Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
Last Friday, I went and saw PotC 3. I went with the hope that this would be the movie to redeem the second, that this would be the movie to restore my original pleasure in the first.
Not only did it fail to redeem the second, it made me like the first one less.
The movie wasn't all bad: I'm glad that they finally gave some space for Elizabeth characters that involved her doing more than fainting and yelling at the guys. Elizabeth kicks nine kinds of ass in this movie, and she is highly relevant to the plot, instead of motivation. Not to mention, the show passes the Mo Movie Measure right away, in a conversation between Tia Dalma and Elizabeth.
But, a cool opening fight scene and a kickass character does not a good movie make. Movies require this thing called a "coherant plot" and "character development" and "resolution".
This movie suffers from what I call "too much ideas, not enough follow through". Since we have all seen the second movie, (or you better, or else this movie will make NO sense to you), we know the movie has to accomplish a few tasks: Jack Sparrow must be rescued, Will and Elizabeth need to be married, Will needs to save his father from Davy Jones, and Cutler Beckett needs to be stopped. This is complicated enough, but then they decide to throw in a few more objectives, like getting the Pirate Brethern together, and setting free the goddess Calypso.
To get all of these objectives together, they decide that they need to introduce 9 new characters. Rule of thumb people: 3 new characters per sequel. Any more and you get characters that are motivation and extras, not characters of themselves. If you name them, they better have some defining characteristics, and it better be more than "pirate lady" or "has a high pitched voice". Also, do NOT introduce a character just to kill them off, like they did with Seo and to a lesser degree, to James Norrington and Governor Swan. A vivid world is created through the character: suspension of disbelief is easier when the characters all have a purpose, and a personality. In a movie, death and birth better be damned relevant, or it just pisses me off.
Now, as much as I like what they did with Elizabeth's character, is how much I hated for what they did to Jack's. Jack has always been a little crazy, a little weird, a little cowardly, and plenty greedy. But, he was never supposed to be a villian. Jack has gotten increasingly unsympathetic, because he doesn't ever seem to have any drive to do good. In the first one, you knew he was in it for himself, but he always seemed to make sure that no one else got screwed over in the process (that didn't deserve it). I also thought that the multiple Jacks was unnecessary. I realize that his internal dialogue would have been harder to do without little Jacks, but I thought it made the visuals weird. We did fine before with Jack acting oddly, I thought it did better when we were like the crew, looking at him wobble around.
Finally, the resolution was ultimately unsatisfying to me. It's a third movie in a trilogy, that means a happy resolution. At best, I this was a nuetral resolution. The good that all happened was negative good: Beckett was destroyed. But Jack didn't have the Pearl, and the couple wasn't happily together, and too many people that didn't deserve to die did. I know that the sequel rule dictates that since this had enough projected gross (that it made) there needed to be a cliffhanger ending so that they can make a sequel, but this pissed me off none-the-less. There should have never been a second, much less a third, PotC movie. The story was complete after the first one, the following ones were just an excuse to make money.
No more Pirate movies for me. There is next to nothing they could do to make this better.