I’m cranky, mildly drunk and out 13 dollars — the perfect conditions for venting frustration in my parents’ basement on a Saturday night. This past week, I caught the latest nail in Disney’s coffin, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and wanted to share my thoughts. Unfortunately I tend to ramble the more I drink. The good news is that I’m not feeling transitions today. I think those cancel out.
So here’s a list of grievances, ordered from lowest to highest blood alcohol level:
1) That opening sequence teasing Ponce de Leon was thoroughly awesome. Had a very “National Treasure” vibe to it. Hopefully some historical background can keep this one grounded. Did I just use “National Treasure vibe” in a sentence?
2) Disney must be fast-tracking the death of Jack Sparrow’s character. I can’t tell if Depp’s just not into the role anymore or they really did hire two five year olds to handle the script. One liners ahoy!
3) You gotta hand it to Keith Richards for another excellent impersonation of Keith Richards.
4) What happened to Geoffrey Rush in between “King’s Speech” and this? This franchise is killing acting talent fast. Strangely enough, Penelope Cruz seems no different. On the other hand, try not oggling her in drag. Still impossible.
5) Is there a point to these action sequences? I just watched Jack Sparrow jump over barrels for five minutes. I will say it is nice that they managed to cram 27 variations of the same Pirates theme into one scene. Good thing this is the first time that’s happened:
Okay, that was a freebie. No others though, right?
The extra editing in that just makes my job easier. But surely the sequels bring something to the table?
I could go on, but you get my point and I’m tired of editing HTML code.
6) There are mermaids in this? With fangs? I guess that’s kinda cool. Or are we not doing the vampire thing anymore?
7) (SPOILER ALERT) I still don’t understand that final fight between Blackbeard and Barbossa. Here’s the rundown:
-Blackbeard arrives at the Fountain of Youth, and reminds us for the umpteenth time of the prophesy predicting his death at the hands of a one-legged man.
-Captain Barbossa, who also happens to have only one leg, springs his ambush
-Jack Sparrow tries to stop Blackbeard and the one-legged Barbossa from bringing everyone else into this. Why risk any collateral damage?
-Both Blackbeard and Barbossa’s men appear to understand and lower their guns, realizing that peace is the much more sust-
-Ah, fuck it. ATTAAAAAAAAAAACK!
-Surprisingly, Barbossa (i.e. the man with one fucking leg) stabs Blackbeard in the chest with a poisoned blade. Dead.
So let me get this straight. Sparrow basically points out what the audience is already thinking:
You’re telling me there’s some prophecy that predicts Blackbeard will die at the hands of Barbossa? So we already know how this will end? Why is everyone still fighting? This is clearly a fight between two men and three legs. Why didn’t I see Thor again instead?
Okay, maybe not that last part, but you can’t have a scene that pokes fun of itself and then does that exact thing anyway. That’s almost as dumb as having a scene that pokes fun of itself and then does that exact thing anyway.
8) Jack Sparrow has dissolved from bad ass pirate to self caricature. He singlehandedly takes out a small Spanish platoon with rope and a friggin’ coconut tree. At least when Jason Statham cleans house with a hose he looks cool doing it.
But in the Disney vault, Johnny Depp just downs more Sailor Jerry and mumbles another bad one-liner. Savvy?
9) (ANOTHER SPOILER ALERT, LONE PERSON WHO CARES) What was with Jack Sparrow’s love scene at the end? You can’t tell a girl you have feelings for her. Did Han Solo teach us nothing?
Well, at least we know Anakin led by example:
I’m only assuming that second one was the right clip. I can’t watch it without ripping out a fingernail. The point here is that the rebel always plays it cool. Sure, turning down a kiss from Penelope Cruz was both awesome and 100% unrealistic, but I think Jack’s nuts might still be in Davy Jones’ locker.
10) This was Rob Marshall’s doing? First, “Nine” and now “On Stranger Tides.” I vote we move to a “two strikes, you’re out” system. This can apply to baseball, too. At least Justin Morneau’s at bats would be shorter.
11) I paid decent money to see this. In converted 3D no less. And yet I’m almost positive I would’ve had more fun rewatching the Lonely Island’s “Jack Sparrow” forty times over. Actually, I think I came close to hitting that mark last week, and it only cost me a social life and a Communications final. Davy Jones! Giant C!
12) Since I’m incapable of ending on a positive note, I’ll make it a humorous one and defer to “Ask a Ninja” and its spot on review of Dead Man’s Chest:
What does it mean when a movie’s parodies are better than the actual movie? There’s probably an insightful observation about the merger of technology and pop culture in there somewhere.