Pirates of the Caribbean 4
When I saw the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, several years ago, I was precisely the right age and maturity level and I absolutely loved it. So did the Academy, it seemed, as they nominated Jonny Depp for an Oscar. What happened? Sure, I’ve gotten older but the person next to me in the cinema was in their 40s and laughing their head off. This leads me to blame the films for not being able to engage with me in the same way the first one did. Captains Jack and Barbossa are still there, Keira’s been replaced by Penelope Cruz (not a fatal switch) and they’re still pirates in the Caribbean. So what’s changed?
Convoluted plots. I can’t remember a single detail about Pirates 3 other than the fact that there was a giant whirlpool and I imagine, in a couple of weeks, I will have the same foggy recollection about On Stranger Tides. Everyone’s working for their money, I don’t doubt that. What I do doubt is whether anyone fully knew what was going on. Perhaps the writers are laughing at our expense by introducing endless MacGuffins (mermaid’s tears, chalices, ships in bottles and the Fountain of Youth) whilst concurrently deciding to barely flesh out certain characters at all (mermaid girl I’m looking at you).
Depp’s antics are never unenjoyable and the London opening is good, clean fun. Richard Griffiths turns up for a couple of minutes as the King and Judi Dench turns up for literally seconds as some chick in a carriage. More time should’ve been given to Sparrow and Barbossa as allies (Rush manages to shake off The King’s Speech in reprising his role) but the film instead has the focus of an eight year old boy with ADHD and an unlimited supply of Irn-Bru. I’m sure this will do good enough business but I would implore them, if they attempt Pirates 5, to just have one storyline.
Fun but such disappointingly juvenile filmmaking at the same time, this feels like it was made up as they went along.