Monday, June 18, 2007

The Return Of Captain Calamari And The Seafood Sailors

Gosh, has it really been only eleven months since I reviewed Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest? Yes indeed, it has. There's another Pirates movie out. Let's watch!

Okay. Did you like it? I did. Not at first, though. It plodded along far too slowly, and it seemed to take forever for Captain Jack Sparrow to make his first on-screen appearance. I know that, technically, he's supposed to be dead after the events at the climax of the second film, but it should not have taken that long to resurrect him. It did not take that long for Han Solo to get out of the carbonite in Return of the Jedi. Or perhaps it didn't seem like it. Heck, I was able to escort my young son to the men's room twice without missing anything. Anyway, the action picked up when Captain Jack showed up and didn't slow down until the end.

Observations:

  • Tia Dalma still has the nastiest teeth of anyone on any of the pirate ships. Wow, what a secret she was hiding all that time! The actress who portrays her is quite pretty (in some photos she looks a little like Eartha Kitt), so I was hoping that the lines on her face would disappear and the teeth become immaculate during her BIG scene. Disappointed, I was.
  • Will Turner still seems too soft and effeminate to fit in with the manly scuzzballs who practice their wicked ways at sea. His dad isn't much better. Instead of setting out to sea, the Turner men ought to be sitting down at home reading self-help books. It would be more in line with the nature of their characters.
  • Jack Sparrow. How did Johnny Depp get to be such a great actor? This guy can carry an entire movie. Lucky thing he has a good supporting cast to "bounce" his performance off of. Still, if the entire movie consisted of Jack commanding a whole crew of himself ("Malkovich!"), Depp is the guy who could do it.
  • Poor Elizabeth Swann. In the first film, she was merely an unattainable object of desire for the skeleton crew. In the second, she basically sheds her dignity and plants a kiss on Captain Jack in one of the biggest "What the hell?" scenes I have ever witnessed. In the third episode, she allows herself to become a plaything for Singapore sleazebags as part of the quest to rescue Jack Sparrow. The strip search scene took place mostly off-screen, but there were enough hints to make me wonder if there wasn't some kind of implied violation. Is the life of Captain Jack really worth it, darlin'?
  • Captain Barbossa is the classic "Arrr!" pirate. He was creepy as a villain in the original, yet somehow comes off as rather endearing in this one. I like him better as a good guy.
  • Davy Jones! If every man with woman problems turned out like him, we'd all come with a side of cocktail sauce. Or tartar sauce, if you prefer. It's as if his ex went from thinking "What a catch!" to "He'll be a real catch, all right" when things went pear-shaped. I almost felt sympathy for him.
  • Pintel and Raghetti would work well if spun off into their own cartoon series. They are easily the most cartoonish roles in these movies, with the possible exception of the two arguing guards -- who could play a role as supporting characters in the Adventures of Pintel and Raghetti.
  • Gibbs is a real salt of the earth kind of guy -- sea salt, that is. He's the character I would most like to hang out in a pub with.
  • The uniformed British dudes are pretty one-dimensional. They exist only to give the protagonists something to be united against.
  • The gathering of the Brethren was pretty cool. I would have loved to see some character development for the other pirate lords.

Basically, if you can stomach the slow pacing of the first half-hour or so, you will be rewarded with plenty of humor and action that follows the rediscovery of Jack Sparrow. I quite liked it, and if my crazy son hadn't been so danged jumpy, I would have loved to stay for the end credits. There was a bonus scene. Let's just say that, even if the creators and performers are POTC burned out, there is a doorway to picking up the franchise in another ten years or so.

No comments: