What Jenny's Reading

{June 24, 2017}   What Jenny’s Watching: Movie Review: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Went to see the new Pirates movie today.  And had some thoughts!

  1. Holy shit, this is dark. Right out of the gate, a kid committing suicide so he can see his dad?  I was really excited here, because this is some deep shit and I was hoping we’d be exploring it.  (Me from the future: ha ha ha!)
  2. Will is all Davy Jones’ed up, which is confusing, because I thought the whole barnacle thing was because Davy Jones broke his pact with Calypso to ferry souls to the beyond. But then he’s all worried about the rest of his crew finding out Henry was aboard, like you’re the fucking CAPTAIN, Will.  What the fuck is this bullshit?
  3. This is supposed to be two years after the end of At World’s End, or at least the bonus scene where Will came back after his ten years at sea. He looked fine then.  Why the starfishface?  I am so confused.
  4. I suppose we’re retconning the whole thing into a terrible curse.
  5. I mean, yeah. It was basically a curse, but it was also to save his life, and now everyone’s acting like that didn’t happen.  Or at least I feel like this is a retcon.
  6. Henry ends up back in his tiny boat, and then we jump another nine years, and Henry’s now an officer with the British Royal Navy, which I can’t fucking believe Elizabeth supported.
  7. Know what else I can’t believe? Where the FUCK is Elizabeth?
  8. But whatever, moving on, they’re about to sail into something called the Devil’s Triangle, and Henry freaks out and tries to warn his captain. His captain is an assmunch, however, so he convicts him of treason without even a court martial (seriously, fuck this guy and his lack of due process) and has him tossed into the brig.
  9. Henry fights pretty well, and I really, really wanted someone to ask who taught him, and for him to respond, “My mother.” What can I say, I love me some badass Elizabeth Swann.  But nobody does, because we can’t fucking acknowledge awesome characters from the past, because that would put a bit of a damper on the more mediocre characters of now, I guess.
  10. This kid isn’t really all that bad, honestly. He even looks enough like Orlando Bloom that I buy he’s their kid.
  11. Then, of course, they sail into the Devil’s Triangle, and Captain Assmunch and his crew are promptly murdered by a CGI’ed version of Javier Bardem and his CGI crew. Ha, that’s what you get!
  12. CGI Bardem heads down to the brig, and chats with Henry about Jack Sparrow, because for some reason there are about a billion wanted posters of Jack Sparrow down there. He leaves Henry alive to tell the tale, and gives him a message for Jack about his magic compass.  Javier Bardem is a better actor than this role deserved, honestly.  This CGI looks so shitty when you compare it to the undead pirates from Curse of the Black Pearl, and that movie came out fourteen years ago.
  13. Jesus Fucking Christ, I feel old.
  14. Anyway! Now we meet Carina Smyth, a lady condemned to die because she’s a witch, except she’s actually a scientist, and she picks the lock on her cell and punches the priest there to give her Last Rites.  I’d say that’s rude, but really, fuck that guy.  Keep being awesome, Carina!
  15. So she runs through the town, escaping. This is supposed to be in St. Martin, which I was told by someone I went with looks nothing like St. Martin.  I think this was filmed in Australia, not in the Caribbean.
  16. The town is dedicating a special bank, with an impenetrable vault. They talk and talk about how the vault is so awesome and nobody will ever get into it, for sure, and obviously Jack is snoozing in the vault, we all know this, right?
  17. God, I wish they’d stop trying to top his entrance in Curse of the Black Pearl. I get it, but it isn’t going to happen.
  18. At this point I should mention I’m pretty sure that Jack’s extreme drunkenness was added in as a thing in post because Johnny Depp was apparently drunk the whole time he was filming this. I know he’s an actor and Jack Sparrow is always drinking rum, but it seemed way too real.
  19. Maybe that’s why we haven’t seen more of Will? And again I ask, where the fuck is Elizabeth, anyway?
  21. Okay, calming down. Jack’s crew drag the whole bank through the town (just suspend your disbelief that the horses wouldn’t have dropped dead), and he runs into Carina, who he is a jerk to, but they both manage to escape separately.
  22. Oh, and Carina also wanders into an astronomer’s shop (I think), and fixes the guy’s telescope. He tries to shoot her, because this movie could’ve been subtitled “Yeah Right There’s No Patriarchy.”
  23. So Jack pratfalls into an escape, and it’s funny and the action sequence is good, but it all seems like a copy of something better we’ve already seen.
  24. But then! All the gold from the vault ended up on the streets of St. Martin, so Jack’s crew deserts him because he’s down on his luck and doesn’t even have a real ship.
  25. Even Gibbs! I think that was the most emotional resonance I felt the during most of the movie, Gibbs walking away from Jack.
  26. So Jack wanders through St. Martin and ends up covered in mud in a literal pigsty, and trades his magic compass for a bottle of rum.
  27. Oh, this was a little funny: the wanted posters are all over the bar, and the bounty was crossed out to be steadily lower until it was like a dollar or something. That did make me laugh.
  28. When he trades it, the whole bar shakes, and we see the Devil’s Triangle breaking up. CGI Bardem and his crew have escaped, but are still creepy CGI undead.
  29. Jack wanders away and someone shoots his bottle of rum, and he’s captured and immediately sentenced to hang at dawn, like what the FUCK was happening with the British and their due process?
  30. Whatever, the important part of this is that Henry’s nearby, and he hears them call Jack, Jack Sparrow.
  31. Wait, maybe something happened first? I think that Henry was in a medical ward, and some new Captain Assmunch declared he would be killed for treason because of his coat being ripped, I guess because coats never rip ever, and most especially not when someone’s involved in a massive shipwreck.
  32. Oh, and Carina was there too, disguised as a nun, and helps him escape, even though her totally logical and scientific mind thinks he’s crazy. She tells him about her map and the blood moon, and says she’ll help him find the Trident if he can secure a ship and a crew.
  33. Yes, that happened first. So then it’s the next morning, we have a totally unnecessary cameo by Paul McCartney nonsensically singing a Rod Stewart song, and then Jack and Carina are to be killed first thing.  Henry watches from a bell tower as Carina starts to lecture everyone (she is way less fun than Lizzie), and then swoops in and totally fucks up his rope swing.
  34. Oh, and sorry: he met Jack the night before, and Jack was pretty horrified to be confronted with a new Turner on a mission, and described Will as a “cursed eunuch” and wow I miss the easy back and forth between Johnny and Orlando. He also says lots of gross, inappropriate things about Henry’s mom, but funny enough, Henry’s mom never mentioned Jack!
  35. I find that hard to believe, but then, I also find it hard to believe that Elizabeth Swann, Pirate King, would just sit on her island and wait for Will rather than actively try to find a way to release him from the curse and bring him back.
  36. Or at least spend her time at sea, killing evil people, and slipping notes for Will into their pockets and occasionally drowning herself so she could see him. Henry had to have gotten that idea from somewhere.  I would’ve much rather seen that movie than what we ended up with.
  37. So anyway, back to what we have. Henry’s rope trick was a diversion, and Jack’s deserter crew comes to the rescue (because Henry paid them)!  It’s another action sequence and it’s fun and funny, and they all get away to Jack’s barely-a-ship, which they are thrilled to discover actually floats.
  38. It’s called the Dying Gull. The Black Pearl is still trapped in a bottle from the fourth movie that I refuse to even acknowledge because it was stupid.
  39. They set sail and trap Henry and Carina, who argue pointlessly. Jack then pretends to kill Henry to get Carina to admit she likes him, and also to tell them about the special map she has.
  40. I just don’t see the chemistry between these two kids. Or rather, I just don’t buy that they like each other that way.  In the first film, it was well established that Will had a big crush on Elizabeth, and probably had for years.  And Orlando Bloom played that puppy love so believably.  The whole “I’m in love with you” thing with these two who literally just met a day ago seems rushed and pretty cheap.
  41. Where was I? Oh, yeah.  Speaking of cheap, there’s an unfunny joke about Carina being a horologist.  She’s using a watch to calculate the position of the stars, which will lead them to the island where the Trident is.
  42. In the meantime, we catch up with Barbossa, who’s been living the good life as a pirate admiral. He finds out that Salazar is destroying his fleet, and then somehow they end up caught by him, and Barbossa makes a deal that he will give him Jack within two days.
  43. I’d have asked for longer, but whatever. Also, Barbossa somehow has Jack’s compass.
  44. They get up to the sunrise of the last day and still no Jack, so to buy some time Barbossa tricks Salazar into telling his tale: he was a Spanish navy guy or something, and spent his life killing pirates because a pirate killed his daddy. Then he had killed all the pirates, but it turned out that was wrong, because a young Jack was on a ship and tricked him into the Devil’s Triangle.
  45. I originally thought that young Jack was CGI’ed Johnny Depp, and it was creepy and distracting, but then my brother (one of the people I saw the movie with) said it was an actor made up to look like young Johnny Depp. I can’t find evidence of either online, but I’ll admit I didn’t look that hard.
  46. So Jack is called Jack Sparrow because he was in the lookout and looked like a little bird, and he got his compass from a dead guy on that same ship. After they tricked Salazar into the triangle, all the crewmembers gave him stuff, which turned out to be his accoutrements, like the hat and the jewelry and whatever.  Did we really need to know that?
  47. I mean, it’s not like it’s been a burning question for me since 2003. “Where did he get his hat???  I MUST KNOW!”
  48. Also, isn’t he wearing that hair thing he had to give up in the third movie to release Calypso?
  49. By the time Salazar is done telling this long ass story, they’ve found Jack’s ship.
  50. Jack’s tiny crew ends up mutinying because I think Jack told them to, and Carina, Henry, and Jack are on a tiny rowboat headed toward an island.
  51. I do like that Carina sees the ghosts and immediately accepts them, even though she’s freaking out that her whole scientific worldview has been shaken. I was afraid she’d keep trying to find logical explanations for the supernatural and that would’ve been very tiresome.
  52. Action sequence! They escape to the island and it turns out the ghost pirates can’t step on land or they turn into black mist.  So they’re safe, as long as they stay on land.
  53. Except they are idiots and get captured almost immediately. At first they think they’re to be hanged, but it turns out that some old frenemy of Jack’s is on the island, and forcing him to marry his “comically” ugly sister.
  54. Barbossa shows up, and kills the frenemy, then declares he wants to help Jack. I can’t remember why.  It doesn’t matter.  He uses Blackbeard’s broken sword and breaks the bottle the Black Pearl is in, and they have a new ship.
  55. Night sequence where we establish that Carina is Barbossa’s daughter. Oh, and she’s steering the ship because she’s got the compass.  She also expresses surprise when Barbossa tells her he knows about stars.  The man’s a sailor, Carina, how do you think he fucking navigates?
  56. So, wait a second. Why did they need the map if they had Jack’s compass?  I mean before, sure.  But with the compass, why do they have to read the map?  It’s supposed to lead you to whatever you want most, and for Carina, it’s the island.
  57. Jack and Barbossa have a somewhat stupid conversation about how “Smyth” is an uncommon name, and pull the other one, writers. I think Jack might be tied up during this too?  This was to establish that Jack knows Carina is Barbossa’s daughter, but they could’ve done it in a less stupid way.
  58. They make it to the island, which is actually very cool – it’s supposedly a representation of the heavens, and the visual from above with them walking on it was awesome.
  59. They find where they are supposed to go, and when Carina puts the ruby from the diary in place, there’s a big boom and you know the island’s going to split in half, but these idiots don’t bother moving so of course Jack and Carina end up in the caves below.
  60. Oh, and Henry was captured by Salazar, and Salazar possesses Henry, which allows him to walk on land. This is dangerous, somehow, the crew tells him.
  61. Jack and Carina find the Trident, and are waylaid by Salazar-in-Henry (Senry?). They fight, and then Senry gets the Trident and also gets depossessed.
  62. Another action sequence, which ends with Henry and Carina breaking the Trident. Glad Henry did something useful, finally.  He’s clearly more like Will than Elizabeth.
  63. That was a little joke I just made, by the way.
  64. Then the Pearl is on the edge of the ocean between the divide, and the anchor chain is dangling down to help them up. Barbossa’s riding the anchor (…sorry) and I honestly thought it was Cotton at first.  So he scoops up Henry, Jack, and Carina, and then Salazar, who is human now, catches a ride.  They all climb, and Carina finds out that Barbossa is her father, and then he falls to his death and takes Salazar with him in order to save her.
  65. I laughed so hard in the theater, you guys. He just sort of drifted down to the ocean.  Seriously, that fall to his death took for fucking ever.  GEOFFREY RUSH DESERVED A LESS STUPID DEATH THAN THIS.
  66. Alrighty! They get aboard the ship, and Jack, wingman extraordinaire, hands Henry Carina’s map diary so he can give it back to her.  They chat and I guess are in love (boring) and Carina says her last name is Barbossa, now, because fuck her mom.
  67. Eh, I guess it’s touching?
  68. Okay, they go back to what I assume is Shipwreck Island, and meet a de-cursed Will, who hugs Henry and meets Carina. Henry wants to tell him the story, and Will is excited to hear it, till Elizabeth just fucking appears over a hillside.
  69. She’s dressed weird, too. Like a lady, with the fancy skirts and the hair and so forth.  Why?
  70. Will sees her, she sees him, and they run to each other and embrace, and he kisses her for what’s probably the first time in fifteen years.
  71. I’m not crying shut up you’re crying! THIS IS THE MOVIE I PAID TO SEE!
  72. It would’ve been better if Elizabeth had gone on the search party with them, though. I refuse to believe she just sat there and waited!
  73. Also I’m surprised there was no scene between Elizabeth, Will, and Jack. They parted mostly friends.
  74. The only way any of this works for me is if Keira and Orlando both saw what a hot mess Depp’s been in the last few years, and said, “Eh, no thanks” to filming with him.
  75. The movie ends with Jack on the deck of the Black Pearl, watching Will and Elizabeth through his spyglass. He makes a joke about love and then they make sail for their next destination, which is probably whatever the next movie is going to be.
  76. Overall, it wasn’t a terrible movie. When compared to the rest of the franchise it was pretty weak, but as a standalone it was fun.  It’s difficult to divorce Depp’s behavior from his character, so that kind of killed it for me.  As I’ve said more than once, I really wish we’d gotten more Elizabeth.  She didn’t have to be a main character, but not having her there really took me out of the story, because as her character was previously established, she wouldn’t have sat this out.  You can argue that time and motherhood and blah blah blah, but we weren’t told any of that.  It was like she barely existed at all until the end there.
  77. Well, that’s it for me. I’m off to watch the original trio and remember a time when I still liked Johnny Depp.

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