I’ve been loving this sea saga for over ten years now. The first trilogy by Gore Verbinsky changed my life entirely. It was the invitation to the world of film and the breakthrough in my childhood life… As if I finally found my jam. Despite most of the people – I love the whole trilogy. I don’t see why there’s “too many useless comedy pieces” in the Dead Man’s Chest or why At World’s End was boring. I might be missing the point why everyone else doesn’t feel the same way. But well, opinions, opinions.
So let’s just leave my beloved trilogy be and talk about the money in Hollywood. Apparently these days no one actually has their own ideas.
There’re plenty of prequels, sequels, reboots, adaptations and all that in progress or just released. However, I do agree there used to be this way forever, I feel like it’s happening way more ever since everyone wants to copy MCU’s success. Look, even Universal Studios is doing its own universe. I’ll talk about it more after The Mummy so let’s skip it for now.
Anyway, here it is, another Pirates of the Caribbean blockbuster, which shall be the money bringer, no matter how bad it is. It earned over 50 million $ more than the production budget (230 million $) only at the opening weekend.
It all goes down to the script. It was capital letters BAD. We got the classic cheesy story including the Poseidon trident and couple of people that look for it (for various reasons). Then, we have the bad guys, who are completely not connected with the plot goal, but they chase Jack Sparrow just because they chase Jack Sparrow just because revenge just because yes. All of the scenes are connected at random, most of them could be deleted. Almost anything there doesn’t fit or is simply put for sake of the humour. Unfortunately, this didn’t work out either. Most of it was an embarrassment for me. There were a few good ones, but I don’t remember them almost at all. That says a lot about it.
My major issues with the script contained also inaccuracy with the saga. They told completely different stories than the ones we had hinted previously. They changed the story behind Jack’s compass only to find a good reason for Salazar to hate Jack. The canon that was set in the first three films was completely irrelevant here. The only thing that mattered was to make the script somehow tied together. After an hour, I was so tired of it, I was constantly checking my watch. No regrets there.
Basically, every person there is one dimensional. They’re all focused on some reason that pushes them forward, but not necessarily gives them character. And even though we already know a few of them, especially Jack and Barbossa, they don’t seem to have any personality either. As if they had their characters deleted the after fourth part and started again as these 1D pawns. From my impression, the directors tried to dismantle this film from the whole universe to create something completely their own. They all focus so badly on the daddy issues, I kept wondering if it’s not saying anything about the writers. Even Jack has his father figure moment. Basically, if it wasn’t for the daddy issues, nothing would ever happen in there.
And I’m not even starting on what is happening in the end. The last 30 minutes is an accumulation of everything. We have bad guys, good guys, the curses, the ships, the fight and the search, literally the big bang. Meh.
Apart from the script and the (god help us) dialogues, the main thing that upset me was… Jack Sparrow. The writing of the character took away everything the fans of Jack held most dear. Especially his vibe. His quotes are so shallow, lacking at all the wit of him. He used to balance between a mad genius and crazy idiot. Here he’s just an idiot and an asshole. More of it – he is so annoying, I was happy about the scenes he wasn’t in. I never wanted Jack to be a comic relief or some sort of protagonist whose plot is the main focus. And I can’t forgive stripping him of his charm. This is something that makes me simply wish this film never existed. And well, let’s face it, Depp lost his boyish charm ages ago. There’s no way he’d return as the Jack we remember. I don’t believe he was actually trying. I watched over 40 films with Johnny and trust me, I know.
Speaking of characters, there aren’t many to whom you can relate to. We have young Henry Turner, son of Will and Elizabeth, who has a goal and doesn’t have a personality. From the very beginning he’s eager to find the trident, but apart from that, he’s nothing. He has no interests nor character apart from trying to clone Orlando’s kindness and innocence from the first film. He indeed has something from Orlando, but that’s just a thought. The lack of any emotions and points of personality is disturbing.
Another problem is the girl. At the beginning I thought, okay, so we got a woman of science, a girl who is considered a witch because she has knowledge forbidden to females. But she is so repetitive. We keep getting the same witch jokes, the exact same face with the exact same speeches: This is my legacy. This is what my father wanted me to do. This is why I’m searching for the trident. And I think I’ve heard such lines enough in my life. Most of them are revealed as some falsely believed crap, which gives it even less sense. Nonetheless, she’s better than Turner. She might have some character crawling under her skin, she’s brave and determined. That’s at least something.
By the way. There was one witch that looked so badass in the trailer. I hoped really much for a new Tia Dalma, who will bring a bit of darkness and mystery to it. Unfortunately, they decided to use her only as a plot device and she barely appears. And if so, she’s only used for the purposes of the plot, which is so damn visible. But she’s not the only one created this way. There’s also Faramir AKA Harold Meachum – David Wenham. He’s some kind of an English officer only to chase the pirates because they need to be chased at all cost. No one really cared about them chasing our protagonists. It was like… Let’s earn money. Quickly and painlessly.
Hector Barbossa is something. There’re a lot of people saying he was great throughout the film, but for me, he was trying, but not exactly getting anywhere. I’m not sure what to think of him. Sure, he was one of the highlights, but I wouldn’t say Geoffrey Rush made this film greater. For me, there was only one actor that actually tried to do something.
Javier Bardem. He literally saves Salazar from being a worse villain than any Marvel films’ ones. For a moment there, I realised if I were to cheer for anyone, it would be him. The script told us to hate him no matter what. There were scenes which should prove the audience how merciless and evil he is. The whole film just rubs it in your face. I can continue explaining his amount of dimensions (hint: it’s one), but it’s quite clear, I believe. The thing Bardem did was simply give him the soul. He had his rules and his creepy-villainous talk. It was just great. In the end, I had this second, wishing the different ending for him, but well. He was EVIL, right?
Okay, but there had to be something good, you’d say. There was. Let’s make a list, short one nonetheless:
a) The visuals. The CGI was decent. The film seemed real and impressive, even the young Jack looked better than in the trailer. All the makeup on Bardem’s crew was amazing. Apart from that slow motion shark. It is so terrible, I can’t even. Whoever invented that idea should be fired in the first place.
b) The monkey. Jack was great. It’s always great to watch her, she became the highlight and the symbol for me. Her acting was perfect, nothing against it. (Info: monkey’s name is Jack and it’s a male, but in reality, it’s a she)
c) The Black Pearl. I really hated the fact she was stuck in some bottle. However stupid it was, I’m glad she was there.
And that’s it.
Well, to be fair, there was one more. The ending. However illogical it seemed, I wept a little to see the reunion of my favourite characters, the pirates I always loved. It was so lovely. I think someone demanded it to be there, because it felt completely different to the whole thing.
I must admit, I did have more fun than at the previous one. But I think I need to rewatch it (oh dear lord) to confirm that for sure. After all, I watched the fourth film only once. And after that I hoped that was the end of this embarrassment. But now, after writing this, I’m not comparing these anymore. And I don’t believe I’ll see the next part in the cinema again (yes, there’re going to be more).
PS. There’s after credits scene which I’m not going to comment because it makes me think about the continuation of this. And I’m not ready to swallow it.