Friday, July 14, 2006

Pirates of the Caribbean

Well. Here it is. This is my review of Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest. I know I've been dogging it quite a bit in the last few days, but that's mainly because I think it's funny.

I went into this movie expecting nothing and I didn't hate all of it. There were a lot of things I liked in the movie. There were a lot more things I hated but I'm going to go through the things I liked first: (And, according to the Box Office Reports, I'm the last person on Earth to see this film, so I'm going to include spoilers, seeing as how everyone and God has seen this picture.)

The Cinematography was gorgeous. It's no wonder since Dariusz Wolski is behind it and he's DP'd a shitload of great movies (and not so great movies like this one, but they look great nonetheless.) The views were breathtaking and the lighting was spotless.

The music was infectious. I really liked Hans Zimmers score. One compaint: He should have added a noticeable major theme instead of harping on the same old score. (As the Imperial March was new to Empire).

Johnny Depp. He's just generally fun to watch.

Davey Jones and his fish-crew and the Kraken. This was the best part of the movie. Hands down. If the movie were just this, it would have been a perfect ten. I enjoyed the hell out of every shred of film these guys were on screen. Which leads me to the next thing I really liked about this film:

The Special Effects. There's nothing to say about them other than they were awe-inspiring.

And, at the end of the day, I respect that there was genuine swashbuckling in this film. There hasn't been swashbuckling on film like this since Errol Flynn and that aspect of the film was both admirable and enjoyable. Perhaps now, we can see some real swashbucklers on film, now that it's obviously a box-office draw.

Now to the things I hated, hated, hated about this film:

First and foremost? Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly. They just don't fit in this movie. And Orlando Bloom' s patented "harsh whisper" voice makes me want to strangle someone. And was it just me or did Keira Knightley have a spray on tan the entire course of the film?

Next: The script was sloppy. They could have fit a better movie in the same amount of time and actually resolved the story. They spent three reels setting up a "plausible" story that doesn't work and then pay it off with a poor-man's Empire Strikes Back ending. It would have taken me ten pages of script to set that story up a lot better and simpler. The first scene of the movie should have been the origin of Davey Jones, someone telling the kid a story, perhaps even Jack Sparrow telling some whore the story or something. And we should see it. Then within a scene, we need to see Davey Jones catch up to Jack and demand the debt. Will's father should have been in a separate story line, looking for redemption of his son, he challenges Davey Jones in that game to bargain to see his son somehow and that's how Will is captive. Bam, you've got the first ten or fifteen minutes of the movie, and then you can
get into what people actually want to see: Kick ass pirate battles and fish-people busting heads. Make it an actual race to the box instead of a series of time elapse montages getting characters conveniently where they need to be.

Long story short, I don't think I'm being arrogant when I say I feel I could have written a better, tighter script.

Next big problem: The jokes weren't funny. Johnny Depp and the natives? Not Funny.

Next big problem: I can handle a certain degree of suspended disbelief but everything was way too convenient. I don't know what this is, don't worry, some being will pop out of the wall and, in it's only appearance, tell you everything you need to know. I need someone else to explain the story because I'm too afraid to have main characters tell each other exposition, don't worry, we'll write in a crazy black chick. And so on. Also, they tried to cram every character possible into this movie and it wasn't necesary.

Next big problem: Length. They could have fit this story and it's resolution, minus Will and Elizabeth, into it's own 2 1/2 hour movie. It was torture sitting through at least 40% of this picture.

One of my biggest problems? Conflicting tones. Sparrows death, the emotional climax of the film, should not have been a comic moment. We learned in Jaws (which this film stole liberally from (i.e., the plan to wound the Kraken (Sarlacc) is how they killed the Jaws) that funny moments right before dramatic or scary moments make them better. Not both at the same time. It took me out of the moment.

On the other hand, the Trailer for "Night at the Museum" looked good.

I want to say, I had a lot of friends who enjoyed it, and I can't blame them. I would also bet though that they liked the first film, which I did not.

Anyhow, I need to go. I rented Libertine so that I could be reminded that Johnny Depp is a fantastic actor instead of a pirate.


the narrator said...

i concur. luckily i'm not as big of a movie critic as you, so i managed to go in with a 'turn brain off and turn on inner child' mode (that sounds really perverse).

the whole fish crew kicked my ass. ilm was flawless in depicted them (the coral dude gave me chills). the only effects problem i really had was the scene with the kraken behind sparrow. it didn't have the blue screen feel, but instead looked like there was a giant projector screen behind sparrow.

Bob said...

The Kraken looked fake every single time it was on screen.

It was so bad, I was surprised to see ILM in the credits.


Bryan said...

Effects don't need to look "real."

I liked the fact it looked "fake" it felt like something out of an old Harryhausen movie or something.