(2006) dir. Gore Verbinski
viewed: 08/05/06 at Odeon Derby, Derby, UK
I haven’t seen a film in England in five years or more, I reckon. Not that it’s a particularly different experience from the states. Years ago, the UK was the first place that I ever saw commercials in the cinema prior to the film, though that has become annoyingly ubiquitous in the US since then. In the UK, nowadays, it’s a bit mad. They have like 10-15 minutes of advertising, and it’s bad advertising too. That seems to be the main difference. They used to have these women come through and sell candies from their carried carts. Not this time. This cinema only showed Hollywood fare with one Indian exception. It was like being anywhere in the United States, really. Except the money is worth twice as much and so it’s all a little more painful.
But I was there to see the big summer movie anyways, so I guess it didn’t matter. I’d not seen the “original” Pirates movie on the big screen, I think because I had a small child at the time. It had been a surprisingly fun film, as many had said and enjoyed, and though I had heard mixed things over this latest installment, it was a pretty safe bet for a fun time out.
And it is. It’s jolly good. A little long, sure, but a rollicking adventure with very nicely designed villains, all zombie-fied but with lots of oceanic impressions on them. Davy Jones, the octopus-headed evil villain, is very cool-looking. Always something to be striven for in design.
The set pieces are also good, from the rolling water wheel to the Kraken, it’s all a lot of good fun. Johnny Depp is back in brilliant form, redeeming an otherwise mediocre script with his campy flourishes to his Captain Jack Sparrow. He seems to bring the right level of humor and goofiness to the character, all while treading the line between a morally confused yet ultimately swashbuckling fop of a hero. His kudos are well-earned here again.
For all he does well, Keira Knightley does awfully. She doesn’t have a lot to work with script-wise or personality wise, but she’s pretty darn lame when it comes down to it. Orlando Bloom is okay but Johnny Depp is the one with the juicy role and seems to be the only one who knows what to do with it anyways.
Like I’ll often say, It’s not Shakespeare, but what the hell. This is probably the best summer movie that Hollywood has to offer this year, and while the competition for that title is awful thin this year, the film rightfully earns that. We all know that there is a sequel in the wings next summer and I can say that I am certainly looking forward to it if they can make it as fun as this one.
Let’s face it, how many movies based on a theme ride can one say that about? Oh, but I think it sucks that they have modified the ride to include the characters from the film. It was perfect before!