Friday, September 19, 2014

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl – A Conversation

As part of Hamlette’s Piratical Blogathon, Hamlette and I reminisced about the Pirates of the Caribbean movies while simultaneously listening to the soundtrack for POTC: Curse of the Black Pearl.  We both love the original Pirates movie and thought it would be fun, rather than either of us writing a review of it, to discuss the movie instead.  Our favorite scenes and characters, why the first movie was so great and the second and third failed to capture that same magic.

Hamlette:  I remember buying this album -- so desperate to just keep the piratey joy alive once the movie left the theater.  I have track 3 up on my CD and ohhhhhhhhhh, I love this song, this bouncy, poundy sailing theme.  I had a hard time finding this soundtrack, actually, and I would listen to the Gladiator soundtrack because it has a teensy bit that sounds somewhat like this.  I had to wait for like a week for it to be in, and then once I got it, I think it stayed in my CD player all summer.  Listened to absolutely nothing else.

DKoren:   awww

Hamlette:  I remember seeing the trailer for this like five times before it came out, and just being so crazy excited for a Johnny Depp Pirate Movie!!!!  There was that swooshy thing where he holds the rope and flies up onto the boat, and I was in looooooooooooove with that moment in the trailer.

DKoren:   I remember going back and seeing this movie four or five times.

Hamlette:  I think I saw it three times.  What's your favorite moment in the movie?

DKoren:   In the end finale, when Jack shoots Barbossa and goes all serious.

Hamlette:  I'm not entirely sure if I have One Favorite Moment.

DKoren:   With Jack, I absolutely love his serious moments.  When he goes serious, I swoon.  When he's his normal fast-talking self, he’s amusing, but not a character I really care about.

Hamlette:  "So there is a curse.  That's interesting."  That's another of my favorite moments.  I love how he says "in-tres-ting."

DKoren:    "This shot is not meant for you."  That's another one of mine.  It’s another serious moment, that pleading with Will to "please move!"

Hamlette:   yes

DKoren:    But that whole moment in the finale where he slices his hand with the coin, tosses it to Will, and shoots Barbossa... that is THE reason I watch this movie.  I wait and wait for that.  And then it's over in ten seconds.

Hamlette:  Well, that's the way of Perfect Moments.

DKoren:   There're plenty of other parts I love too, just not with that intensity.

Hamlette:  If you were writing it, it would've been your Scene of Scenes.

DKoren:   Yes, the ultimate carrot scene.  That first shot of him on the rigging (where he’s again looking serious)... totally amazing moment.

Hamlette:  I think now, after four movies, it's hard to remember just how Different his Captain Jack was -- I mean, I remember sitting in the theater thinking, "DUDE!  This is all so completely new!"  I never knew what to expect one moment to the next.  Which I loved -- because it wasn't just another actiony kid-oriented movie, it was clever and devious and tricksy and... yeah.

DKoren:   That's a good way to put it.

Hamlette:  I have to say, I think Elizabeth Swan is another of those roles I would love to play, or characters I'd like to be.

DKoren:   I can see that.

Hamlette:  I remember just going, "I want to do that!  And that!  And that!"

DKoren:   She's really cool.

Hamlette:  She's very collected -- she doesn't freak out easily.

DKoren:   She's a character I wanted to be friends with.

Hamlette:  She thinks on her feet really well:  I'm going to hide here, I'm going to ask for parley, I'm going to pretend I'm not the governor's daughter.

DKoren:   Yeah, she's very smart.  I love that about her.

Hamlette:  She's not a damsel in distress at all.  Which was also refreshing, along with Captain Jack's unpredictability.

DKoren:   "She'll be insufferable now."

Hamlette:  Indeed.

DKoren:   I wanted to be Will Turner.

Hamlette:  Well, we'd make a fine pair, then!  Okay, so what makes you want to be Will?  Cuz I honestly -- like Elizabeth -- get impatient with him at times.

DKoren:   He makes swords, he practices with them, he's willing to do anything to rescue Kiera, he breaks a pirate out of jail and yells at Norrington.  He figures things out and doesn't want to be Jack's leverage.  He does everything I would do, were I in his shoes.

DKoren:   The way he thinks... I relate to that.  Like figuring Jack would be his best bet for tracking pirates.  And, of course, rescuing Jack at the end from execution and being willing to die for his actions, conscious clear.  I would totally do that.

Hamlette:  I do love the ending.

DKoren:   The swordfighting scene in the blacksmith shop is probably my second favorite scene in the movie.

Hamlette:  Oh, it is splendid!  It might actually be my favorite overall scene.  It could go on another ten minutes and I'd be happy.

DKoren:   Yes, I can watch the two of them cross blades for hours.

Hamlette:  He's more cautious and... circuitous than Elizabeth, which is probably why I identify more with her -- I just want to confront things and be done.  As long as I have a plan, I'm good.  Even if it's not a great plan.  Let’s talk a little about why Curse of the Black Pearl is splendid and the others range from meh to okay?  I think the reason Black Pearl works and the others are silly is because of the writing.  Specifically, how Jack is written. They wrote him straight in the first one, and Johnny twisted him to his own ends.  For the others, they wrote him silly, and so he became a caricature.  That's my take, anyway.

DKoren:   They assumed because Jack was the most popular character that if they took his character and blew him up to larger proportions, it would be even better.

Hamlette:  Yes.

DKoren:   Forgetting that what made him work so well is what you said, he was written straight.

Hamlette:  I mean, he does have some silly lines, the whole thing about the sea turtles... But he delivers the silly lines straight, and the straight lines off-kilter, and so it's just... unbalancedly brilliant.  But if it's all written silly, then it's too balanced somehow, and it just gets ordinary.

DKoren:   Yes.  That.  He also worked so well because Will and Elizabeth counter his personality perfectly in the first movie.

Hamlette:  They're all earnest and he's -- deadly earnest, but hiding it.

DKoren:   There's also a decided lack of a good villain in the second and third.

Hamlette:  This is true.

DKoren:   Davy Jones... sorry, but he's just silly.

Hamlette:  I think, also, in the fourth one... Jack has dignity again.

DKoren:   Yes, quite a bit more.

Hamlette:  What makes him so funny in the first one is he is so dignified!  And in the most ridiculous moments!

DKoren:   But he has to clash with a much better villain in On Stranger Tides, so that helps.

Hamlette:  Yes, that helps too.  Worthy adversary is important.

DKoren:   Also, 2 & 3 had the most ridiculous action sequences.

Hamlette:  I haven't seen them since the theater either, so memory has faded.

DKoren:   I mean, I love action, but that stupid rolling wheel...

Hamlette:  Oh, yes!  I remember the wheel.  That was atrocious.

DKoren:   Nothing in the first one is really beyond the scope of reality.  They don't defy physics.

Hamlette:  Or, a reality where there are skeleton pirates.

DKoren:   Well, yeah.

Hamlette:  But yes, people can do those things.  Boats behave that way.

DKoren:   And then it goes all unbelievable and silly.  (But Norrington gets scruffy and demoted, and that's a bonus point for 2 & 3.)

Hamlette:  (True -- he got a lot more interesting.)

DKoren:   (And Stellan is a bonus.)

Hamlette:  (Stellan!  Yes!)  About the only thing I remember really clearly from 2 & 3 is the very end, the final stinger on 3, where Elizabeth and the son were on the island, ready for Will to return.  I loved that moment, and the rest of it was just... there.

DKoren:   I do remember when we saw 2 in the theater, my sister came out and said, "Wow, I can't believe how happy I was to see Barbossa show up."

Hamlette:  Lol!  Yeah, Barbossa was a breath of stale but refreshing air.

DKoren:   Because he was such a good villain in the first one, and there was nothing like that in the second one.

Hamlette:  It lacked a tree, as I recall -- no good structure.

DKoren:   And was very convoluted for lacking structure.

Hamlette:  Turns out that just More Jack Sparrow doesn't make up for Not Enough Good Writing.

DKoren:   yep, very true.

And that's it for our reminisces for today.  Don't forget to check out the blogathon for reviews of other pirate movies and books.


Hamlette (Rachel) said...

Brilliant screencaps! Yowza. I'll likely be plundering this page :-D

I let me little landlubbers watch Captain Jack and Will's duel this afternoon, and now me first mate insists we have a duel ourselves before mess. Arrrrrrrrrrrr!

Unknown said...

I enjoyed the first POTC movie, but never made it past- or even through- the second one. You're right about the writing and dialogue going downhill fast.

Kara said...

Ok. So I could totally sit and listen to y'all reminisce for hours! This is fabulous! :D

And I SO agree. I have Black Pearl on dvd and not any of the others. I actually haven't seen the fourth one because two and three disappointed me so. :(

Also, you make a great point. But he delivers the silly lines straight, and the straight lines off-kilter, and so it's just... unbalancedly brilliant. Love that! I'd never analyzed it before, but once I read that and thought about it, it's so true! He was excellent in the first movie. But for sure, all the characters are excellent in the first movie.

And now I've gotta go home and watch it again. Perfect Saturday evening! :) Thanks ladies! For making me grin.

DKoren said...

Sounds like what happens over here. Watching any swordfighting in a movie promptly results in a live duel with the young one over here.

Glad you liked the screenshots!

DKoren said...

You're not really missing anything. There's scattered moments in 2 & 3 that are nice, but the whole... not so much. The fourth one is an improvement, but still nowhere near as great as the first one.

DKoren said...

Aww, glad you enjoyed reading about our memories. It was fun to chat about it with Hamlette, that's for sure! The fourth one is much more fun than 2&3. I own the first and the fourth, but skip the middle two.

Hamlette (Rachel) said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Kara! I was a little worried no one would be interested in our ramblings but us.

Just rewatched the 4th one, and it was diverting and fun, but didn't hold a candle to the first. Still, not entirely silly, and worth a watch. Plus... Ian McShane as Blackbeard!!!

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