Saturday, May 26, 2007

Do I Smell A Turd?

Me thinks I do.

Me thinks he smells it too...

A 200+ million opening weekend stinker mind you, but a turd is still a turd.

From Creative Screenwriting Magazine:

Plot and logic holes and a lack of humor (not to mention just plain fun) leaves Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, the last chapter of Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio's swashbuckling trilogy, dead in the water.

In terms of deficiencies, At World's End bares a strong resemblance to its predecessor Dead Man's Chest. Both are grossly bloated (with this film coming just short of three hours), leave too many plot threads dangling as the credits roll, and feature so many hidden agendas for each character that it's the audience that ends up feeling double-crossed. However, the two also share one large difference: Dead Man's Chest, for all its faults, was fun. The same can't be said for the closing chapter of this trilogy, which ominously begins with a child being hanged before venturing into even darker territory that feels completely out of place in this once-enjoyable franchise.

What's most surprising about the decline of the trilogy is that its architects, screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, are extremely talented and are arguably the masters of that difficult-to-nail genre of all-ages adventure films, with an amazing array of blockbusters and critical faves under their belt (Aladdin, The Mask of Zorro, Shrek, and of course the first Pirates film to name but a few). But after crafting the clever, breezy Curse of the Black Pearl, it feels like the writers wanted to insert as many plot threads into parts two and three as they could come up with.

It's not as if there are a lot of bad ideas in At World's End, but rather there are far too many mediocre ones that never seem to lead anywhere. If Elliott and Rossio end up setting sail for a fourth adventure, the writers (as well as ├╝ber-producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski) could do with this advice: keep the characters together.

In the previous film, separation was an acceptable idea, with the characters each having to go on their own journey alone. But in At World's End, where pirates across the world are supposed to be uniting against a common enemy, Elizabeth, Will and Jack all continue to have their own agendas to push. We are blessed with three actors who have an undeniable chemistry between them, but by the time the story bands them together, it is far too little too late.

Personally, I never really got the Pirates phenom - the first two films were laden down with some of the laziest storytelling I've ever seen (for movies that were touted as being pretty good).

And I'm not being a popcorn movie snob...hey, bring 'em on. But spectacle aside, in the first two (and from what I've read about the third), there was a whack of tightening and trimming that could've occurred, not to mention some basic logic and clarity and decent twisty turny applied.

But what do I know..."stares wistfully at Elliott and Rossio and Verbinski and Bruckheimer lounging on their personal yachts"...


RixelStudios said...

chalk the phenomenon up to a) the romanticism of a semi-good guy living outside the law to (ultimately, at least in the movie sense) do good, and b) the average viewer loving spectacle. For all intensive purposes, yeah the movies could've been tightened up a lot, and they are definetely not cream of the crop. But they have spectacle and an average plot. Spectacle, as we know it, is almost enough to sell a movie on its own (look at movies like XXX with Vin Diesel, for example). Throw in the semblance of a decent story and you can hook the average movie-goer easily. Maybe not you, myself or other people who make regular reading of your blog, but to the average movie-goer, sure. Plus take into account that it can keep kids ages 5 - 10 quiet for 3 hours straight without violence, sex or nudity.. what parent wouldn't enjoy a movie like that?

Personally, in terms of escapism, I enjoyed the first movie and most of the second one. However, when it got to the end of the second the film felt like it was trying to fulfill a "must have 3 movies" contract obligation by leaving the audience on such a poorly designed cliffhanger. But, hey, to each their own [opinion] right?

Anonymous said...

they all took their millions and laughed to the bank knowing people would eat it up regardless

Emily Blake said...

I think the main appeal of the films was the character of Jack Sparrow. His introduction was one of the best character intros ever, and Johnny Depp played him absolutely brilliantly.

But in the second film we already know Jack Sparrow, so his quirkiness alone wasn't enough to carry the story. We were no longer pleased at his behavior because we've seen it before.

Haven't seen the new one yet but I'm about to tonight.

CAROLINE said...

The second movie was basically a two and a half hour trailer for the third movie, which was kind of frustrating.
I'll probably go see it the theatre, but not this weekend.