There are two ways to look at the new ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movie. One is that it’s another unoriginal and lazily written sequel that is just cashing in on a franchise name for money. The other is that it’s mostly a technically proficient blockbuster that delivers nothing new, but brings back characters and things audiences have enjoyed in the past in hopes they’ll enjoy it again. Both are technically true. The question is which part of that combo stands out more for you.
I have personally enjoyed all of the ‘Pirates’ movies in some way. I’ve never been enthralled by them, but I watched the first trilogy a lot because my son thought it was the coolest thing when he was little. He actually watched the first one when he was two and was hooked. I know that most people enjoyed the first movie the best, but I’m actually a big fan of the third movie. It’s a messy film that fully embraces its nuttiness and goes all out epic.
The latest ‘Pirates’ possesses some of the over the top shenanigans that audiences have come to love, but with half the energy that used to come jumping off the screen. For instance, there is a huge action scene early on where Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp phoning it in here) is racing through a city while his band of pirates drags an entire building through town. It is a wonderfully fun sequence that is almost killed by Depp’s lazy performance. It’s not that he is not Jack Sparrow, but he comes off bored with the material.
It’s not always this way. There are several jokes and a set piece near the end where Depp delivers the goods, but mostly he just cracks a few jokes and acts like Captain Jack. Which is quite a stretch from the fresh feel his Oscar nominated character once had. This is the biggest problem with this movie. Yes, it has a poor script, but there’s enough fun to be had that you might get over the films stupidity. The big problem is Depp himself. Without his Jack Sparrow in full gear we are stuck with a couple of kids with daddy issues. Neither of which are particularly interesting.
Still, the moves along consistently enough that you won’t be bored and some of the jokes stick. I doubt I’ll ever watch the movie again, but I’m not unhappy that I sat through it. I might feel different if I’d spent the money it would have cost to take my son to see it. I can’t possibly know because I saw the film for free. Which is close to how I think you should see it. If you have to run out this weekend to the theater then it’s no big deal, but I’d suggest waiting for the dollar theater or Redbox. You won’t be missing anything.
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