It would be an overstretch to say that I’m a fan of the franchise. Still, I am not ashamed to say that I found the first one to be utterly delightful, a return to the old Disney adventure movies that lulled my childhood (Blackbeard’s Ghost, anybody?). The first movie had lots of things I enjoyed […]
It would be an overstretch to say that I’m a fan of the franchise. Still, I am not ashamed to say that I found the first one to be utterly delightful, a return to the old Disney adventure movies that lulled my childhood (Blackbeard’s Ghost, anybody?). The first movie had lots of things I enjoyed and it is true that they grew progressively weak from there but they were still enjoyable. Few thins went wrong along the way. The supernatural twist got more confused, less clean, for starters: if the first movie had a single curse with a single crucial rule, afterwards we got a weird fest of killed mermaids, voodoo witches/sea goddesses, fish-sailors, moving ships, miniatured ships and the list could go on. Characters also got less interesting: the first movie had a multifaced Jack Sparrow, you didn’t know if he was betraying somebody and who, if he was really clever or just an extremely lucky fool. The susequent movies got you rid of any doubt and not in the most interesting direction. Humour also got lost and movies turned from being funny to being downright idiotic.
Now, I’m afraid this movie goes down that same road, digging deeper into my disappointment in a way that makes On Stranger Tides (nr.4, in case you lost count) look like a masterpiece. Not kidding.
Where should I start from? Well, let’s start from the things I’m salvaging, ok? From this movie you’ll probably be able to salvage the last 20 minutes: with a glorious setting under the sea (you can start singing, now) and an even more glorious Barbossa. That’s the kind of movie I felt entitled to expect: the mighty sea, clever pirates, brave actions from apparently selfish men, curses breaking, giant wooden ship figureheads jumping around and… ok, maybe not the last one, the last one I didn’t see coming, but you got my point, right? Well, aside from that, you might want to save the witch (a beautiful bald and tattoed Golshifteh Farahan) and the guillotine scene, if only you didn’t see it in the promo and if only it didn’t have that whole Carina Smith thing (but more on that later). Oh, and the bank scene. That you can save.
Everything else can be thrown down the garbage chute, I’m afraid.
Starting from Javier Bardem, who makes for a very weak villain in comparison to the very same character played by Geoffrey Rush in the first move. Because yes, it’s a dead captain cursed by Sparrow, only in a more direct fashion, this time. Apparently they didn’t think the story would get old but it does, oh it does. Even the clever manoeuvre Jack pulls of to trick him is something we already saw in the first movie. Trash it.
Then you can trash the female leading character and oh how deep is the winter of my discontent, here. Disney is breeding some dreadful women of tomorrow, if I have to believe these examples or, more subtly, is downright refusing to face the issue and comes up with these grotesque caricature of independent woman, in which it is depicted that all you need to do is being a snarky bitch with exposed tits and you will eventually get your man even if you’re clever and independent, provided he is stupid and weak enough. If you break it down, it’s fucking scary. Trash it. Besides, the “actress” is just horrible. It’s one Kata Scodelario and she was Teresa in the Maze Runner series. I saw them and I didn’t bring myself to talk you about them.
While you’re at it, you can also trash the young Turner boy, one Brenton Thwaites who already was the useless prince in Maleficent. No explanations here, if not what I provided above. He is completely useless, he doesn’t even serve the purpose of being a pushing factor for Sparrow. He is there for decoration and his infatuation for young Carina has an explanation only if you assume that was the first ass he ever touched.
Then you can move to Jack Sparrow because hey, I used to love Johnny Depp but this is just as embarrassing as David Wenham and the Paul McCartney cameo. Embarrassing as the concept of the new ghost ship, the Silent Mary, which opens up like a scolopendra and seems devised only in order to justify another Lego set (as if we needed an excuse for that). Embarrassing as the soundtrack, which has been nothing new since day one and is just a lazy homework by one Geoff Zanelli who didn’t do anything significant. And what about the screenplay, with exchanges that will make you want to throw your popcorn at the screen? Jeff Nathanson was the writer of The Terminal and Catch me if you can and those were fine works. He was also the writer of the last Indiana Jones, so I’ll go out on a limb here and say he does what he is requested to do. And the fact that they asked him for that is what frankly scares me the most.