Saturday, February 08, 2003

AICN has a nifty article up about this summer's film Pirates of the Caribbean. While the whole idea of Disney making movies not from folktales and legends but from the rides in its theme parks may seem goofy*, I'm actually looking forward to this film and am hoping that it's good. This is because I'm something of a junkie for a good pirate film. Of course, as a genre the pirate film is fairly limited, but there's something about a tall ship, sails filled with the wind, with cannons a-thundering and a crew of scruffy-looking men wielding cutlasses shouting things like "We're sucking the wind out of the Spaniard's sails, Cap'n!" that never fails to make me smile. Unfortunately, pirate films have pretty much fallen by the wayside over the last few decades, which is probably inevitable given the limited nature of the genre and the fact that you really can't hope to improve on Errol Flynn. (Though Burt Lancaster, in The Crimson Pirate, gave it a really good try by eschewing the traditional pirate-stuff like swordplay in favor of acrobatics that have to be seen to be believed.) Cutthroat Island was a decent film that didn't deserve to flop as badly as it did, but it wasn't anything special either. For a pirate film to succeed these days, it would have to sport a screenplay of Raiders of the Lost Ark quality. (Yes, I tried writing one once. No, it didn't turn out well.)

I don't know if Pirates of the Caribbean will be any good, but I hope it is. This is a genre that might not need a fullscale rebirth, but it at least warrants being taken out of the drawer and dusted off now and then.

* Starting with The Country Bears -- which I did not see but which looked just awful -- Disney has apparently decided that the rides in its themeparks that are not currently tied to a movie are to be so tied, poste haste. Hence the Pirates of the Caribbean movie and the Haunted Mansion movie. I wonder what the Space Mountain movie will be like, or if they'll do a gonzo-Western for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. I'm not sure I want to see a Hall of Presidents movie, and by gum, there'd better not be any attempt at a Carousel of Progress movie. Oh, and while we're at it, could we possibly get Song of the South released from whatever bizarre purgatory it's been consigned to?

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