Besides Cars, there has been no movie i’ve looked forward to all year more than the return of Jack Sparrow. Although i thought Curse of the Black Pearl to have a weak villain and meandering screenplay, the sum of Cap’n Jack, Elizabeth Swan and the Verbinski/Bruckheimer slickness outweighed the negatives. Sparrow was an instant icon the likes of which had been missing from the big screen for years.
Anyway, I expected the sequel to have no place to go but up based on the character of Davey Jones alone. Finally we would have a worthy and interesting villain. And, with any luck, we’d have a less roundabout storyline.
Now, you know me when it comes to discussing films. I’m never fully sure of what i thought until i see it again – and so i will wait until after midnight next Thursday to discuss this in detail. However, my initial reaction is somewhat confused. Much more confused than expected…
(Argg matey’s — there be spoilers ahead…best be waitin’ til after sailin these waters to venture onward…)
Here i sit, the last 24 hours bringing both Superman and Dead Man’s Chest into my life..and everything is exactly the opposite as i had expected. Now, i am in no way saying that Pirates is as bad as i expected Supes to be. No. No. It’s just that Superman put me through the ringer. I mean, you really are made to care about the main characters of that film. You kind of feel bad for all three members of the love triangle. Something tricky to pull off in any film dealing with that kind of dynamic let alone a big 200 million dollar high-profile superhero extravaganzo that people have waited decades for. But here, in Pirates, i guess the main prob is exactly the same as the first time around…it’s a little difficult to care all that much about any character other than Sparrow. Not that the others don’t have much to do. On the contrary. In fact, Keira has more to do this time around as does Orlando. But it all doesn’t add up to that much. And the plot is so meandering i actually will go out on a limb and admit i found myself bored during some of the action sequences.
I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe action sequences aren’t enough for me anymore on their own. Don’t geta me wrongo, the end of this film has some of the best action choreography of all time. But maybe i just need my huge set pieces mixed with just the right amount of emotion from at least one of the characters. I just don’t know anymore. I mean — don’t let me fool ya — this IS better than the first one. Well, okay — at least tied with the first one. I wish Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio did another draft, that’s all. Dead men tell no tales. But this kind of felt a little bit like what they would tell if they did.
While it still is just as meandering and a bit too long, it does have Davey Jones. And maybe he doesn’t have as much to do as i would have liked…but darn it if he’s not the single most astonishing character to look at EVER. He is a mindbender to watch…not ever once giving you the chance to figure out where the CGI starts and the make up ends. ILM has brought character animation to the next level with Davey Jones and his crew of barnacley hybrids. Like the awesome looking cursed skeletal crew from the first one, they’re amazing to watch but are rarely if ever given anything to do besides look cool. I’d rather have more of them and less of the natives that occupy a good half hour of this film and never really amount to any use other than to give Sparrow his Indy moment that has been used in every trailer and TV spot.
Okay, now that i have all that out i’d still like to say, without all my nitpickings..bottom line is that this is a fun movie. I mean, there’s no way for it not to be. Despite its flaws, just watching Jack Sparrow walk is enough to recommend it. Just the way Kiera looks is enough to recommend it. And besides those two elements, there are a few more references to the attraction thrown in as well. And the last half hour is non-stop chaos and all you could want. Sure it took a bit of unsmooth sailing to get there, but ultimately I had fun. I just wish there were some chills to go with it. Savvy?