Friday, May 25, 2007

Third Time's the Charm

After the disappointing Spider-Man 3 and Shrek the Third, I was worried about Pirates of the Caribbean 3. I shouldn't have worried. It was much better than Pirates 2.

There is a good reason for this. Spider-Man and Shrek were made as individual movies. The writers and director threw everything they had into the sequel without worrying about holding back for a third movie. Pirates 2 and 3 were made as a package.

The original Pirates had a strong back-story even if it was only hinted at. By the end of the movie, there was no back-story left to draw on. The solution was to use the second movie to create a new back-story to be resolved in the third movie.

The result was that the second Pirates felt light-weight. Plot was replaced with complicated fights and set-pieces. Also, Jack's character never seemed quite right. Depp went through all the right motions but it just didn't quite take. I think that the problem was that we always knew Jack's motivations. He was betraying everyone in an effort to save himself from Davey Jones. This is in contrast to the first movie where he always seemed to be trying to do right by Will and Elizabeth, as long as he ended up with the Black Pearl.

Jack is back to normal in the third movie. Of course, for him normal means off-kilter. At minimum he is occasionally delusional but he is still functional. As in the first movie, he is helping Will and Elizabeth, even if he has ulterior motives.

I'm not sure if this is as good as the original Pirates. I'll probably have to see it again to decide. It is slower at spots and much darker. The body count in the first few minutes is higher than the first two movies added together. Some principals die, also.

By the end of the movie things have been wrapped up pretty well. Depp has allowed as how he would be interested in doing a fourth movie although it will have to be without Knightly or Bloom. Both of them have other projects. That's ok. Will and Elizabeth may have been integral to the trilogy but it wouldn't be a Pirates movie without Jack.

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