"Gore always used to say 'Whatever you do, don't worry about it.
The performance will arrive on the screen and the creature will
be informed only by that which you perform in the first place'.
And 'It will all work out' and 'Trust me'... Then later when it did
all work out and I said to him, 'Well you always told me that it
was going to work out' and he said 'Yeah but I was lying'.
He said 'I had to tell you something'."
Bill Nighy (Davy Jones) on the wiles of director Gore Verbrinski
would you go to see the latest summer would-be billion dollar-making
blockbuster? To have fun? To be awed? To prove your bladder
can handle the almost three hour running time? Or to care
(I know that's out on a limb but someone has to say it)?
For me, it was the trailer. The trailer did exactly what
it was meant to do; present a mouth-watering glimpse at
the whole shebang and re-introduce some well loved characters
(well, just the one actually) and some jaw dropping visuals.
I was sold (as opposed to sold out).
this isn't me leading you down the rosy garden path to find
your neighbour's dog has made a swirly brown deposit at
the gate. It's hard to dislike such a romp executed with
such panache. But there is a feeling of (here comes the
poop) a cinematic curry night out. I now feel bloated beyond
comfort, full of sub-sub-plots, sub-plots, agendas, in-fighting,
revenge, betrayal, villains with the unlikely motivation
of securing a way to get tea - of all things - from one
continent to the next and so much swashbuckling that in
the end, awash with swash, I buckled. From one fifteen minute
stretch to the next (and there are almost twelve such segments)
I did not know what one character wanted clearly enough
except that Jack wanted what was best for him. Fair enough.
I just held on to Jack's dreads for the ride.
If Pirates 3 has a revelatory plus point,
it's giving surrealism a free reign and a mammoth budget.
Glimpses in the trailer showed us that Jack Sparrow's hell
dimension was an odd one, (you did know he was 'dead', didn't
you, not that this means much in these sorts of movies)
perhaps odder than Jennifer Lopez's dream journeys in the
splendidly gruesome The Cell. But I wasn't
prepared for the perfection of the imagery and the downright
Dali slant to the whole experience. Yes, there are multiple
Jacks (I suppose any vane, selfish egoist would be surrounded
by doppelgangers in any kind of punishing afterlife) and
it's amusing but what's really impressive is the internal
logic of this hell dimension. The imagery works and never
jars. You never say "why are those stones actually
crabs?" You just go with the whole sandy flow of it.
Maybe Depp's central Sparrow grounds us in humour so we
don't notice that Salvador himself has just half-inched
a quarter of a Jerry Bruckheimer picture. That's quite a
coup and all power to Verbinski for pulling it off.
can forgive a lot of internal logic self-combusting in a
hell dimension but once he and his gallant saviours are
out, (in the real world, ha!) the fantasy reigns take hold
of the beast and Dali leaves the building and random surreality
clocks in as if it had been at a night job and reported
to work the next morning too tired to actually make any
even surreal sense. A shame. After that weirdly engrossing
hour, Pirates 3 descends into a 'who wants
what and what are they prepared to do to get it' movie.
That's usually not a problem but there are at least five
main characters who are all seeking what's best for them
and what's best for them is confusing to folk like me. But
hell, hurrah for Hollywood! Even stymied by logic and motivation,
there's still enough on show to go 'Wow!' at.
is no question in my mind that the craftsmanship, talent
and back breaking composite work on Pirates of the
Caribbean: At World's End is not only world class,
it's probably the best I have seen. The character performances
under layers of latex, motion capture blobs and prosthetics
are first rate (if they have been rendered faithfully by
their digital enhancement – see the quote above).
With only a massive whirlpool and waterfall as stand out
digital creations (for none exists in the real world), the
reality summoned up by the effects department is breathtaking.
If Pirates 1 had hit our screens thirty
years ago, it would have been hailed as greater than 2001
in terms of its faked reality. That's progress for you,
those dinky little motherboards and baby silicon chips.
Look how they've grown. So that's a big box ticked as we
all knew it would be if we'd seen the first two piratical
(rendered in multiple versions in his afterlife) is still
the maypole around which plot and peripheral characters
dance. His Captain Jack Sparrow maintains his fascination
(I was secretly afraid I'd be bored with him by number three)
and the character gets a meaty payoff with his oft courted
inspiration Keith Richards finally agreeing to turn up in
a turn as Sparrow's father. Richards is a good actor too
which for once gives celebrity casting a good name. He even
gets to strum a guitar. The romance between Will and Elizabeth
is on rocky ground with each hiding secrets from each other
until their making up late in the movie's climax. But that's
OK. Bloom and Knightley do their jobs well enough (note
to co-stars, burn brighter than Depp and you get a medal
or a hosepipe trained on you). The nicest conceit of the
climax is that true love prevails but wedding vows need
to be exchanged urgently because there are a lot of swords
flashing. The erroneous cliché of a captain being
able to marry on board ship is brought to the fore and despite
the silliness the scene works in an almost whimsical and
endearing way. I grinned like a village idiot. Bill Nighy's
Davy Jones, all tentacles and no heart (it's in the box!),
gets to display a little depth in this outing and even gets
to act sans CG for a brief moment.
this is a summer candy floss picture writ larger than almost
any movie I can remember. You either say "OK!"
and dive into the rollercoaster or you mutter "What's
going on?" I was in the middle of those two fairground
trains of thought so can safely and honestly say it was
not a waste of three hours of my life but neither was it
as charming as the first and as utterly ridiculous as the
second. Of course, movies like this do not make huge fortunes
and close doors after themselves. The door was left wide
open for a further sequel but Bruckheimer has stated that
if there was a Pirates 4 it would have
to be very different to those that preceded it. Well, that's
a given. Add up the fees of the now established cast and
before a frame is shot, you're looking at an acting budget
of about eighty million...
then how much is Captain Jack Sparrow chasing the elixir
of eternal life actually worth? To Disney? Too much to resist,