Wednesday, 30 May 2007

At the Movies, with L. Harlot

So, Pirates of the Carob-bean, Part the Third: I'm sorry indeed, very, very sorry, to have to report that it wasn't a patch on Part the First. That first encounter with Captain Jack Sparrow, all those years ago, it changed my life, it did. Up until that fateful day, I'd been studious, law-abiding and suspicious of inebriates. Two hours of Cap'n Jack later, and I lurched out of the cinema, grabbed the nearest baguette, used it to intimidate the man in the grog shop while I made off with eight gallons of rum, and then rolled them all the way down to the nearest watercourse (which happened to be the sewerage canal in Leichhardt), while I planned my inaugural act of cunning and derring-do. I feigned intoxication for days, started talking to parrots, and cultivated an off-balance piratical swagger.

Part the Second
was high on gore and gratuitous supernaturalism, but everyone knows it's hard being a middle child, so I forgave it its weird fishmen and its lack of plot resolution and the way earnest Keira Knightley and boring Orlando Bloom got in the way of Depp's swash and buckle. But Part the Third, I was sure, would bring me back to the dangerously alluring world of Part the First. I turned up at the cinema on Tuesday night as row-ho-ho as they come, ready to outwit the East India Company and then some. But no, no outwitting. The East India Company gets defeated by a corny deus ex machina (or the ghost-ship-rearing-suddenly-out-of-the-sea equivalent). We have to work through Orlando Bloom's Moral Conundrum: do you save your barnacle-encrusted dad or let it all hang out with Keira Knightley for the rest of your life? (Here I'm obliged to note that if I'd wanted ethical thought experiments I would have stayed home and read my Simone Weil.) We have to put up with the poxy romantic Bloom-and-Knightley subplot (which - maybe it was the boat thing, or the presence of iceburgs, or the music - reminded us unpleasantly of Titanic). The opening sequence - a public hanging, where one of the victims, a child, starts singing, and all the other convicts start singing too, stamping their feet in time, as the guards edge away nervously - promised heart-thrilling mutiny, a struggle against oppression, soprano alto tenor bass. And then we cut to a Singaporean sewer and that's the last we hear of revolution-by-choir.

On a happier note, we do get a close-up of Johnny Depp's nose. It has pores. And for all that she'll irritate mythologians of a Greco-Roman persuasion, the Rastafarian Calypso character is way cool. Cooler than Bloom and Knightley, anyway, who just stand around looking pretty and being serious and having the odd snog.

21 comments:

nailpolishblues said...

Ugh. I really can't stand Orlando Bloom without elf ears and long blonde locks. Still worse if he's lip-locked with Keira.

Sorry it didn't work out.

Karen said...

From what I understand from the scant attention I played to the first installment, much of the film was built around the ambiguous attraction that the Knightley character felt towards the Depp character and her temptation to opt for this over the more humdrum attractions of Bloom. If they've done away with that, they've really shot themselves in the foot. Don't these people know their market? Just put Depp in the pirate suit and follow him around, Hornblower-style. You don't need the others!

Now I know there's a hanging scene I definitely can't watch it. I can't watch anything with a hanging scene, even if it involves singing. This is the principal reason why I don't like Westerns.

TimT said...

Bugger Hornblower, it's about time they did another film based on Mr Midshipman Easy. Witness Captain Friderick Marryat's awesome punning power in this passage from the opening chapter:

Which the reader will find very easy to read.

Mr Nicodemus Easy was a gentleman who lived down in Hampshire; he was a married man, and in very easy circumstances. Most couples find it very easy to have a family, but not always quite so easy to maintain them. Mr Easy was not at all uneasy on the latter score, as he had no children; but he was anxious to have them, as most people covet what they cannot obtain. After ten years, Mr Easy gave it up as a bad job.

Karen said...

Bugger Hornblower

Now you can't be my friend!

You must be slipping, for you missed this nice and slightly vulgar bit, just a paragraph down:

While Mr Easy talked philosophy, Mrs Easy played patience, and they
were a very happy couple, riding side by side on their hobbies, and
never interfering with each other. Mr Easy knew his wife could not
understand him, and therefore did not expect her to listen very
attentively; and Mrs Easy did not care how much her husband talked,
provided she was not put out in her game. Mutual forbearance will
always ensure domestic felicity.


The life and times of Mr Midshipman Easy would certainly make a fine film, although I fear it probably wouldn't be a suitable vehicle for Mr Depp. The swashbuckling bad boy must never be married, for there must always be a slim chance that he'll get around to breaking the heart of each and every audience member eventually too.

TimT said...

I first read this book in my early teens, and I loved that sentence: 'Mutual forbearance will always ensure domestic felicity.'

It took me a while to work out what it meant, but: 'Mutual forbearance will always ensure domestic felicity.'

How true it is!

Karen said...

I don't think one is supposed to come to that conclusion at our age! You've got at least another ten years before you should be thinking that.

Gosh, you read some interesting things as a teenager. You really need to read Tristram Shandy though.

Anonymous said...

It's funny that sex out of wedlock is not OK in a Disney movie but roguish alcoholism is. Not to mention stabbings and shootings.

I wouldn't call that a deus ex machina; I mean, not to spoil, but we are already waiting for the return of the sail-powered submarine. Not that the plot is exactly streamlined.

Maybe the pores are part of the Keith Richards thing. Maybe they are meant as the early signs of pocks. Were those two really supposed to be brothers? That part was silly.

JahTeh said...

That's a crappy review, go away and write another one and this time make me want to see the movie in Gold Class not on the cheap.

That could have been your trouble, you know, not comfortable enough.

alexis said...

"Bugger Hornblower"? Tim, you know not of what you speak. I've got a friend who chairs the Hornblower Appreciation Society in Sydney, and b*gg*ring Hornblower is where it's at, I hear.

Anon, I think Keith Richards was meant to be Sparrow's dad.

Jahteh, there's footage of Johnny Depp licking things, and the music is super, and the weather does some fascinating things.

nailpolishblues said...

Johnny Depp licking things is definitely worth Gold Class.

TimT said...

I have read Hornblower. The plot is like Marryat without the bizarre slapstick moments; and the prose is like working-day science fiction with the longwinded technical passages but without the occasional attacks by ten-headed Venusian monsters to keep things moving along. At the end of the book, if I recall correctly, they all lost. And as if to thumb his nose at his readers, Forrester actually went out of his way to make Hornblower as uninteresting and unsympathetic as possible (he's tone deaf and doesn't enjoy music.)

I understand that Hornblower devotees nowadays derive a great deal of pleasure from the Ioan Gruffud television series - I admit, I did enjoy it myself.

Karen said...

I have not ventured into the Hornblower books, so you could well be right. He may be unappealing, but isn't it just a fantastic name?

(Apologies to all for diverting the thread away from Depp).

alexis said...

Yes, methinks Ioan Gruffudd has played an unduly significant role in recruiting for the Hornblower Appreciation Society. And yes, fantastic name. "Double entendre" doesn't even begin to describe it.

Karen said...

This may shock you, but I had to google "Ioan Gruffudd". I was so excited by the period drama/seadog angles that I didn't even notice the actor!

Adrian said...

Thanks for that! This is the review I have waited for, possibly all my life. There aren't enough critiques of the Deppster's pores (a glaring overbite...I mean, oversight).

Now if you could just go and see Zodiac and review Jake Gyllenhaal's eyelashes...

alexis said...

Adrian, will do. Soon.

JahTeh said...

Karen I can't believe you haven't heard of Ioan Gruffudd? Forget him in The Fantastic Four, he is at his best in a cravat and gold frogging. Pardon me while I go away and drool or I'll short out the keyboard.

Johnny Depp licking, a definite plus for Gold Class.

Karen said...

Ah well, I guess I'm just not a connoisseur. But at least my not knowing has given you the opportunity to remember!

TimT said...

Read a spiffing* review in The Spectator today of Pirates by Deborah Ross. She labels Mr Bloom 'Borelando' and notes Keira Knightley's 'quivering lip' style of acting by remarking: 'what does it cost to get a girl to act with her whole face these days?'

*I get this way everytime I read British publications. I'm sorry, I promise to reform.

Maria said...

My mother's recent review of Pirates was that she didn't realise it was the Third in the series of a set of movies, and she thought it was an animation. She didn't notice that was actually Johnny Depp.

Her-hum.

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