Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Over the years of writing reviews, I have often lamented the fact that studios, in pursuit of the easy box office dollar, let franchises linger on far too long.  I mean, really, did we need 12 Police Academies?


I wouldn’t mind the practice so much, if the studios would actually put some of the dollars they swindle out of us towards hiring good, inventive writers.  Yet, that would cut the bottom line too much.  So we end up with movies like Matrix Reloaded, Superman IV, and Pirates 4.

Gore Verbienski wrapped up his run with Pirates 3, and seemed to have the good sense to run away from the stacks of money Disney was offering him.  So in steps Rob Thomas, of Chicago fame.  Johnny Depp, forgetting what it was like to have roles that neither involved Tim Burton or Jack Sparrow, returns for a by-the-numbers performance.  Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightly had the good sense to stay away as well.

So I found myself in Gainesville evaluating hotels for a conference.  With time to kill, I went to see Pirates at the local Regal (shudder).  Of course the only option they had was in 3D, so I was stuck paying extra for a movie I wasn’t convinced about.  Interestingly, the theater has cell signals jammed inside – I guess that is one way to kill texting in movies.

The plot has something to do with Blackbeard and the Fountain of Youth – but we never really understood why any of it was important.  Throw in Penelope Cruz as this movie’s wench, and we are off and sailing.  The first half of the movie felt like I was watching someone playing a video game – all action, rube-goldberg machinations, and no story.  The second half had a love story forced in that could have been completely removed and not hurt the movie.  As a matter of fact, it might have made it a tighter, leaner movie.

3D was awful for this movie.  You lose brightness due to wearing glasses similar in design to sunglasses.  So combine that with a movie that has the second half occur at night, and well, you’re stuck relying on your auditory senses.

Of course, with the inflated 3D box office, Disney has already announced not 1, but 2 more Pirates to come – all with Mr. Depp.  At some point, the movie audience is going to have to tell Disney that this franchise golden goose is dead, gone, and decomposed.  The only way they stop making more is when we stop paying to see them.

My advice: matinee, if you have to; definitely save the money on the 3D.  Totally unnecessary…

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