As far as trilogies go, Pirates of the Caribbean started out strong, but finished with a whimper. The promise of Curse of the Black Pearl shouldn’t be ignored, with great characterizations provided by Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush, but in the end, the lackluster love affair of Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth Swann and Orlando Bloom’s Will Turner did the trilogy a disservice. While other great trilogies had the drama and sauce of a Han-Leia-Luke triangle (yes, I’m ignoring the “first” three movies of the series) or the star-struck misery of the Aragorn-Eowyn-Arwen geometry, Pirates III falls flat.
The film’s plot seems to have three main goals when it begins: save Will’s father, Bootstrap; stop Lord Beckett from ending piracy; and save Captain Jack Sparrow from Davy Jones’ Locker. Along the way, there’s some nonsense about a pirate board meeting that contributed to the rather “bored” feeling that much of the audience seemed to share with me; the lovers in question spit and spat and don’t ever really show why we should care whether they’re together or not; and Johnny Depp proves to have run out of funny things to say and do. Chow Yun-Fat as Feng, pirate lord of Singapore has a presence, but Keith Richards as Jack’s father is a throwaway thanks to Depp’s devotion. I saw something in an interview with George Clooney about Ocean’s Twelve, and how they’d gotten too big for their britches, thinking their sheer star power could make the movie work. I’m afraid Depp & Co. may say the same a few years from now, even after the movie rakes in millions.
What’s left to be said that others haven’t already said? I’m not sure—I steer clear of reading other folks’ reviews until I’ve written my own! I will say that the most “spiritual” element of the movie for me is Bootstrap’s inability to be free of the Flying Dutchman. It appears that the sin that has grown and grasped him will not let him be free, and the desire he has isn’t strong enough to free him (even when Will provides a hand). And maybe that’s why, a week later, I don’t find myself that enamored with the film: the plot is convoluted, the characters flat and unlikeable, and the one shot the movie has at redemption is left unmoved.
The movie can make millions and that’s fine. It’s still ironic to me that a movie trilogy based on an amusement park ride has sparked millions in movie sales, toys, games and clothing. A real pirate’s booty, I guess. Unfortunately, this Pirate lacks the thing that the pirates of Dead Man’s Chest wanted most—a soul.
Originally published on Hollywood Jesus (my first movie review ever- 6/5/07!)