Avast Ye Hearties, today be "Talk Like a Pirate Day" so scupper the mizzenmast and swab the billhooks, because me topic today be "Pirates of the Carribbean". Arr, I be goin' a bit more mainstream today, than I usually do, but it seems an appropriate topic of conversation on this fine day.
Okay, I tried. I think that's as much pirate talks as I can do in one post.
Anyway, Pirates of the Carribbean is, arguably, the best film to be adapted from a ride at Disneyland. However, given that its competition in that category consists of "The Country Bears Jamboree" and "The Haunted Mansion" this is not saying much. Still, the ride is my favorite one at the park so it was only natural that I would be inclined to take a favorable view of the movie even before my butt ever plopped down in a theater seat to watch it.
And for the first one, that favorible inclination was entirely justified. It was a fun adventure story with pirates and ghosts and lost treasure. What more could you ask for? Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow (not to be confused with Captain Jack Harkness, but I digress) was, in this first outing, an interesting character. Amoral, but not mean, flamboyant but not annoying (that came later), Just what a pirate should be. Orlando Bloom as Will Turner was also a good choice, someone whose devotion to law and order made him a perfect counterbalance to the decidedly unlawful and disorderly character of Captain Jack. Keira Knightly rounds out Team Good Guy in the film as Elizabeth Swann, and even she did an excellent job of making her into a real character, rather than just some person for Will and Jack to have to rescue.
The movie was just plain fun. Wildly improbable fights in increasingly chaotic situations, a soundtrack that set the tone to perfection, witty banter galore, it was everything that you would want in a PG-13 pirate movie. It wasn't a deep serious thinky movie, but it was FUN. ANd for a movie like that, fun is all it needs to be.
Sadly, though, Hollywood is not noted for its ability to leave well enough alone. So sequels ensued. And these were a lot less fun. The first mistake was making it a "Two part trilogy". If you are not familiar with the term, its a phenomenon that happens when movie makers want to start a franchise but aren't 100% confident in the first film. So you end up with a trilogy of films where the first movie is a stand-aline story, but the next two are strongly connected. Think how the original Star Wars was one complete story but Empire ended on a cliffhanger that would be resolved in Jedi. That sort of thing. Anyway, I hate it when they do that. But worse is that by just repeating the same formula from the first film over and over again, they just ended up making all the enjoyable parts less enjoyable. The same traits that made Captain Jack a cool character in one film, just made you want to punch him repeatedly over the course of three. The banter and the set-piece fights just became predictable. Call me crazy but if you want to have three movies about the same characters, they characters should grow over the course of the series. Instea, the closest any of them came to a character arc was just Orlando Bloom finding a way out of having to do the fourth movie. Too bad.
Then in 2011. We got a fourth movie. If the second and third killed the franchise, "On Stranger Tides" peed on the corpse. It was bad. So the less said of it the better. I have to admit, I looked forward to it when it came out, because I am an optimist that way sometimes, and I hoped that now that they had their crappy two part trilogy out of the way, they could do better this time. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! No.
Which leads us to the most recent entry in the series, last year's "Dead Men Tell No Tales". Having been burned by the fourth film I have to admit that I was decidely less optimistic about the fifth. But I was pleasantly surprised. While still not as good as the first, it was a damned sight better than any of the movies in the series after than. We got to see different sides to some of the characters, it didn't feel like the same characters doing the same thing yet one more time. It also provided a perfect end to the series. If they leave it be, that will be fine with me. Of course, there was a post credit's scene (Every major film needs a post-credit's scene these days, I am 75% sure that it's the law now) hinting at a next movie with Davey Jones returning (the octopus guy from the 2nd and 3rd film, not the Monkee), but I really hope they don't.
To paraphrase a different Disney character: Let it go, Disney, let it go