Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt are highly watchable, but Disney’s latest theme-park movie trails haplessly in the wake of Pirates of the Caribbean without a ghost of its inspiration.
Even skeptics of the franchise must admit, I think, that the Pirates of the Caribbean films have generally aimed higher and been smarter than might have been expected.
Despite the villainous full-court press, Batman’s victory is so assured that no one is even worried about it. Clearly, something subversive has to happen to kick things out of superhero-movie business as usual and challenge Batman to his core. Would you believe … a giant swirling energy portal in the sky?
This may be the first movie I’ve ever seen where I got more out of reading the Wikipedia entry afterwards.
If Michael Bay can take 165 minutes for his latest Transformers movie, I can take two minutes to review it.
Here is something I didn’t see coming: The freshest, most unique animated family film from any Hollywood studio in well over a year is … based on a line of brightly colored plastic construction blocks and assorted accessories. I’m not kidding!
Wreck-It Ralph in 60 seconds: my “Reel Faith” review.
Battleship in 60 seconds: My “Reel Faith” review.
Like the title phrase, which is recognizably English and yet obviously wrong, Dark of the Moon offers just enough vestiges of grammatical intelligibility to be recognizable as a bloated, steroid-inflamed simulacrum of a mindless summer blockbuster action movie. I almost think it would be better, or at least it would hurt less, if it were a bit more incomprehensible, although I’m told that its predecessor, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, actually was, and it didn’t help.
Was Catholic novelist Tim Powers’ 1987 historical fantasy-adventure novel On Stranger Tides in some way the inspiration, or an inspiration, not only for this fourth Pirates of the Caribbean flick, but for the whole franchise?
Are there five less inspiring words in the English language than “based on a video game”?
If Dead Man’s Chest was inspiration gone amok, At World’s End is more — much, much, much more — of the same, only without the inspiration. In every respect it outdoes its predecessor, except in charm, entertainment and fun. Add Pirates of the Caribbean to the roster of franchises foundering on the rocks the third time out.
The Raiders comparison is more apt here than in the original, where the swordplay and such was more energetic and well-done than inspired. The sequel takes the slapstick swashbuckling to a completely new level, evoking the ingenuity and physical comedy of a Buster Keaton or Jackie Chan set piece, crossed with the Rube Goldberg logic of a Chuck Jones cartoon.
The most remarkable thing about Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is neither Johnny Depp’s mesmerizing performance, nor ILM’s literally eye-popping skeletal ghost-ship crew, but the sheer fact that the movie works at all.
Copyright © 2000– Steven D. Greydanus. All rights reserved.