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I think it shows the weakness of the writers of this comic that they keep coming back to kidnapping as a plot device! (Did I say weakness? I meant genius.)

I watched the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie on Netflix, and, man, what a slog. I guess it’s not totally unwatchable, but it’s pretty clear the Pirates franchise is incapable of doing anything beyond retreading the tropes of the first film with diminishing returns. But, you know, I totally get it. That first movie is lightning in a bottle, a refreshingly clever, quirky script that revitalized the dead pirate film genre. It was a big risk that was likely to fail, but instead it became a pop culture phenomenon. Unfortunately, all the sequels have seemed out of touch with what made that first movie work so well. I think one of the biggest problems is that in the first film, Jack Sparrow is a clever person that everyone assumes is an idiot, while in all the sequels Jack Sparrow is a complete moron that everyone assumes is a genius. There’s no longer a sense that the audience is in on Jack’s clever gambits, or that he’s outsmarting his adversaries. Instead, it’s all just bumbling dumb luck. In part 5, the effect seems to have softened a little, because now everyone knows Jack is an idiot AND he acts like an idiot, leading to a character that is basically despised by everyone, including himself. Once again there is a cursed captain out for revenge while also looking to break the curse, and once again Jack is roped into helping some people who would otherwise prefer having nothing to do with him to find some magical trinket.

About the only thing I like in Pirates 5 is the stubborn obsession with lore continuity between the films, even if I don’t much care for the lore itself and its general lack of logic. Jack’s compass is still a point of interest for yet another cursed pirate, and this time the compass displays some new abilities, like reawakening an undead crew when he sells it to a barkeep. The question as to who made this compass or where it came from continues to go unanswered, despite it being the seemingly most sought after magical item in the world. Captain Barbossa is carrying around Blackbeard’s sword from the previous film, which is kind of neat. The Black Pearl is still miniaturized and trapped in  bottle through most of the movie (still no explanation given as to how that happened, and the solution for releasing it is hilariously simple). We also get the brief return of Will Turner, still cursed to ferry the dead in Davy Jones’ Flying Duchman. But the weird thing is that he’s apparently gone all barnacle gross, like the old Flying Duchman crew, which is strange, since that the whole barnacle encrusting issue had been resolved at the end of the third film.

The obsession with lore has also brought up the rather bizarre question of the physical passage of time in these films. The main characters that are not Jack Sparrow are the fully grown children of Will turner and Barbossa. I don’t know how old Jack Sparrow was supposed to be in the first film, but at least 20 years must have passed since then. Considering all we know about Jack Sparrow’s history, its hard to imagine he’s younger than 30 in the first film, putting him probably somewhere in his 50’s in Pirates 5. Granted, Johnny Depp actually IS 50-ish now, but considering the lifestyle of pirates, the pirate character he portrays should probably not be as fit and healthy as the millionaire moviestar himself. But, you know, whatever.

The movie does a terrible job explaining why its villain is a villain. He’s literally a guy that hunts pirates and shows them no mercy, which is probably a good thing since pirates are lawless, violent men who pillage, rape, and murder. Even in the Pirates of Caribbean universe pirate crews are shown to have these tendencies. It’s pretty hard to condemn Captain Salazar for wanting to get revenge on Sparrow. If the guy has one major foil, it’s his inability to use his own curse to the best of his advantage. The curse itself seems to make no sense, as we learn that he became undead when killed in a particular cursed location, but we’re shown a ship destroyed in that same location and the crew of that ship seems to have not become undead. Inconsistent curses seem to be a staple of the series at this point, though.

There’s also a scene with a young CG Jack Sparrow that is all sorts of uncanny valley. AND a trident of Poseidon that conveniently ends ALL CURSES EVER when broken, and, LUCKILY, is easily broken! There’s also some veeeery questionable physics applies to nearly every action scenes, possibly more so than the previous films. And there’s Barbossa’s death scene, which makes little sense and doesn’t even seem deadly. I mean, he fell into water, but I guess we’re just supposed to assume he died. I’m pretty sure Geoffrey Rush’s contract ended, so he was probably just eager to get out.

The real question I have is, are we done with Jack Sparrow? This movie has an end credits stinger that seems to imply Davy Jones has returned to terrorize Will and Elizabeth Turner. Considering Depp is a known domestic abuser and alcoholic (there are plenty of rumors about him actually being drunk on set), it feels like Disney would want to start backing away from him as the star of the franchise. I won’t deny that he is what made the first film special, but at this point, Jack Sparrow is just as tired a retread as the innumerable cursed pirate crews that hunt him.

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  • clogboy

    I never had more than zero interest to watch PotC5. I liked the first trilogy, the one with Blackbeard was disappointing.
    If you want something good with pirates, I will recommend Black Sails every chance I get. Somehow it manages to take Treasure Island characters (this story happened before the book events), characters from actual pirate history and some great characters of its own in a coherent, credible storyline. It may be the best thing Michael Bay tied his name to in a very long time. When I’m saying that it’s a strong show filled with clever plot twists, coherent character development and a good blend of authenticity and credible poetic freedom (they did their research), it’s not compliment but fact. And the show is not afraid to take some really dark turns.
    Fair warning: after a strong start it’s mostly setting up the characters and dynamic. Season one has a weak ending and season two starts a bit slow, but has a fantastic conclusion and isn’t about to let down from that point onward. So if some parts are hard to watch (either for its pacing or its brutal violence or casual nudity), there’s purpose to it.

    • Ocean Burning.

      I’m a huge fan of the original PotC trilogy, but I really didn’t like the fourth one. I couldn’t understand why they had made it. The fifth movie, which I also just watched recently, surprised me — I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to. It wasn’t at the same level as the original trilogy, but like a good fanfiction.

      FYI, though, my favorite PotC movie is the third one, which a lot of people thought was terrible. I don’t love PotC for anything actually making logical sense or being realistic in any way; I like it being as fantastical and ridiculous as possible, with lots of slapstick-humor action. And I especially love Will and Elizabeth being the heart of the story, so I think that’s why the fifth movie worked for me, because we find out what happens to them and their son. The scene where Henry meets Jack for the first time was gold.

      Anyway, thanks for the Black Sails recommendation, it sounds really cool! I will definitely have to check it out…

    • suburban_samurai

      How can I turn down such a passionate recommendation? I pay for Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon, which streaming service supports it? Please don’t say HBO…

      • clogboy

        Netflix but definitely Amazon Prime. Eager to hear how you feel about it: it’s visually stunning and plot heavy.

  • AGV

    Why I’m not surprised of yet another celebrity being a jerk?

    Anyway, I was very underwelmed by this movie, I watched it because I was invited and it wasn’t worthit
    I liked the idea or Barbosa having a lost child that turned out to be a main character (too bad that she’s ElisabethXWill 2.0, but oh well), but the way that the father-daughter relationship was revealed was so bad

    And Poseidon’s Trident was also awfully anticlimatic to me

    Back to the comic, kidnapping is a cheap tactic to make losing sides stronger :y (weak af joke)

    • Nos Rin aka CTCO

      almost all of them are, the rare few aren’t.
      basically, Never Meet Your Hero.

  • Ocean Burning.

    Kidnapping Eijiro does sound like a good idea, but I wonder if Eijiro is still holding onto the idea of marrying Ina at all? That could get awkward.

  • Turul

    Hey now, at least this switches the kidnap victim every once in a while. You get kidnapped! And you get kidnapped! And you get kidnapped! Everybody gets kidnapped!

    • Ocean Burning.

      NN4B: The Oprah of kidnappings.

  • animalia555

    I wonder if kidnapping Eijuro would work? We’ve seen how ruthless Nataku is he might try to get Eijuro killed in the crossfire and use that as an excuse to fan the flames even further

    • Xinef

      Well… if Nataku lets Eijiro die, I would THINK Hirotomo would be quite mad at him…
      sure, he might use that as another excuse to continue the war… but possibly with a new general, more competent than Nataku.
      Maybe there is no need for bushido, but letting a heir die in battle is easily something that can get generals executed (or ordered to commit seppuku).

      Unless Nataku is really good at shifting the blame. Which he is, but… there are limits to how many times he can try the same trick.

      • Arkone Axon

        Nataku does what he does out of loyalty to his clan, to his lord. He knows his lord favors his younger son… he also knows his lord still loves the older son even though he’s mad at the boy. Everything he does is meant to advance his lord’s interests… unless he KNOWS his lord wants to see a son dead, he’s not going to shoot through a hostage.

        • clogboy

          Too bad it’s inevitable that Hirotomo has to die. Or maybe I’m thinking of Zuko’s storyline (Avatar: The Legend of Aang) a bit too much.

  • Major Tom

    Hey cabrones, might I interest you in a different tactic? It’s called a sniper. Take your best archer, have him aim for Eijiro and….

  • LordBolanderFace

    “Actually, I was talking about Nataku, but… your idea is better, let’s go with that.”

    As for Pirates 5… skipped it, don’t even care. I didn’t care for the second, watched the third because I can’t stand to leave a story unfinished, hated the fourth for the unnecessary garbage it was, and never even bothered to watch the trailers for the fifth.

  • Hfar

    Eyyyy, they kidnap us, we kidnap them! It’s a time honored tradition at this point.

    • Turul

      We learned it from our kidnappers, who learned it from their kidnappers.

  • Ørjan Hoem

    You refer to the “stubborn obsession with lore continuity between the films”, but PotC5 actually has terrible continuity, which in my opinion is one of the worst part of the movie.

    The compass is a good example – in PotC2, we learn he got it from Calypso, while in the new film, he got it when Salazar was defeated. In the new film, they state that giving away the compass will cause Salazar to be released, but he’s given away the compass several times before – why wasn’t Salazar released then?

    Another thing: Will Turner is starting to turn into a fish creature, much like Davy Jones before him. But it was clearly established in the previous movies that the reason Davy Jones looked like that was that he wasn’t doing his job (ferrying the souls of people who died at sea to their final resting place). Which means that either the curse has changed, or Will Turner is not doing his job, thus leaving countless souls in torment.

    I’m pretty sure the film makers ready synopses of the previous movies, but it doesn’t look like they took the time to actually watch them all the way through.

    • suburban_samurai

      I did point out the contradictory Will Turner barnacle curse, but, yeah, the other observations were over my head. It’s been years since I’ve seen any of the Pirates movies other than the original. I love the first movie, it’s one of my favorites, but I despise the sequels.

      I’m mostly amused (maybe bemused…) that they continue to tie all these films together. I think the whole franchise could’ve benefited from being stand alone adventures with Jack Sparrow falling into a different group of people’s problems each film, where he’s always this ancillary external factor in a story that’s not really about him.

      • clogboy

        It already exists and is called Mad Max. :)

  • Yasmin Mazur

    regarding PotC5 – the weirdest thing I saw in this movie is the undead sharks and seagulls – no explanation for those either. At least the monkey took a cursed coin at the end of the 1st movie…
    I wouldn’t count on Disney killing this series untill after it stops returning the initial investment – and even then – they’ll just reboot the universe and start again. Probably be better to do that sooner rather than later.

  • Sam DunKley

    I love how Ina is so used to insane situations that her plan is “kidnap the eenemy commander” and she regards the battle currently underway as a minor setback.

  • foducool

    “no dad, I’m gonna kidnap the shogun”

  • Nos Rin aka CTCO

    I only own the first film, on DVD, seems like that will stay a thing.

  • clogboy

    I can’t believe the other soldiers are standing so carelessly while the first ranks are getting pummeled with boom sticks. No matter how disciplined I was, I’d think this was nothing short of dark magic, if I’ve never seen it before.

  • animalia555

    Has anyone else read Star Wars: Dawn Of The Jedi: Force Storm?

  • clogboy

    Ina: “Actually, I’m talking about Yori, which was our secret plan all along…”
    *record scratch*
    “Yes, father, and I’m also a secret Izumi Ninja. So every man standing in my way will spend his last moments regretting this decision, while I make him sniff the back of his skull.”
    Yori: “But… but my clan wants me dead! I mean, how’s that going to work?”

    Ina: “Shush, I haven’t thought that far ahead. Anyway who needs a PLAN if you have…”

    • Turul

      So THAT’S where Ina’s sisters went!

  • Frank Royce Harr

    I guess he would make a difference. But to who?

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