Tuesday, December 21, 2010

More Pirates of the Caribbean

I'm shocked. The trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides has been released, and it looks... good. It looks like something I'd actually like to see. I'm amazed, because after the one-two punch of the incredibly crowded Dead Man's Chest and the incredibly boring At World's End, I never thought I'd want to sit through one of these movies again.

I've talked before, at windy length, about how terrible I think the first three PotC movies are. The first movie was fun but very long and repetitive, and a few decent performances and some good special effects (though by no means all of them) couldn't make the second two films feel anything but 12 and a half hours long. Each.

But this new movie has done something wonderful: ditched most of the characters. PotC is a textbook example of a series that carries too many threads and is simply too anal retentive to drop any of its characters when they no longer serve any narrative purpose. The mistake is really made in the second movie when, like most series that were never originally designed to be series (no matter what the filmmakers say), we are tediously reintroduced to practically every character from the first movie and given convoluted reasons for them all to meet and journey together, and then several new characters and plots are added on, none of which the movie has any intention of resolving until a third movie. Even thinking about those second two movies just makes me tired.

So when I see there's now a fourth movie, with the only two characters worth holding onto from the first trilogy (Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbossa), and adds Penelope Cruz in a pirate outfit... well, I start to get excited. As much as those other movies did to make me hate pirates, I still love them and want to see them in adventure flicks. And though I'm not the biggest Rob Marshall fan, at least Gore Verbinski isn't directing this one, either. It's almost like getting a do-over.

I just hope it's not so long and blowhardy as the other movies. Less characters, less going around in circles, and please, please stop trying to humanize Jack Sparrow. You can't have it both ways: is he just funny and awesome, or am I supposed to care about the fucker? Because that gear shift really ground hard in the second movie.

But with no Keira Knightley or Oily Bloom in the picture, it can only be better.


Timothy Jaxon said...

I'd like to hope that some of the non-suckiness of this particular sequel comes from the source material - On Stranger Tides, by Tim Powers. He's a powerful storyteller and the basics (Fountain of Youth, Blackbeard, Mermaids) are at the heart of the new movie.

I highly recommend picking the book up (or any other Powers story!) - it is out of print currently but probably will get some sort of release early next year in tandem with the movie.

SamuraiFrog said...

Ah, okay. I didn't realize they were mining source material here. I've never read any Tim Powers, actually, though I've heard his name mentioned a bit. I really should check him out.

Timothy Jaxon said...

Here's a link for the connection: http://herocomplex.latimes.com/2009/10/06/surprised-author-tim-powers-finds-himself-setting-sail-with-pirates-of-the-caribbean/

BTW - the Hero Complex website is great for all sorts of comic/movie/TeeVee geekery.

And Merry Christmas, Mr. S. Frog! I have no idea how I stumbled upon your little blog years ago, but I'm happy to have done so. You write from the heart. Keep it up, sir!

Kal said...

I thought the trailer looked great too. I love Geoffry Rush as Barbossa and Ian McShane does look great as Black Beard. But it's Captain Jack all the way for me. He is a scoundral but with a heard of gold and lets all just leave it at that. Leave him doing things to benefit himself first and if others come out ahead because of it then that is okay too.