Image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Like Shrek and Ice Age before it, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl has been followed by so many unnecessary sequels, most have forgotten how truly brilliant and original the first movie was.
The real trouble has been that despite not being the protagonist of the first movie, Johnny Depp‘s inspired, looney performance as Capt. Jack Sparrow clicked too much with audiences. Before long, every unfunny boss and drunk uncle was doing their own bad impression and Disney themselves shaped the Pirates sequels (and, in so doing, the whole series) into “The Voodoo Tales of Pirate Jack.”
Dead Men Tell No Tales, the fifth (and final, if you believe the marketing) Pirates of the Caribbean movie, admirably wants to give Jack a proper sendoff, including a flashback or two, but can’t muster the energy needed to land it. Were it not for three gifted thespians fighting to chew the most scenery, it’d barely even be sea-worthy.
Photo: Chris Pizzello/Associated Press
It’s hip to trash Johnny Depp these days. His megastar status ended years ago (and his indie underdog status over a decade ago), leaving him either playing parodies of earlier hit characters or chasing paycheque movies for Disney. Clouded by bad memories of The Tourist and Mortedcai, though — to say nothing of his troubles over the last week — many nowadays forget all the impressive work Depp’s done in his 32-year film career.
Benny & Joon. Sleepy Hollow. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Platoon. Donnie Brasco. Edward Scissorhands. Finding Neverland. A Nightmare on Elm Street. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Ed Wood. Every one is a beloved title, and still only scratch the surface of Depp’s chameleonic abilities. Continue reading
Photo: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
“It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
When the Bard wrote those words in the last act of Macbeth, he was describing life itself, but it tends to be quite apt when it comes to movies that put all their attention on technical details and dazzling effects at the expense of story and characters.
2010’s Alice in Wonderland, directed by Tim Burton, was already very guilty of that descriptor, but its sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass, is even more visually spectacular and even more devoid of any substance. Continue reading
Photo: Warner Bros.
Movies about self-aware computers or technology with superior intelligence are nothing new. From 2001: A Space Odyssey to Tron to Terminator 2: Judgment Day to The Matrix to Her, the concept has been thoroughly explored, and already to brilliant results. Transcendence doesn’t rise to the ranks of those movies, although it’s clever enough to at least see its ridiculous premise through to a (relatively) realistic and well-earned conclusion.