Pirates of the Caribbean: the franchise


Partner and I saw the new “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise while we were on the Cape. In two words: Ho Hum.



Why did we go? you may ask. Well, as Partner said, we’ll go see pretty much anything with Johnny Depp in it, and this is pretty much true, damn it. Also, the producers usually manage to squeeze some fun out of the concept (which, given that the whole thing started with a pretty damp and dismal Disneyland ride, is amazing in itself).



But there’s nothing new here. Swordfight after swordfight; fracas after fracas; scurvy rascal after scurvy rascal. One may also ask how Penelope Cruz manages to stay so clean when the rest of the cast look like they’ve been rolling in a litterbox.  I suppose this qualifies as a “joke” in the movie, but I didn’t get much of a chuckle out of it.



I had sort-of-high hopes during the first fifteen minutes, when we were treated to nice cameos by Richard Griffiths (as a repulsive King George II, pullulating on his throne like Jabba the Hutt) and Judi Dench (far too brief, as a Henry Fieldingish matron in a carriage, with a nice but withered decolletage, being bounced upon – and propositioned! – by Johnny Depp). Then Keith Richards comes oozing out of an alley, and I think: well, this is fun. Kind of like a Muppet movie.



But – alas! – no. No more cameos, for the rest of the movie.



Apart from Ian MacShane (who does most of the real acting in the movie, as a purringly malevolent Blackbeard), everyone is pretty much phoning this one in. Johnny Depp’s drunken wobble is uninspired. Even Geoffrey Rush seems bored.



But this, kiddos, is the secret of the blockbuster franchise: so long as it makes money, it will go on forever.



(That doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. We saw Fast Five a month or so ago, and it was perfectly acceptable: lots of stolen cars, lots of perfectly unbelievable situations – and why were we in Brazil again? – and how do you drag a huge bank safe down the street with a car? – but a good time was had by all.)



But so long as the Pirates people can keep selling tickets (well, Partner and I fell for it, kaching! kaching!), they’ll keep wasting celluloid in this way.



And in case you wonder how many sequels there will be: check out this lovely Onion News interview with the writer of the new Fast & Furious movie.



In a word:



There is no end to it, the voiceless wailing,

No end to the withering of withered flowers . . .



Yo ho ho!




About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

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