I was 11 when I saw the first Pirates (not that one). It was like something I had never seen before. Johnny Depp’s character was enthralling with a performance that I will never forget. The skeleton pirates are still awesome and the action scenes quaint compared to today. I watched it over and over to the point I ruined the disk and it remains a cornerstone of my childhood. As for the sequels, I could care less.
Even when I was young I knew something was wrong. The reuse of jokes in Dead Man’s Chest irked me, like the writers could not come up with new material. The coffin gag was nice, but the rest of the jokes are recycled. The whole “anti-pirate” subplot was also irritating. The characters would not shut up about being pirates and hating pirates and I did not care. Thank god Bill Nigh was a cool Cthulhu monster.
It got worse in At World’s End with Beckett’s character executing people for sympathizing with pirates like they were hiding them in their attics. Are these guys 18th Century Nazis? Are pirates a repressed minority? “Sir, they’re singing.” First line in the whole film and I wanted to leave. Sadly I stayed in the theater and was happy when it came to end. Then On Stranger Tides came out, but I had the good sense to ignore it. I have no idea how it ties into Dead Men Tell No Tales and I do not care. Was it terrible or did it reignite some semblance of affinity for the Pirates series?
I cannot say because I did not see it…
No, for real, I stayed home and wrote this instead. Then I watched some Trigun, an old anime from back when Saturday nights were Adult Swim and not Toonami. After that, I started a new blog for my friend’s literary magazine Ghost Parachutes. I highly recommend checking out their flash fiction, written by some of Orlando’s best.
At first I was not planning on skipping Dead Men. As a critic, amateur or otherwise, you must contend with the possibility of seeing something terrible. Regardless of what I expected and my own experiences with the Pirates movies, I had to see it and report my findings.
Aside from the fact I do not get paid for this and are not under obligation to write a review, I decided to pass on Dead Men. What changed my mind was a Sneak Peek in the previews before I think Covenant or Guardians Vol. 2? I avoid preview clips like the plague and this one was playing right in front of me on the big screen. It showed a small chuck of the film that was not indicative of the whole, but it was confounding nonetheless.
For about two and a half minutes I was witness to the worst humor I have ever seen. It went beyond copying the last success and was downright bad. “Stop talking so the girl can undress.” “Why didn’t you stop talking?” “Your profession sounds like ‘whore’ so that’s a thing.” Jack Sparrow did some Jack Sparrow stuff. Then the “anti-pirate” element came up and that was it for me.
My mouth was agape, questioning how something this awkward and stilted was given life. Did Bruckheimer not learn from the past? Did he think because Stranger Tides was successful that he could do more of the same and reap equal profits? Why? Just because something makes a lot of money does not mean it is good. Does that make the Transformers movies great? If that is the case, I should just quit and stick with the old stuff. I am not one for post-modernism, but back in the day, people actually cared about the art of cinema.
My mom was kind enough to give me four AMC passes. My parents have been very great about supporting this hobby and I could not be more grateful. I owe them a lot and the last thing I want to do is use their generosity on a Pirates film. I have one ticket left and I will be using it on Wonder Woman instead. You can only trick me so many times before I get wise. I know this is not a proper review and I am probably wrong, but please avoid Dead Men Tell No Tales. Let this series die. It should never have been a series in the first place.
Also, skip Baywatch. It deserves failure because it is a remake… and Baywatch.