Asta 2

Pirates of the Caribbean

Overall, I liked this film better than the last. Dead Man's Chest felt like two hours of set up for this film and Davey Jones just wasn't that interesting of a character and, more importantly, villain. AWE (Oh, there is the abbreviation of irony) did provide answers (if you paid really close attention and thought really hard) and did give closure to the characters and various relationships...not that I liked much of it.

Before I start bitching, let me tell you what I did like:

* The cinematography and effects. Yes, I know you are all thinking that's the compliment of desperation when you can find nothing else good to say about a summer blockbuster, but I couldn't even pay that compliment to the Star Wars prequels. AWE had some truly stunning sequences. The ship sailing through the glaciers. The rocks turning into crabs. The Pearl sailing through sand. Davey Jones and his crew looking impossibly real.

* Seeing Governor Swann's soul left adrift, Elizabeth coming to realize her father was dead, her desperation to save him, and his telling her how proud he was of her - it broke my heart a little.

* Keith Richards and the subtlety of his performance. When I first heard he was cast as Jack's father I expected him to make a grand entrance, all swagger and slurred speech with Johnny following suit, but there was none of that. Keith, to his credit, took the role quite seriously and played it straight. The only hint of an in-joke was when he picked up the guitar, but that I didn't have a problem with since it felt like a character trait, something this guy does as chaos ensues around him. Actually, the only reveal that we got that this was Jack's father was Johnny's 'Oh, crap, me dad's here' expression upon first hearing his name and his casual, "So how's mother?" at the end of the scene.

* Geoffrey Rush as Barbossa. Perhaps the only man who could have upstaged Johnny Depp...and did.

* The monkey who went from evil to hero. He allowed himself to get shot out of a canon. Talk about taking one for the team.

* Johnny Depp can convey so much with just his facial expressions. Even when he's relegated to the background. Did you see how pained Jack was as Elizabeth pleaded with her father to come aboard the Pearl? My favorite moment though was the utter horror he expressed as Will was stabbed through the heart. Suddenly, his thoughts of immortality and infamy are replaced by the knowledge that his friend is about to die. And I love the fact that this guy that everyone sees as a self-serving bastard who would leave them all to die sacrifices what he sees as his future to obtain justice for Will and possibly save his life.

So now let's move on to the what the f***ery of the rest of the film:

* Norrington's death. The guy had a pretty good arc going. He was on top on TCotBP, hit bottom in DMC and made a deal with the devil to get his name and station back. I expected him to be redeemed before dying here. Someone should have told the writers that redemption cannot be adequately shown through two brief, 'Oops, I think I made a mistake' scenes. Then he gets killed by Bootstrap a character we are suppose to feel sympathy for and apparently went crazy since the last film.

* Chow Yun-Fat was wasted. Sao Feng had a lot of potential, but apparently he was only around to set up a case of mistaken identity with Elizabeth and to position her to become the pirate king.

* The Tia/Calypso/Davey Jones connection most of us figured out at the end of the last film and that may be the last time the relationship made any sense. She wasn't where she was suppose to be after ten years, he got pissed at her 'betrayal' and supposedly told the other pirates how they could imprison her in human form. Now the pirates think by freeing her she'll assist them in taking down Davey and the British Naval fleet. Accept she still loves Davey and didn't know of his betrayal. Is it just me or is this incredibly convoluted? To make matters worse, after all the build up to Calypso being freed to unleash her wrath she becomes the fifty foot woman (thank you beccatoria ;), mutters some unintelligible words, turns into a whole lot of crabs, then, I guess, turns into her natural form of water and wind creating a big storm that, um, really doesn't do much but get everyone wet.

* I am not a Will/Elizabeth shipper at all, but, boy did their ending piss me off. It's a big budget popcorn movie. We expect the boy and girl to end up together, not end up together once every ten years. I'm not sure which character suffered the worse fate. Elizabeth lost her father, her husband, her friends (such as they are), and her dream of being a pirate. Heck, she wasn't just a pirate, she was the pirate king. At the end of the film (assuming you stayed through the credits) we see that she has spent the next ten years being a single mom to Will Jr. and is anxiously awaiting the arrival of her husband. Will gets to spend eternity ferrying souls to their final resting place and, considering the shorter life spans back then, probably gets to see Elizabeth three or four times if he's lucky. But at least he gets to hang out with his nutty dad.

blondheroine posted an excerpt of a post by one of the writers, Terry Rossio, at the Wordplayer forums elaborting on Will and Elizabeth's fates. Since the original link no longer works here's some of what she found in reference to Will and Elizabeth:

"I don't know that I would say, "forbidden." There might be some story to be told where Elizabeth manages to make a trip to the land of the dead, with the help of someone, etc., etc., to find Will, etc.

But the basic requirement is that Will agrees captain the Flying Dutchmen (in return for what the film reveals) and that he can step on land but once every ten years, and that at any time, if he finds a love that is true (this is part of the original Flying Dutchman opera by the way) then his attachment to the ship is broken. "

Um, so we were suppose to know that when Will returns at the end he's returning to Elizabeth and his son permanently? And, if so, who takes over the Dutchman's duties? Considering all the exposition that went on during the film, they couldn't have mentioned this loophole at some point? Ack

* I guess Jack's ending was OK. I suppose it was meant to mirror his introduction to us. Once again he's off to reclaim his ship. Still, I wished for something with a little more oomph.
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Not suprisingly, I had a pretty similar reaction. The Calypso/Davy Jones storyline was just a pointless mess and a waste of time (despite the one kind of nice scene they have, when he visits her in the brig and her touch turns him human), and Calypso turning into the 50-ft woman was just embarrassing.

Also, I'm glad Will and Elizabeth will get to be together after all, but why the heck wasn't that explained in the film? And, this is incredibly nitpicky I know, but given the reams of vampire fanfic that I've read I have to ask, how did Will get Elizabeth pregnant when he was technically *dead*? It's probably better if I just don't think about it, huh?

There were lots of things I did like: Elizabeth got to be Pirate King! There were swordfights. Orlando Bloom was really, really pretty. The Geoffrey Rush/Johnny Depp show was hilarious. The emotional scenes you mentioned, Elizabeth seeing her father and Will's death, were well done and affecting. It just all needed to be seriously streamlined into a more cohesive movie.
how did Will get Elizabeth pregnant when he was technically *dead*?

I wondered that too! Maybe because his heart was still beating and Elizabeth was the keeper of it? It's all I got.

I did like the Calypso/Davey scene. It was nice to see the character (and actor) in human form and both actors did a good job of conveying the pain and regret they shared. It's a shame it became laughable after that.

And, yes, Orlando was very pretty. I think he gets prettier with each movie.
It's good to see that you had pretty much the same reactions as I did. Not because I want everyone to think like me, but some of the DIEHARD fans (and you know me - I consider myself a DIEHARD fan) have posted their own posts defending their like of the film and I find exact wordage of my posts somehow interspersed with their own. So, it's good to know that I'm not alone (not that I think I am because there are a WHOLE lot of people unwilling to go along with the fuckery of this film).

You mentioned the good parts and I'm glad you did because they reminded me of the scenes I did love. I remember watching the first of the film and thinking, "This is going to rock!" The scene where they're traveling through the glaciers made it feel like a true, epic fantasy film. I don't think I started getting downhearted until Jack first appeared (and hearing me say that must mean the apocalypse is nigh). But even then, I was thinking, "Well, one little blight." Because that scene with Elizabeth seeing Governor Swann in the boat was gutwrenching.

I think, with some reviews, the hardest thing for me to understand is when people say, "Well, it made more sense than the second!" I don't get that because this one was so convoluted and corrupted continuity so much that I don't see how you can say you hated #2, but loved #3. That doesn't make any sense to me whatsoever. #2 was the journey to #3. #3's where it all went straight to hell.

But yeah. You completely covered what *was* good with the film.

*still pissed*
My disappoint with number two was because I felt it was simply set up for this movie. However, they took all that set up and did little to nothing with it. We get one decent scene between Calypso and Davey Jones before she becomes Ms Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman and he drops into the abyss. We had Norrington hit rock bottom then betray everyone who came to trust him and I was expecting that throught this film we'd see him come to realize that in becoming the officer he wanted to be he lost sight of the man he wanted to be. Instead he gets a breif scene of realization before he dies senselessly. Sadly, I find myself having to pretend nothing happened after the first film. :/
Sadly, I find myself having to pretend nothing happened after the first film. :/

Do you have written instructions on how to accomplish this? I REALLY need them.
I'm so glad that I never got heavily into Pirates... I agree with most of what you say here. The cinematography and effects were awesome and Johnny is brilliant, but ...

The Tia/Calypso/Davey Jones connection most of us figured out at the end of the last film and that may be the last time the relationship made any sense.
*giggle* It was ridiculously convoluted, oh yes!

probably gets to see Elizabeth three or four times if he's lucky. But at least he gets to hang out with his nutty dad.
Teeee heee! Yes. I'm so glad I was invested in neither of them.

Norrington's death seriously pissed me off. I think that was when I started realising that the movie really wasn't going to really deliver for any of the main characters.
Hmm - I accept your criticisms - they're reasonable and I understand where they're coming from. I think overall I enjoyed it much more than you did, so let me see if I can explain why:

I agree with you; Norrington deserved a better ending - nothing more to be said about that.

The fifty foot woman thing didn't bug me at all. Hilarious as it was! I think because I'm watching these films in the tradition of crazy epic adventure movies a la Jason and the Argonauts so I actually respect them for saying, YES, these are the conventions of this film and we're going to damn well USE them! Although I'm not sure exactly what it was she did once she was freed. Maybe whirlpool was intended to provide an area for the Dutchman and the Pearl to battle without the interference of the rest of the Navy?

Re: Will and Elizabeth's ending. Well, yes, I'm VERY glad I'm not a Will/Elizabeth shipper because that would have hacked me off no end. But in general I'm cool with it for the following reasons -

Endings with consequences - not the usual kiss and fall in love hollywood ending but something a little more unexpected if not wholly happy. I also think it's reasonably in keeping with the swashbuckling adventure greek-myth style. We get a somewhat happy ending but that's second to an ending of adventure.

Which is why I was originally confused and pissed at Elizabeth's ending - NOT an ending of adventure (or so I thought). Still could have used some clarity there, mind.

But my boy pointed out they were right next to Shipwreck Cove after the battle, and since Will went off to captain the Dutchman pretty quick, the island Elizabeth rows to is probably Shipwreck Cove. So I'm going to read that as her staying there and yeah, being the King of all Pirates. I'm certain that Jack Snr will respect the code that way and let her stay.

So I'm inclined to say that she didn't lose her dreams of being a pirate. I mean, there really isn't anywhere else she could go. The authorities aren't going to offer a pirate of her standing any leniancy or give her her father's money wherever she ran to. So I'm just going to assume she's living at Shipwreck Cove and is back there when Will shows up in the post-credits clip.

Now, with that assumption, I'm okay with the ending. Because I wasn't just not an Elizabeth/Will shipper, I was kind of an anti-shipper. Because I thought there was a basic cleft between the two of them. Elizabeth wanted a life of adventure and piracy while Will wanted a life of duty and meaning.

If it had ended happily ever after, I would have accepted that but somehow, I would always have wondered if the relationship was a little doomed? In terms of Elizabeth's journey throughout the three films, I feel that she was developing into, well, a pirate. As Jack called on numerous occasions. Under the veneer of her upbringing she had the "Take all you can, give nothing back," mentality that Will never approved of; a willingness to make impossible moral choices that Will always struggled with, and ultimately cost him his life. The things and ideals Elizabeth will die for are very different. Her "set things right" is to prevent the pirates from dying out. In the end her philosophy is selfish freedom at others' expense, because perhaps that's the only sort of true freedom there is. Something Will could never condone.

If I'm approaching this with a slightly kinder eye to Elizabeth than Will I apologise and it probably reflects my character preferences. But I really feel that both characters (provided she actually stays at Shipwreck Cove) get the endings that their character arcs demand. Slightly tragic, very fitting, and in completely different directions from each other, only to meet occasionally.

It's a strong message concurrent with the message of the entire film - take everything you can, give nothing back, because the world and circumstance will not assist you. Be who you are, not who anyone else wants you to be.

I don't see Elizabeth's life as tragic. I see it as shadowed by tragedy but full of exciting possibilities. She doesn't get the boy. She gets everything else.

I think I could argue that this film is also about the destructive power of love if we choose define ourselves by it.
Ooh, also - as if this weren't long enough already! Sorry! -

Just to throw it out there, while Will can't step on land again for ten years (the scene we see after the credits) and while Elizabeth can't go to the lands of the dead, I don't imagine Will has to literally, constantly be in the lands of the dead for ten years straight. I mean, maybe he does. But I wouldn't be surprised if every now and again, the Dutchman is called back to the real world for an adventure and Jack and Elizabeth get caught up in it, and she sees him again, just...not on land.

Adventure, immortality, magic, the impossible, fifty foot women and journeys through the lands of the dead are all literally true and very much a fabric of this world. Perhaps their separation is simply a set up for another adventure, one that doesn't preclude the literal truth of their meeting ten years later?

Um, anyway, I've been rambling for too long - I guess I had loads of thoughts on this. It's actually an ending I really like. Huh...
She doesn't get the boy. She gets everything else.

But does she? It's possible she stayed at Shipwreck Cove and remained the pirate king, but I'm not so sure. And considering the final shot is of her on some green hill with their son, smiling as Will approaches it leaves the impression that she's happy with what she has and this is it. Given the writers are men, no surprise.

You definitely have looked deeper into the films than I have. ;) And given your take I can see you being happy with the ending. For me, these films had avoided tragedy. Barbossa died in the first one, but he was the villain as was Davey Jones and Beckett in this film. Norrington I thought could die as part of his redemption, though I did not believe it would be in such a spectacularly disappointing manner. So, for me, the films gave the impression of following the blockbuster pattern of a happy ending. I think back to the original Star Wars trilogy and Harrison Ford's desire to have Han die. He made some interesting arguments for that being a fitting end, but it also would have been one hell of a downer. It's one of the few times I'm glad Lucas didn't listen to those around him.
But does she? It's possible she stayed at Shipwreck Cove and remained the pirate king, but I'm not so sure. And considering the final shot is of her on some green hill with their son, smiling as Will approaches it leaves the impression that she's happy with what she has and this is it. Given the writers are men, no surprise.


She can't possibly get everything else. Saying that, 'Well, we think she was near Shipwreck Cove...' That's just wishful thinking. With films, you are presented with information and that's what you have. What we were told is that Elizabeth was left on this island to rear a child. She had no family. No friends. Perhaps Jack might have visited her from time to time, but that's not really going to help her raise the kid. Having her act as Pirate King will leave the kid out of the picture if she is truly to be a Pirate King.

I'm a lover of Greek mythology as well as Arthurian and Norse, but mostly Greek. Tragedy is the name of the game, but Tia's end wasn't an ending worthy of a greek mythology. In mythology, Calypso was the lovestruck chick that died of grief. And in mythology, it would have been more likely that Calypso would have been the one betrayed by Davey. But that's not even a concern of mine. If they were going to portray Calypso as an angry god, then by god, be one! Swelling to the 50 foot woman, as you said, turning into crabs and then making it rain is like finally getting to have sex with Johnny Depp only to have go limp before the deed is done (I'm sorry for the terminology here - but everytime I think of Calypso - the word 'impotent' comes to mind - because they didn't deliver on their promise of a true resolution).

I think you and I could have lived with a semi-tragic ending. Mentioning Star Wars, it wasn't as if Luke had a grand reunion with Daddy and then they made up for lost time by going bowling on Tatooine or visiting Padme's grave with flowers while tears of sorrow was shed. No, he had to kill him and then burn his body. THAT's a true bittersweet ending. The story wasn't of Leia and Han, that was a subplot. The story was about Vader's redemption and Luke's quest to find his place in the Universe.

The problem was, PotC3 couldn't figure out what it wanted to be. I know I'm just repeating myself over and over again, but the movie had issues. BIG ONES. Issues that had nothing to do with the audience wanting a happy ending. More like an ending that made freakin' sense and that justified two stinking movies.
Perhaps part of the reason I'm frustrated, particularly with the ending, is that as a fan of Battlestar Galactica I, unfortunately, have gotten use to a lot of information not being on screen and conveyed to me by Ron Moore in podcasts after the fact. Someone once made a good point that perhaps the writers spend so much time working on the material that it becomes ingrained in them and when they start editing they fail to realize they are jettisoning some key information the audiences needs and was not privy to in the creative process. That I can understand, but then the writer(s) need to read the script as if they are reading it for the first time and see if it makes sense. Or perhaps Hollywood needs to hire editors/proofreaders like the publishing industry does.

Going back to SW, you are correct that there were some bittersweet endings, but they were endings. No one questioned what happened to any of the characters. What if the Harry Potter books ended with Harry flying off somewhere and we don't know what happens to him? There would be riots! Granted, Elizabeth isn't a pop culture icon like Harry, but fans of her and Will I think deserved something more concrete then 'Oh, she had his kid'.
But does she? It's possible she stayed at Shipwreck Cove and remained the pirate king, but I'm not so sure.

Completely true and (well, duh, you already know this!) I posted as much in my journal - it really needed to be clearer. So I conceded, all of my "I like it" interpretation depends on her staying at Shipwreck Cove and they should have let us know what was going on. Sorry I haven't replied to your comment there - thought it would be tidier to come discuss it with you here ;)

I agree with you that I'm glad (on this occasion) that Luke didn't agree to Han dying. But I wonder, if it had been different, if I might be here arguing about how it was a very fitting end? I just don't know (because for starters - no idea if he'd have goten a crappy Norrington death or a much better one). I mean, plenty of good people die in the Star Wars films - Obi-Wan, Yoda, Redeemed!Vader, Biggs, Owen, Beru, if we stretch back to the prequels, Padme, Qui-Gon, Mace. I don't think Han dying is not concurrent with the themes of the films of which triumph and bravery and hope are surely some, but sacrifice fits in there too.

Though since I'm glad Han didn't die, I'm not really sure where I'm going with this... Devil's advocate, perhaps?
I pretty much agree with your assessment. Most critics have stated they felt the film was too long; one said that since they spent so much money they couldn't bring themselves to leave any on the cutting room floor :) I think the film would have benefitted from tighter editing on some scenes, such as with the Calypso storyline. It was a necessary part of the movie but needlessly complicated. Too bad Steven Spielberg wasn't available for a consult ;)

Loved Geoffrey Rush - I think he's why I liked the second movie less than the first and the third. He's a perfect foil for Jack, and it's wonderful to see two great actors like he and Johnny play off each other. Speaking of Johnny - if it weren't for him, these movies would just be typical Disney fare, but he managed to put his own weird spin on the role, and make Disney like it ;)

I felt the same way about Keith Richards as you did. I thought he was going to play it strictly for laughs, but he brought depth and intelligence to his small part - I think we all tend to underestimate him, and then he proves just how smart he is.

I would have liked to see Norrington have more screen time and a better death - he earned it after the second film.

As for the end, I was satisfied with it, but then maybe after watching Buffy and BSG I've come to accept bittersweet endings :)
Geoffrey was much missed in the second film. Barbossa is a much better foil for Jack and Geoffrey has the acting chops to go toe to toe with Johnny.

I doubt there would have been a second or third film without Johnny. He brings so many subtle nuances to the character that other actors would not. Jack spent so much time double and triple crossing them all, to see Johnny convey Jack's shock and sorrow at watching Will dying was a rare deeply emotional and mesmerizing moment in the film.
Heh. I've just about given up trying to get a handle on the film's themes. It's a beautiful mess.

I'm going to fanwank and pretend that Elizabeth went back to pirating. What else can she do? She's an outlaw, I doubt she can retrieve her father's money, she has no "dry land" skills. I'm going to assume she visits the island once in ten years. La-la-la, denial is a wonderful place.

Norrington had such a good arc going. And then poof, gone. A victim of bad editing? Producers/filmmakers got tired and forgot about him? WTF.

Feh. I never felt the urge for POTC fanfic - until now.
First, an apology to asta77 for being all up in her comments.

Feh. I never felt the urge for POTC fanfic - until now.

I've read fanfic for Pirates since CotBP. There's really some good stuff out there. And I've noticed people saying they were going to "fix it" in their own stories. GOOD writers. Writers that I have read before and respect. Isn't that a sad commentary on a film?

Anyway, I've been contemplating my own. I've thought of stories, but never really wanted to put in the effort, but this movie made me so angry that I want nothing more than to "fix it." I don't know that I will, but I have downloaded a copy of the script. I really REALLY want to know what the shit went wrong.
Hey, I'd be interested to know if the script differs from the film in any substantial ways. I'm sure you won't mind posting about it. ;)
There was a theme? ;)

A beatiful mess is a good way to describe it because there where some beautiful moments, both in terms of the visuals and the characters. I think the potential was there for a great final movie, but it felt as if after the first hour they either didn't know how to wrap up the story or lost interest and counted on none of us getting up and walking out. (And, no, I do not think it was that bad - just disappointing.)

It seems like the Norrington WTF? is universal.

Hey, if you write the fic, I'll read it. ;-)