Friday, August 04, 2006

Calamarrrri, Me Mateys

Trice the puddings athwart the trysail. Unlace the haltertop. Arrrrr.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest is jolly fun, but not quite as jolly as the first movie. It’s important to remember the Five Habits of Highly Effective Pirate Movies

1) In a movie with Johny Depp and Kiera Knightley, every second in which a CGI Giant Squid takes center stage is one second less of Johny Depp and/or Kiera Knightly. This is generally a poor trade. Both of them are a lot more interesting to watch than a CGI Giant Squid. Even Orlando Bloom is generally more interesting to watch than a CGI Giant Squid. There’s a reason why the ads for Fellowship of the Ring did not say: “Starring Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, a CGI Giant Squid and Orlando Bloom”. And it’s not that Orlando Bloom had a better agent. When a CGI Giant Squid is not only chewing the scenery, but swallowing and digesting it, it’s hard for the human actors to get a word in edgewise.

2) In a jolly pirate comedy adventure, brutal murders need to be dealt with using a certain amount of tact and restraint. Homicide is not jolly, and undermines a tone of lighthearted screwball pirate comedy. Excessively realistic hurling of screaming crewmen against bulkheads by CGI Giant Squid tentacles is neither tactful nor restrained, and the same general principal applies to most atrocities committed by other partly squamous partly rugose denizens of the deep.

3) If you are running a sinister prison island, dumping coffins into the sea is a ridiculous way to dispose of corpses. First of all, coffins are expensive. Secondly, the inevitable result is pileup of coffins full of decaying bodies at the high tide mark five miles down the beach. The approved traditional method is a burlap sack. Doesn’t anyone read the Count of Monte Christo anymore?

4) The East India Company operated in the East Indies. The Caribbean is in the West Indies. Get it right, OK? These lapses add up, and the goal is to suspend disbelief, not hang it from a yardarm until its boots stop twitching.

5) The genre of “Movies Based on Theme Park Rides” is not so robust that you can afford to ignore items 1-4

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