Archive for November, 2011

review: Pirates of the Caribbean 4

Although I didn’t like the second movie and I hated the third one, I (finally) saw the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean hoping only to not hate it. Well, I’m glad to report that I actually liked this movie: it’s now my second favorite of the series. My thoughts about it, in random order…

* According to articles I’d read while movie #4 was in the works, the goal was to make the film more like the first one, and I’d say that was accomplished. In a twist on the revenge plot, Barbossa sought revenge on Blackbeard for his lost limb. In another twist, Angelica was the one with a hidden agenda, tricking people into participating in her plan.

* One reviewer said that he was disappointed that there wasn’t even a name-drop of Will Turner and Elizabeth, and at first I agreed, but on second thought, I think it was right to leave them out. This is a new story.

* I loved that Angelica was a strong character, and by no means a damsel. She could hold her own in a fight whether of swords or wits, and she definitely had a mind of her own. But we also got a glimpse of her tender side in her (sadly unrequited) devotion to the father she never knew. I even liked that she got to be the “enigmatic” one with a hidden agenda; when she first told Jack that the ritual required a victim, I was sure that she’d brought him along to play that part.

* Having said that, I thought Angelica’s attempts at not getting left on the island were pretty pathetic. (Although, it did set the stage for his comeback, “I don’t think I’ve ever been *that* drunk,” at her claim she was pregnant with his child: one of the best lines of the series.) He seems to have a keen intuition when it comes to reading people, and her in particular. I don’t think anything she could’ve said would’ve made him change his mind, and I’m a little disappointed that she didn’t see that, and instead, carried on so desperately.

* Her anger raises an interesting question: was Jack wrong to trick Blackbeard into drinking from the deadly cup? Angelica wanted her father to live, and she was willing to sacrifice herself to make that happen. Despite that, I think Jack did the right thing: as he said, he merely helped Blackbeard do what any father should do: save his child.

* I do think that Jack had feelings for Angelica: he even admitted as much to Gibbs. I also think that such feelings scared him. However, I like that he wasn’t mushy with her; that wouldn’t have fit his character.

* Probably my favorite exchange was when one of Blackbeard’s crew was speaking ominously about the mermaids, explaining how they drag a man to the bottom of the sea, have their way with him, and then eat the flesh from his bones. Trying to contribute to the sinister scene being described, another of the crew pipes up, “Or sometimes the other way around!” 😄

* One of my favorite scenes was when Jack said that he was the one on watch, to try to spare the one who really was. This really shows a lot about Jack’s character. Some might argue that he knew Blackbeard wouldn’t have killed him because he needed Jack to take him to the fountain. I’m not so sure. This was right after BB said he had to kill someone, or people forget who he is. Jack didn’t hesitate in answering, as if he was trying to force BB to make an example of him.

* It also showed Jack’s character how he lost interest in the fountain when he learned that the highly-hyped ritual required the life of a victim.

* Loved the development of the relationship between Syrena and Philip. I thought it was unexpected, and it was nicely understated: small in comparison to everything that was going on, but monumental in its own right. They are two kindred spirits, finding each other while unwitting participants in someone else’s pursuits. (I loved how Phillip knew her name: I can picture them talking, whispering as he carried her along, him offering words of comfort.)

* Giving Syrena legs on land was a great way to save money on a computer-generated fishtail. More than that it painted a visual picture of how this one that Blackbeard deemed “monster” could pass as human. Certainly, Syrena showed more humanity than the selfish Blackbeard.

* I liked that when it appeared that the mermaids were going to flee into the net trap, they still had other tricks up their sleeves… so to speak.

* Really? Blackbeard ZOMBIE-FIED his taskmasters?? :cough: lame! :cough: