tie up many of the loose ends from the previous three or four movies, but don't forget to stay for the after-credits scene that hints at a certain villain's return.

All in all, this was a bit too long, but was entertaining, and would have been a lot better without Johnny Depp. His time in the spotlight has long ago moved on.

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