22 June 2007

Piratical Musings

I bought and rewatched Dead Man's Chest this week. I like it better now that I've seen At World's End. I can tell where things are going. Also, since I have an idea what's coming up, certain cryptic comments make a heckuva lot more sense. There are still some things that bug me, though. (If you haven't seen Dead Man's Chest yet, there are a few minor technical spoilers here. No major plot points, though.)

The biggest problem is the obvious attempts to one-up the first movie. "Let's make all the action BIGGER!" someone said, "And blow things up!" said someone else, "And have more going on all at once!" "And blow things up!" "And have BIGGER special effects!" "And blow things up!" etc.

My least favorite part of the movie is the sequence with the cannibals. It was so clearly a live-action cartoon. You can have comedy without descending to cartoonish antics. It would have been funnier if the vegetables had splattered all over Jack rather than lining up perfectly on his roasting stick, for instance. Also more believable. Plus there were several falls that I'm not convinced were survivable. (Calling all Mythbusters! ;^) Having seen the classic balcony fall tested, the bridge fall was...ridiculous. In real life, the cloth balconies would probably save your life, buy you'd have tons of broken bones. Wooden bridges? Even more broken bones, if you survived at all. But the thing that bugs me the most about the sequence is that it has no real function in the plot. Yes, it's the place where Will reunites with Jack and crew (and some of Barbossa's former crew), but that's the only plot function. A reunion does not require cannibals.

The rest of the movie I really like. My only complaint there is that they made everything, especially action sequences and special effects, a bit too over the top. Not "vegetable skewer" over the top, but just a bit past the "perfect" mark. Still, there's at least one other thing I would like to see tested: the rum/powder explosion towards the end. First off, what would an explosion of rum and black powder look like? Second, would a bullet from a period rifle have actually been enough to make it explode? With the powder, I'm leaning towards maybe. With the rum? I very much doubt it. A modern bullet fired into a gas tank is not enough to make it blow up, whatever the movies may have taught you. Movie-wise, the appearance of the explosion is forgivable; the bullet problem fixable (via flaming projectile).

So I stand by my original verdict. The third movie (At World's End) is better than the second, and the original is the best of them all. And, yes, I did rewatch the original as well. I was impressed with how well the sequels took elements from it and wove them into their plots. I also noticed that those were the elements that worked the best in the sequels. :^)

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