It came to my attention today that the teaser trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales was released, after such a long gap that I started to wonder if they were even going to make another sequel. But they are, and I was obliged to watch the trailer.
And I suppose that I should add that, when the movie is released, I will watch that too. Not because I want to. Not even because I think it looks good. But because when I was twelve years old, Pirates of the Caribbean swept into my life and stole my heart. And in the nine years that have passed since then, it really hasn’t let it go.
I still look fondly upon those years when I used to rim my eyes with layer upon layer of black eyeliner, pretending that I was Jack Sparrow.
When I would dress in stripes and in ruffles, or in anything that included a skull and crossbones sigil on it.
(Yes, I was a big nerd, let’s move on)
And to this day, I will still argue that the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie is a masterpiece of modern cinema. It truly is a magnificent movie: Geoffrey Rush as a threatening but entirely endearing villain, Johnny Depp while he was still at his prime, a plot that perfectly balanced whimsical with scary, romantic with serious. It is a story that I have returned to again and again since I was twelve years old, and I will continue to do so for the foreseen future.
Heck, I even enjoyed some of the sequels. Some. The second one, while stupid, was fun, and while I won’t defend it like I will the first, I still really enjoyed it. Even the third one had its moments of being a compelling adventure.
It was the fourth one that killed all hope for me.
I mean, I suppose it still wasn’t a bad movie. It just felt like it had been stretched much too far. The exit of two-thirds of the leading cast seemed to imply that everyone behind the scenes was just done with the series, and the plot felt forced.
I liked the mermaids though. They totally should have done mermaids earlier in the series, is all I’m saying.
But what about this movie? Movie number five, the one that can serve as either a turning point for a dead series or just another pointless film, made only because Johnny Depp signed a contract that he’s now probably regretting.
Well, it’s too early to say for sure, considering all I’ve seen at this point is a teaser trailer, but here are a few things that stood out to me:
- Zombie pirates. Haven’t we already done zombie pirates? Wasn’t that the focus of three separate movies? I suppose I shouldn’t complain, because 1) every time they’ve done zombie pirates in the past, it’s always been interesting and 2) the special effects looked really badass in the trailer. But it sort of goes back to what I mentioned about the mermaids: there is so much that you can do with the theme of fantastical pirate adventure! So many mythological creatures that can be explored, so many legends that they haven’t even touched on! The use of the mermaids in the fourth movie proved that: there is just so much that I’m surprised they haven’t utilized before. But instead, we get zombie pirates again. Whoop-de-doo.
- The villain already looks like a weenie. Do you remember Geoffrey Rush? Do you remember what he used to be like, back in the first movie? He was actually allowed to be scary! He was distant, calculating, intelligent, and while you still liked him because, come on, he’s Geoffrey Rush, he was a truly threatening villain. Even Davy Jones in the sequels was allowed to be interesting and complex. I may not think that they utilized the whole him-loving-Calypso storyline to its full potential, but at least the writers had ambition with him! At least he was intended to be a scary, powerful, cruel man who had this one endearing weakness. And, again, maybe I’m judging a bit too early on this new villain, this Captain Salazar fellow, but I have only one line to point to, one thing that he says that makes me hate him already: “Will you tell him that? Please?” Really, Disney? He doesn’t have to be funny, you know! You can have a villain who’s intimidating and still have it be a comedic, fun adventure! Really, you’ve done it before!
At this point, that’s really all I have to go on, but trust me when I say that I will be keeping an eye on this movie. Like I said, I will watch it when it comes out, because I have already sold my soul to Disney and they will do with it as they please, but all I have to say is that, at this point, I’m hesitant. I want this to be a good movie, I do, because it would be wonderful if I could have a great adventure move me the way that the first Pirates film moved an incredibly nerdy twelve-year-old girl, but I’m not yet convinced that this will be the one to do it.