The first outing of Pirates was surprisingly enjoyable. Amusing, cool immortal pirates that go all skeleton in the moonlight, Johnny Depp stealing the show with his fantastically bizarre Captain Sparrow. For a summer blockbuster it wasn’t that bad. My only gripes were with some of the ‘acting’ and that it was a bit too long. This second edition isn’t as amusing, lacks the cool immortal pirates that go all skeleton in the moonlight, and Depp’s screen time is reduced. The acting is worse. And it’s 150 minutes long. One hundred and fifty minutes. Let me try and explain what those 150 minutes are like.
First off, the plot. This is the sort of thing that young children come up with when their imaginations go into hyper-drive and they start to make little sense and get a bit annoying. I can just imagine a small boy dictating the plot to Gore Verbinski: “and then the big squid monster crushes up the boat and everyone runs around and it gets crushed up, and then, and then the big squid monster crushes up another boat but they blast it away and it goes ‘eeeeerrrrr’ but then it comes back and crushes it up again, but they blowed it all up and it’s going ‘eeerrrrr’ and then, and then it comes back again and…” At this point you’d pat the boy on the head, softly enough to say that you appreciate his thoughts, but firmly enough to make him stop. What seems to have happened is they gave Gore $200million to make two of the bloody films. Two! There’s another one to come! What more could they possibly have to say with this, except have more scenes with no reason? Take the 20 minute segment on the cannibal island. What was the purpose of it? There was literally no purpose. None.
And then there’s the cast. I usually feel quite sorry for Orlando Bloom. He’s like the simpleton you can’t shout at. But really, come on. This guy’s getting paid to do this? In the first film he was wooden, but battled through. In this film it’s like he’s doing an impression of himself. It’s so bad it made me wonder if this was tongue-in-cheek acting. WHEN THE OWN-ER-LEY THING YOU CAN DO IS SAY EV-ER-REE-THING VE-REY CL-EER-LEY AND IN A VE-REY LOUD VOICE you have to wonder how much longer you can get away with it before someone twigs that you’re a bit crap. Keira Knightly… well, she’s on the same list that Scarlett Johansson’s on (see Hard Candy review). With her orange face, square jaw and smugness that just oozes from every pore. All you saw of her was her constant straining. Must…be…sexy… Must…squint…more…
And good old Depp, who should have saved us from this. He did it in the first one. But this one is so long, so arduous to watch, that he just can’t do it. He brings a few smiles, but they mean nothing through all the tears of pain. It looks like he’s having fun with the role. At least someone was.
Of course, there were a few breaks in the cloud. Some bits were quite funny, the designs of Davey Jones and his water-themed crew were pretty cool and well CGI-ed, and a couple of the action pieces (mostly involving things rolling with people in them) were quite interesting, though that interest wore off after the first ten minutes of the same action. It’s like Michael Bay had a hand in it. Michael: look it’s really cool. Audience: yes, we suppose. Michael: yeah, look, it’s still really cool. Audience: yes, it was pretty cool, but we’re a bit bored now. Michael: yeah! Audience: For the love of God stop!
The icing on the cake was, after 150 long, long minutes, there was no resolution. The film just stopped. That sort of trickery worked for Lord of the Rings, because those films had a weighty plot and were, you know, good. To have a crap film take up 150 minutes of my life with crap, and then end in a crap way without resolving anything. It’s just taking the piss. Don’t get me wrong – I was glad it finished. It was so sudden, though, I was left a little shell-shocked. It was like having some work-men use a pneumatic drill outside your bedroom window for 150 minutes, and then suddenly stop. With a start you realise what blissful silence sounds like, and then remember how torturous the last 150 minutes had been, and then hate those work-men with every fibre of your being.
Pirates doesn’t make CF0, surprisingly. It loses one point for having shit acting and a shit plot. It loses another for featuring Keira Knightly. And it loses another for having the cheek to ruin 150 minutes of my precious life. A Cinemafool first: Pirates makes CF-3. Bastards.