If it's crap ... We'll tell you
“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m sad knowing that the 2 ½ hours I spent watching this movie can never be taken back or un-done. There are so many other things I could have been doing instead of watching this fecal matter, such as reading a book, exercising, figuring out the meaning of life… or sleeping. All of these options would have been time much better spent. So where do I possibly begin? Nothing in the fourth “Pirates” movie makes any sense at all. It comes off like a fan-fiction story written by a 14 year old girl. You know the kind you see posted in blogs written by super-geek fans that wish a certain franchise wasn’t over? Like “Harry Potter 8: Little Potters”, a story about Harry Potter as a dad and all his stupid kids. Or “The Matrix Regurgitated” or something retarded like that. Think about it, was this movie REALLY necessary? Was this a story that NEEDED to be told? I’ll let you decide…but the answer is no. Say what you will about the first two sequels, but the story was wrapped up. Nothing more needed to be said about Captain Jack Sparrow. Despite the flaws of “Dead Man’s Chest” and “At World’s End”, they were still fun movies. Nothing about this fourth installment is fun at all. I think it’s pretty obvious at this point that Disney just keeps forcing out these movies because they make so much money. Let’s face it; this franchise is going to be whored out like a battered prostitute until it can’t be fucked anymore. Let me just say before I start this review that I am someone who enjoys “Dead Man’s Chest” and “At World’s End”. When the Spill crew gave “Stranger Tides” a Matinee I honestly was expecting it to be pretty good…nope. Now I have several different points I want to cover as to why this movie is terrible (and it is) so let’s begin shall we?
Sometimes you can tell how good a movie is going to be just by watching the beginning. Unfortunately that was the case with this film. I could tell this movie was going to be ridiculous within the first 15 minutes. So this is how the movie starts (major spoilers start here): Jack Sparrow is in London looking for a ship and a crew, and he tries to break Gibbs out of prison. They get caught and Jack gets taken before the king. The king tells Jack that he wants him to lead an exhibition to find the Fountain of Youth before the Spanish do. The king then brings in Barbossa, revealing him as an official member of the ROYAL NAVY, and then for no reason Jack tries to escape, leading to a chase scene. Ok, so a couple questions about this scene…Number 1, why did Jack have the sudden urge to try and escape? Wasn’t he looking for a ship and a crew? Wasn’t that the reason he was in London in the first place? And isn’t that EXACTLY what the king offered him if he agreed to lead this exhibition? SO WHY ESCAPE? It seems like the King is offering him exactly what he wants on a silver platter. Instead Jack does the exact opposite of what will help his plan and runs away, eventually getting himself captured and stuck on Black Beards ship against his will…nice going asshole. Now some of you might say that Jack escaped because he’s a pirate, and doesn’t do business with people like the king, but Jack has always been the type of character that takes situations into his own hands and makes them work for him. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to pretend to go along with the king’s plan, and then try to double cross him later? Ya know like maybe organize a mutiny, like he tried (unsuccessfully) on Black Beard’s ship later in the film? Now before I move on, how about this idea that Barbossa was able to just join the royal navy? What did he just walk in and ask for a job? He was a NOTORIOUS, pillaging, blood thirsty, traitorous, law breaking pirate remember? Wouldn’t he have just gotten arrested and hung on the spot? It was pretty much established in the first movie that that’s how pirates are always dealt with. Anyway, so once Jack gets away he almost gets shot by a royal soldier, but is conveniently saved by his dad “Captain Teague” played by Keith Richards, who then tells Jack all this important stuff about the Fountain of Youth. This brings me to my next point…How is it that Captain Teague knows so much about the fountain of youth? He seems to know an awful lot more about it then Jack, who at one point had a map and everything. Hey maybe he’s been there before, ya know because he’s like an old pirate who’s probably been on a lot of adventures over the years. Well no that’s not true, because Jack asks him in this scene if he’s been to the fountain of youth and he says no. SO HOW DOES HE KNOW ALL THIS? Did he read the script? Well the answer is simple really. The only reason Keith Richards is in this movie is so that the audience can go “oh look its Keith Richards!” He’s nothing more than a walking plot convenience, who shows up to explain stuff to the audience and then leave, serving no other purpose in the film. After he explains all this stuff to Jack he disappears just as quickly and conveniently as he came. Now this might seem like nit-picking, but I feel like it has to be said…Since when has Captain Teague been a ninja as well as a pirate? When we saw him in the third movie it took him like 5 minutes to enter the room. He was an old, slow moving pirate. Now in this movie he can appear and disappear like Batman. But that’s what the script needed him to do since he had no other purpose to serve so that’s what happened.
2. Magic, the Supernatural, and BULLSHIT
Now I don’t know if you’ve all noticed this, but with each “Pirates” movie there has been more and more supernatural shit going on in the plot, and it seems to get more farfetched with each movie. Let’s re-cap to jog your memories. “Curse of the Black Pearl”: cursed gold, and cursed pirates. “Dead Man’s Chest”: a magic heart that could beat on its own inside a chest without being attached to a body, fish people, a giant squid, and bringing Barbossa back from the dead. “At World’s End”: a journey to the land of the dead, a journey back from the land of the dead, bringing Jack back to life, having a sea goddess trapped in human form, releasing said goddess from human form, and having Will become immortal at the end. As farfetched as some of these things might sound, at least the original three “Pirate” films attempted to explain them in a way that made sense to a certain degree. With this fourth film, one of the things that pissed me off the most was that so much shit happens that the audience is just supposed to accept with no explanation at all. I honestly think that there were parts in this movie where even the writers didn’t know why or how things were happening. Now I can’t know this for sure, I wasn’t there, but here is an example of how I think a conversation between two of the writers might have gone:
Writer 1: Hey dave I see your working on the script there, can I take a look?
Writer 2: Sure why not
Writer 1: Oh…magic ropes, little shrunken ships in bottles…That’s cool I guess, but how?
Writer 2: I don’t know man, magic?
Writer 1: Yea that works let’s move on
Now that might have been a slight exaggeration but you get the point. Take Black Beard and his ship for example. It has magical ropes that can come to life and strangle people. They never say how this is possible, it just happens, and everyone on the ship just reacts normally to it like they see shit like that happen every day. Now it’s kind of implied that Black Beard’s sword is what controls the magic ropes, but all that does is raise more questions: Black Beard has a magic sword? Where did he get it? Is Black Beard himself magical and crafted the sword or did he get it from someone else? What, did a wizard give it to him? I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case…And how about the fact that Black Beards ship can SHOOT FIRE. This is supposed to be a “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie, not “Star Wars”. I was almost half expecting Black Beard’s ship to grow rocket jets and fly away at the end, given the ridiculous nature of everything else in this movie. Hey, magic right? Also, why are there ZOMBIES on this ship? Did these characters even NEED to be zombies in the first place? From what I can see, all they did was play the role of the big strong henchmen that did anything Black Beard said. Making them be zombies was stupid and unnecessary. How is it that these zombies even exist? I think they might have said at one point that Black Beard brought them back from the dead? Ok…does that sound stupid to anyone else? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I always thought Black Beard was just supposed to be a hard-ass, no mercy no fear pirate with zero compassion. But I guess now in this movie he’s a magical warlock voodoo man. What’s even worse is the so called “motive” this film gives as to why Black Beard wants to find the fountain of youth in the first place. Apparently, there was a prophecy that said Black Beard would be killed by a one legged man, and now Black Beard wants to find the fountain to prevent this from happening. WHAAAH? THAT was a prophecy? When was it told? By WHO?? But the film never answers these questions. The whole prophecy thing is brought up once for like two seconds and then it’s never mentioned again. Black Beard’s motive for finding the fountain should have been the same as Jack’s or any other power-hungry pirate for that matter: to have more power and continue on pirating forever. Instead we get this whole prophecy thing shoehorned in because the writers wanted more supernatural crap. You could have had THE SAME conclusion with Barbossa wanting revenge on Black Beard for the same reasons WITHOUT this whole idea of a prophecy. KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID. Stop making this story more convoluted then it needs to be.
3. Stupid Ass Retarded Love Story
Now this is where I’m going to piss off all the teenage fan girls of this series, but it has to be said. One of the things that I was actually looking forward to about this fourth “Pirates” movie was the fact that Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley weren’t in it. After seeing “On Stranger Tides” however, I take back all of that. I would rather have the love story between Will and Elizabeth any day over the rushed, forced, unbelievable love story that takes place between the priest and the mermaid. And don’t say I’m dumb for calling it unbelievable…I know the idea of a mermaid itself is unbelievable, I wasn’t born yesterday. What I mean when I say its unbelievable is that we don’t care about, or feel for either of these characters. They have like 3 scenes together and barely have any dialogue between each other at all…how are we supposed to believe that they’re in love? Typically a good love story is one where we get to know the characters, see them grow attached to each other and watch their chemistry develop throughout the story. This movie has none of that. This might also seem like nit-picking, but how the fuck did the priest KNOW what the mermaids name was? The only explanation that I could come up with is that he actually NAMED the mermaid. If that’s the case then that’s even more ridiculous then if he just happened to know her name. It takes away from the idea that they’re in love even more. Think about it, I named my dog, I named my cat, I named my fucking hamster, and I was never in love with them. The fact that the priest actually named this mermaid just makes it seem like he loves her as a pet, like a stray cat he found on the street or something. It’s pretty clear that the only reason the priest is even in this movie at all is because they needed a piece of eye-candy for the girls to replace Orlando Bloom, and everyone else in the movie is a creepy pirate that looks like death. That’s the same reason they forced this love story on the audience even though it was extremely unnecessary. They needed a selling point for the teenage girl audience that just eats that shit up. Well you’ve all been had.
4. Jack Sparrow
The last major point I want to touch on in this review is the main man… Jack Sparrow himself. His character is completely baffling to me and I don’t understand why he’s in this movie. Now I know what you’re all saying, “but you can’t have a Pirates of the Caribbean movie without Jack” right? Here’s the thing though, I agree with that completely, that’s one of the biggest reasons why this movie was so disappointing to me. Jack Sparrow was barely like his character in the previous films at all. You could have just written a new character in and the film would have been the same. I feel like the writers were aware of this as well, and that’s why we were constantly reminded as we watched this movie that this was Captain Jack Sparrow. SO many times in this movie Jack said a line to another character like “Don’t you know who I am?” or “There should be a captain in there somewhere”. WE GET IT, he’s Jack Sparrow. But beating us over the head with dialogue reminding us of that isn’t going to convince us. The point I’m trying to make is that throughout this whole movie Jack never REALLY expressed a desire to find the fountain of youth himself. He had like one line of dialogue in the beginning with Gibbs about it and that was it, and in that same conversation he even admitted that he tried finding it but gave up. Oh boy now I’m really on the edge of my seat… In the previous “Pirate” films Jack always had a motive that he was really working towards and it seemed like he always had a trick up sleeve to help him achieve it. I guess you can say that this happens when Jack and Barbossa team up at the end to trick Black Beard, but that doesn’t happen until two hours into the movie. By this point the audience is just ready for the movie to be over. In this movie Jack just seems like a guy who’s in the wrong place at the wrong time who’s just going through the motions. He gets STUCK on Black Beards ship AGAINST his will. It’s BLACK BEARD that really wants to find the fountain of youth, not Jack. Jack seems like he could really give a shit. What I’m trying to say is that the movie did a bad job at convincing me that Jack even really cared about finding the fountain of youth at all. If the main character doesn’t care about what’s going on in the story then why should we? Eh, I guess that’s all I have to say about this movie. I’m sure there’s more things wrong with it I could mention but I really don’t want to, just thinking about all of this is making my brain hurt. I’m gonna get drunk and watch something good like “The Godfather” and forget this ever happened.