Travel the High Seas (at home) w/ "Pirates of the Caribbean"!
At a time like this where the urge to travel heightens, the weather warms, and the Covid-19 pandemic rolls into its third wave, there is no better time than to travel and experience an adventure, at home! With all five Pirates of the Caribbean at your disposal on Disney+, I dare say it is the perfect time to embark on a seafaring journey across unchartered waters and around the globe. Here to break down why anyone loves Pirates of the Caribbean, and which films are worth and perhaps not so worth watching (truly which have stayed afloat or sunk), FLIX is ready to catapult your weekend into one of quest-filled adventures!
First things first, let’s talk about why Pirates of the Caribbean is an enjoyable for all ages (but probably even more so for an older crowd) film franchise, that still wins the hearts and eyes of many people even after so many years and quite frankly, so many films. Because Pirates of the Caribbean is a theme park attraction at any Disneyland or Disneyworld, it is easy to see why the film series can adhere to kids and pre-teens – what with already being familiar with the sense of courage, adventure and fantasy the Pirates of the Caribbean theme boasts. But it’s the innuendos, inside jokes and cheeky remarks in the script that only adults would understand, that make it fun to watch the older you get as well! Such comments are vital to the character creation and development of many of the characters in this series – Captain Jack Sparrow being the obvious example here – and so not only do we get humour added to the genre list of this film series, but it also helps an older audience feel connected to the storyline and subsequently, the films. But wait, what exactly do I mean by “connected”? By “connected” to a story I simply mean that relatability between the viewer and something in their lives, with something that was said or seen in the film. The type of jokes for example you’ll find in these films can be stereotypical, yet it’s the truth that lies behind them that not only makes you laugh but, creates that link to your life and the story which thus makes the story seem less outlandish, no matter how outlandish it may be! When Captain Jack Sparrow gets slapped by women pretty much any time he is in Tortuga, he is almost always deserving yet taken aback. Now when the motives of such actions are revealed and them almost always being fair, I’m sure many men can relate to such reactions which in turn creates that personal link or connection to the film or story! When any pirate prioritizes rum or looks seriously heart broken when there is none, that already makes me and I’m sure many other people laugh and invoke the simple yet completely encapsulating response of “same.” The result of all these connections? The fact that it is very hard to grow tired of Pirates of the Caribbean!
What’s more is of course the fact that, Pirates of the Caribbean has some wondrous film locations like Hawaii, Australia, Saint Vincent, Dominica, The Bahamas (or in a massive pool or anywhere in California), but even then the expedition and journey at sea feels so real. And when you come across those beautiful unmarked and deserted islands with white sands, lush palm trees and clear light blue waters, I’m sure they too make your eyeballs drool, if they could! I don’t know about you, but I never get tired of such sights. And in dull times such as these where not only travel is restricted but activities overall, what better way to “do” something than to embark on a quest to find treasure, break curses, reunite long lost lovers, or fight off the British Royal Navy or Pirates with all the bravery and courage that can be mustered! And of course, it isn't the viewer who is carrying out such tasks, but it sure does feel like it when you watch these films and that’s what is important here! The sense of adventure and taste of freedom runs strong throughout this film franchise, and as far as I’m concerned there truly is no better time to feel the transcendence of such things (right from the comfort or discomfort of your own home).
Now let’s get to the nitty gritty of this franchise: which films are a floating ship, and which have completely sunk. By my standards both Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest are not only afloat but equally amazing (a rare find as usually the second of anything is not as good as the first, unless you count The Incredibles). Both the aforementioned films not only introduce a new storyline that intrigue and are riddled with hardships, triumphs horrors and love stories, but they also have distinct characters that are humorous all in their own ways and who each fall into the binary of good or bad – so really there is something (or someone) for everyone. That being said, all I can now say is that truly no more detail is required for the first two Pirates of the Caribbean films because they're just that good, and worth the watch no matter what! Next we have Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, which clearly picks up where Dead Man’s Chest was left however it definitely isn't as amazing as the first two films. Although At World’s End brings us to distant waters, provides encounters with distant folk and Pirate Lords, is consumed with legends and magic that are curious and exciting, and boasts probably the most epic of love stories that will send shivers down your spine, I found there was too much happening which sadly took away from the story and film. To me, the many role reversals of the characters changed the story from what it was in the first and second film – which sucks because the stories were so good in both those films! Second, there is an introduction of many new people and although some characters are interesting and the Pirate Lords are a necessary introduction for when the Brethren Court is summoned, it makes At World’s End feel “crowded” which takes away from the story yet again, because we grow more and more distant from the original cast and characters and the journey they’ve brought us on over the years and films. But, despite the aforementioned “grievances” this third Pirates of the Caribbean film is pretty good, just not great like the first two.
Now for the films which I believe have “sunk”, we have the fourth film On Stranger Tides – which I put off watching until this week, April 2021, because it is the worst film of all, so far. Although there is a slight tie to the third film with the quest for the Fountain of Youth being on the same map needed in At World’s End to find Davy Jones’ Locker, it is a fairly weak tie and the fact that only Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbossa are the recurrent characters is sad, because I want the whole team! Nonetheless, On Stranger Tides is an all-new cast, a not so interesting story, way more special effects and less outdoor filming, and basically just a time filler for the ten years gap that starts at the end of the third film. Since the latter is true, I understand why everything might be so different and have little correlation to the earlier works and story… but still it probably could have been a lot better. Fast forward now to 2017 with the current “last” Pirates of the Caribbean, we have the fifth film Dead Men Tell No Tales. This film was better than the fourth even though it has some serious fallbacks of its own, purely because it is more connected to At World’s End with the quest here being Will Turner’s son trying to break his father free from his curse. However, the film starts off with “nine years later” which to me means the fourth film actually wasn’t needed at all! If you were going to skip past all those years with that small bit of text, you could have just done so from the “beginning” (being the end of At World’s End) and saved us from the “irrelevant” and standalone feel On Stranger Tides gave off. This fifth Pirates of the Caribbean is a “good effort” to try and get back to the grandeur and extremities of the first three films, however bad special effects, too much special effects, a poor script, and a super weird accent even for Javier Bardem makes this film fall short from the top tier. The only real saving grace for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is the fact that is has most of the original cast, even if the characters are not the “main” characters of this story. And I’m a big fan of Kaya Scodelario so that was just brownie points awarded to this film, for me. My verdict? The fourth is a sunken ship and the fifth being not that bad means it’s afloat… but barely.
All in all, my premium tip on how to watch Pirates of the Caribbean is this: watch the first three, skip the fourth and endure the fifth because the ending is worth it. Following this means any viewer is still sure to experience the high seas from their sofa or bed, the sense of adventure and taste of freedom Covid-19 is currently in real-time blocking us from feeling, and enjoy the countless laughs, dirty jokes, cheeky remarks, and personality that only our beloved Captain Jack Sparrow can provide. Talk about “yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me!”
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