Monday, July 31, 2006

Pirates – the Dentist’s Nightmare

Y’know, it’s sad when the guy who edits the preview knows more about what makes the movie work than the director. This movie felt like a nice, big, roomy house stuffed to the rafters with moving boxes. Really dirty moving boxes. Pirates is a crowded film.


Back when CGI first hit the screens, the question became “when will CGI replace actors?” This was a broad step in that direction, and I liked Davy Jones a lot more than anyone else, and I didn’t really like him all that much. Loved the way his face moved, and the accent was kinda cool, but I’m left wondering how in the world they forgot what made the first Pirates movie so much fun?

Curse of the Black Pearl had charm. The thing about pirate movies is our ironic suspension of the knowledge that pirates were hard-butt, evil creatures. We romanticize them something fierce, and part of the romance is that a pirate ENJOYS being a pirate. That’s what “swashbuckling” is all about. Jack was a dastardly fellow, but he LOVES being dastardly.

No one enjoyed themselves in this movie. It started out dour (and I admit to missing something. Was Liz upset because her wedding was rained out? Or was Will arrested and prevented from showing up? I felt like I was missing something a lot in this film). And our beloved Captain Jack Sparrow never enjoyed himself after getting the black spot on his hand (the “I can still see fine” joke went over everyone’s head at the sold out theater we were in. Partially due to poor delivery, but mostly to mis-editing. Did they gloss over it for the kid’s sake? But no child should see this movie…) It seemed Davey Jones’s goal to crush out enjoyment because he had none, but that’s the quality that a villain must have to be engaging, not just special effects.

The writers of this movie are a team for whom I have a great deal of respect, so I’m assuming the whole cannibal section has a purpose in the next film, because otherwise it was a half-hour of useless stuff. A half hour to cover the story point that Jack had to be stationary for awhile so Will could find him?

And how is it that the monkey is still undead, but Barbosa is not? Was that the bit at the end of the credits in the last one? He stole a piece of gold, so he’s cursed again? How (and why) did Jack get him?

Bootstrap is back, but now I have to go back to the first script to see if I can recall exactly why his blood was needed to break the curse. I actually felt for him, though. Being tied to a cannon unable to live and unable to die… a chilling image. Myth building is a strength of Pirates and they came through again (though why the Flying Dutchman? Legend has it that it was a Dutch captain twirling around the Cape of Good Hope, forever doomed to sail his ghost ship because of his blaspheme. I suppose since most know the name and few the legend, that T&T squatted on the mental real estate of the Flying Dutchman to give it some resonance).

I’m notorious for blasting movies, and it appears I’ve infected Lynette. While everyone around us was praising it as a good film, we looked at each other and said, “huh?”

The next movie should be better, though. No one knows how to chew the scenery like Mr. Rush...