Tuesday, December 28, 2010

On Profit's Tides

Sorry for the leave of absence, class, but sometimes real life gets in the way of one's writing life.

On the upside, this period of retreat has allowed for a mass surplus in movie news, so I'll have plenty to write about!

Let's just jump right on in, eh?  The water looks warm enough.

That's CAPTAIN Turn-A-Profit.

Don't get me wrong, I like the Pirates of the Caribbean series just fine.  The first one was really good!  Sure, the second and third movies were 'Meh' but the first one was good, and we'll always have that.


Here's a question I pose to you, dear reader: How many mediocre sequels does it take to screw in a lightbulb crash a franchise?

Now, I want as much as the next person to walk into the theatre and enjoy Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.  I really do.  I mean, let's face facts: They cut the dead weight.  Sure Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley were adorable in the first movie, but then their on-screen relationship became bloated and convuluted as the series carried on.  They just weren't that interesting anymore.

So, I was honestly a bit excited to see the franchise was supposed to be getting back to what we loved about the first three movies: Pirates.

Now, let's step back for a moment, shall we?  Remember the ending to Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End?  Now, despite all the crap that was piled up in front of it (Including Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest) that was actually the perfect ending for that movie.

I know, we'll call the feather Macaroni.

It was the perfect ending for that series.  Jack Sparrow sailing off, having tricked Barbosa one last time, to go look for the Fountain of Youth?  Perfect ending!

Now, I haven't been following this movie all that closely, but I was actually excited when I found out that it would focus on Jack Sparrow and Barbosa.

Then I watched the trailer.

Ok, it looks like a fun movie, to be sure.  Ok, Barbosa has allied himself with the British Navy (didn't we already do that, once, with the squid-faced Bill Nighy?) and is hunting down Jack Sparrow.  Ok, Jack's wife from Blow is in the movie.  Ok, we're re-using the same tired jokes from the first three movies.  Ok, there's another young couple, surely to be star-crossed, in this movie.

All of those things are well and good, sure, but here's the thing: Nothing about it seems fresh.  Look at the things I've listed above.  Do any of them seem like new additions to the series?

You're right, Penelope Cruz wasn't in the other movies, but let's be honest: She's just playing the same part Keira Knightley played except with an accent.

Now, I don't want to diminish Cruz's talent, but that's the way this business works: You always have to have a beautiful woman.  Imagine if you will, for just a moment, that instead of Penelope Cruz the film featured Roseanne Barr, or that they had actually made Cruz look the part of a pirate woman, by using make-up.

Ok, now I want all the guys who WOULDN'T go to see that movie step to the left side of the room, please.

Though, honestly, I can forgive a lot of the re-using of plot points and jokes.  It's the two teenagers that are obviously replacements for Orlando and Keira that I cannot forgive.  I guess they figure that we need a star-crossed lovers storyline to make up for the shallow and under-developed main character?

How about this idea Disney: Make Jack Sparrow and Angelica (Penelope Cruz) be the star-crossed lovers.  Let's actually develop Sparrow into the three-dimensional character, instead of a one-line spouting cash cow.

But alas, it's too late for that.

Like I said, I truly hope that this movie ends up being really good.  Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio are great writers, the movie is filled to the brim with talented actors, and Rob Marshall has a fairly strong, if short, resumé.  This movie could end up either making up for the last two movies, or end up tarnishing the the franchise even further.  Only time will tell.  However, even if the movie sucks, at least it's got a name that could easily be converted for a porn: My money is on Pirates of the Caribbean: On a Stranger's Thighs.