“Time was when me and my peeps would go to midnight movie premiers week after week. Some summers, the majority of my numerous hours spent at the movie theater were at ungodly times. I think it started with X-Men 3, but there’s a long list of ’em that I can recall midnighting: Pirates 2 and 3, Star Trek, The Simpsons, Bourne Ultimatum, Transformers 1 and 2, Terminator Salvation. But then, they dropped off somewhere along the way. For that very reason, I managed to get myself elected as Social Comm for my theatre group, specifically to bring back midnight movies (and other long lost social fun).
Except for the last two HP’s that were just my roomie and I, it’d been a while since the last midnight premier. So I ridiculously overplanned it. Bought a group of tickets days in advance, showed up an hour early to save seats, opted for the 2D showing in the big auditorium instead of the 3D in a smaller one, prepared to exchange ticket stubs in the bathroom for people assigned to a different room. Yeah none of that was needed. The movie was playing in four auditoriums that were nowhere near capacity. Still, I managed a group of about 10 or so, taking up the front row behind the bar of the big auditorium. Much fun was had by all. I think that makes my first official event as Social Comm a win.
Okay, well what about the movie itself? First, I should mention that the atmosphere of a midnight movie kinda changes your perception of the film. It has bigger hype, with more friends and fun. But when its so late, even with taking a nap after work, you’re falling asleep and unless it’s amazing beyond all reason, you just want it to be \m/ over. Right so, overall impression of Pirates, a very enthusiastic meh.
The movie was fun and entertaining, as we’ve come to expect from the franchise. But that’s exactly the problem. It’s all so expected at this point. What made the first film so brilliant was that no one knew Captain Jack Sparrow and his endless quirks. Johnny Depp just kept on pulling surprise after surprise. It was so shiny. But now, it takes a lot for him to catch us off guard. I’m not saying that he doesnt have his moments, but its just moments now. It’s not the nonstop magic that it used to be. (Last year, Iron Man had a similar issue).
The first noticable difference is the change up in the cast. I actually think that was a smart move. Yes Kiera Knightly and Orlando Bloom were an invaluable part of the franchise, but their story was concluded. Bringing them back would have been forced. Penelope Cruz is a fantastic actress who really is able to bring some new spark to play off Cap’n Jack. Also, it was kinda fun playing the game of trying to figure out the order scenes where shot in, based on the size of preggers Penelope’s boobs, or if her bottom half was even visible at all.
The structure of the story was a little off. I think that one lesson learned from 2 and 3 was to not overcomplicate things. Those two got tough to follow (although maybe its because I did first see them at such a late night hour). This one was more streamlined, but also a bit underdeveloped. It felt like some relationships and interactions were rushed, and never fully resolved or realized. Apparently, they’re planning it as another trilogy, which could explain some of it, but I dont take that as a valid excuse.
The plotline I was getting into was with the missionary Phillip, played by Sam Claflin and the mermaid Syrena, portrayed by Astrid Berges-Frisbey. They were fresh new characters that I enjoyed, but that’s one of the spots where the story could have been fleshed out better. I also dont know how I feel about the way mermaids were characterized in general. I’ll save the spoiler, by just saying it was odd. Ariel was definitely not amoung them.
I feel this is one of those that you’re already decided on whether or not you’re seeing (probably seeing it if you bothered to read this).
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – \m/ \m/ \m/