Yo, this be Reuben. Chaboi’s back with a movie post to split up all this MMM nonse — I apologise on behalf of Milo for the mindless stream of content he has provided, the awful, awful man he is. To be fair, my lack of articles in comparison probably makes me even more awful. I thought I’d rank the Pirates of the Caribbean films from worst to best, this being an article that’s been at the back of my head for a while. We all know those films, right? Johnny Depp, pirates, you know the deal. It actually hurts me on a deep, personal level when people say “oh yeah Pirates of the Caribbean is actually really bad but I enjoy it anyway”. MATE. You enjoy it because it’s good. The purpose of these films is to entertain, and at least 60% of them do that very well, thus fulfilling their purpose and, for that reason, for me at least, being good, well made films. With that over with, let’s get into it, eh?
Salazar’s Revenge (2017)
Number five and the latest of the series, Salazar’s Revenge was given the most prestigious of honours on this site, being my pick for Worst Film in 2017’s Best Thangs of the Year. Some may say it’s still the good ol’ Pirates of the Caribbean, the same ol’ thing and it’s just as fun as it ever was, but NAH, it just isn’t. It appears stale, badly realised and it just felt like such a flop coming from someone who was always a big fan of the films. Johnny Depp is the main culprit, as he’s got older and crazier, he’s just got worse at acting, and he wasn’t helped by a writer or director who while failed to drive him to try anything new, had him repeating his old tricks but much worse than he ever did before. The other two main characters just come across as shoddy knock-offs of Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom’s characters in the original trilogy, and the villain, acted by Javier Jardem who has really shown his class before, just did nothing for me and was often difficult to understand, while his motivation and the plot as a whole was both flat and overly ridiculous at the same time, somehow.
Alas, there were a few good moments dotted around and I still somewhat enjoyed some of Jack Sparrow’s scalawag adventures, but for me this stands as easily the worst film in the series and a sign that maybe it’s time for Disney to finish the whole thing.
On Stranger Tides (2011)
This fourth installment of the series kept it going after the original trilogy ended a few years prior, and its a perfectly enjoyable film, if a little weaker than its predecessors. The main reason I think it’s weaker is the fact it’s just a lot less grand. It’s less ridiculous, less big, and it just leaves a smaller impression on a viewer, for good or for bad. A lot of people, I’d imagine, would pick this over At World’s End, because it relies a lot less on overblown CGI and it’s not 500 hours long, and the plot is actually grounded, but for me it’s just not as fun or entertaining, and there’s less to it. This also may be a null criticism, but it does give off the vibes of a TV special for me sometimes with the smaller budget and hammy performances from Ian McShane and Penélope Cruz. Still, Johnny Depp was still going pretty strong in this the turn of the decade, and it’s pretty much as re-watchable as the films that came before it, with more than enough solid silliness and action, alongside a pretty interesting story.
At World’s End (2007)
The third and final installment of Gore Verbinski’s original trilogy, At World’s End is quite possibly the biggest, most overblown piece of claptrap the world has ever seen. As before mentioned, it relies too heavily on CGI, and it’s probably too long with a monstrous runtime of 2 hours 49 minutes; on top of this, its got that weird nothing scene where Jack Sparrow plays with a bunch of white crabs, and the plot hits levels of ridiculousness which I’m not sure had ever been seen before. However long it is, though, and however ridiculous it may be, I really like it, and I’ve never felt restless while watching through the whole three hours of it. It’s absolutely huge, and I love huge films. And with all the CGI, it doesn’t feel too artificial for me, because everyone involved clearly had a lot of passion for the project, all culminating in the huge war scenes at sea with Hans Zimmer’s massive score at the heart of it all that has been building up in the previous films explodes. But it does lose points for the weird white crab scene and a small case of taking itself a bit too seriously.
Dead Man’s Chest (2006)
A year before that mad finale came a similarly long film about weird-ass pirate hijinks in Dead Man’s Chest, the grand and apparently unexpected sequel to The Curse of the Black Pearl. It’s quite similar to At World’s End in a lot of ways, but, essentially, it doesn’t have anything like that stupid white crab scene, it’s about 15 minutes shorter, it doesn’t take itself so seriously, and it has the kraken. We all like the kraken, right? I know I do. It’s also not so ridiculous as its sequel, and with everything building up it can feel really quite brooding and exciting. I can see why some people pick this over the first film. But it still confuses me why LITERALLY EVERYONE has this on DVD and no others in the series. The amount of holiday houses I’ve been to with this DVD is just silly, I swear.
The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
I do love Dead Man’s Chest, but this first film in the series is easily its strongest moment. Aside from that silly scene when you first see the skeletons, it doesn’t rely much on CGI like its sequels, and it’s so much less ridiculous and overblown that it almost feels understated in comparison. It’s the ultimate film to just stick on and enjoy. You’ve got Jack Sparrow and his merry men on their finest form of silliness, and a genuinely brilliant villain in Captain Barbossa, who acted by the fantastic Geoffrey Rush is much more fun than that silly old Davy Jones. Sure, there’s a weird curse going on in it (hense the name) and a bunch of skeleton men, but there are no Gods or giant whirlpools involved — this is a simple pirate adventure and its just so much fun. I think it may stand as the most re-watchable film ever – at least for me – and for the hours and hours and hours of enjoyment I’ve got from it, it’s cemented a definitive place amongst my Favourite Movies.
Maybe its just the nostalgia talking, but I do love me some Pirates of the Caribbean, unless maybe it’s Salazar’s Revenge. Maybe I’ve opened a can of worms, I do hope I’m not the only one who loves this franchise.
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