The Pirates franchise is a lucrative one to say the least. Taking in billions of dollars, while capturing the hearts of movie fans around the world. Obviously, the quality of the sequels aren’t on par with Curse of the Black Pearl. These films are guilty pleasures of mine, and as a kid I looked forward to them. It’s a bit nostalgic for me, but having revisited them, the films do have problems. I won’t be ranking the films this time around, it’s no secret that from best to worst the list goes 1-4. So, I’ll just be giving my thoughts on the franchise as a whole.
Curse of the Black Pearl is one of my favorite films in general. Director Gore Verbinski did a great job capturing the visuals. When you’re out on the high seas, getting views from these ships, it does something to you. You’re in aw the entire time. What you really love about it is the characters, Captain Jack Sparrow in particular. Johnny Depp has you mesmerized as soon as he pops on the screen. You know you’re in for something special as soon as you see him high up above his ship coming to shore, with that theme playing during the scene. Truly iconic. People were really skeptical, a movie based on a ride, to that point was kind of unheard of. Naturally people scratched their heads, fast forward to 2017 and now there’s new projects based on Disneyland rides going into development all the time. Pirates was the film that broke ground in that regard.
The performances from Orlando Bloom as Will Turner and Keira Knightly as Elizabeth Swann are terrific as well. They light up the screen when they’re together. The chemistry is palpable. Geoffrey Rush as Barbuda was a stand out too, his character so beloved that they brought him back for the third, after not appearing in the second.
The sequels are all pretty forgettable. Dead Mans Chest, the first sequel, being the best of the last three. Still a let down for sure. It took these films from a fun action adventure to three hours of visual noise. Verbinski made these films bloated with unnecessary plot points, making you want to just close your eyes and fall asleep in your seat. The team behind the scenes really made their jobs difficult. Pirates of the Caribbean doesn’t have to be this plodding mess. The last three films should’ve been more fun, like the first was. Curse of the Black Pearl was witty with its comedy, gorgeous action and visuals, with stellar performances. Dead Mans Chest, At Worlds End, and On Stranger Tides all complicate the lore, and make you sit through three hours of nothingness.
This franchise is too heavy to say the least. Curse of the Black Pearl is beloved by action/adventure fans, the sequels really let fans down. Hopefully the fifth installment can be better than those films, and set course back towards the Black Pearl, and off Stranger Tides.