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.