Friday, May 20, 2011


I haven't seen Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides yet, but I plan to. We're big fans of the Pirates movies here at Casa Jaquandor, and we're looking forward to this one.

However, I'm reading a lot of tepid-to-hostile reviews of the movie, which might give ma pause, except that many of these reviews are clearly written by people who probably shouldn't be seeing the thing in the first place.

Example, from Associated Press

With the (unexplained) absence of Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley this time around, Depp's Sparrow is now front and center -- he's almost the voice of reason -- rather than the bejeweled and eyelinered clown riffing in the corner, commenting on the action.

"Unexplained" absence? It's only "unexplained" if you didn't bother paying attention to the ending of the previous movie.

And there's this, from Roger Ebert, whom I almost always respect:

Before seeing "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," I had already reached my capacity for "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies, and with this fourth installment, my cup runneth over.

Look. I don't care if it's your job to review movies or not, but if you can honestly lead off your review by saying "I never wanted to see another of these again", then maybe you just should have recused yourself from reviewing it for your paper this time out. This kind of thing is as mystifying to me as when newspapers run reviews of science fiction books written by people who state up front that they don't much like reading science fiction.

And the other thing I see a lot is referrences to the previous two Pirates films as too confusing and hard to follow, complaints for which I have absolutely no sympathy. In fact, if you couldn't follow those two movies, then I have to wonder just what kinds of movies you can follow.

I don't know if I'll like On Stranger Tides or not, but that's not the point. I'm just tired of seeing movie reviews like these, which will stake claims to being "objective" in their assessments while betraying a clear ignorance of the subject matter on one hand, or an outright chip-on-the-shoulder on the other, both of which give the lie to so-called critical "objectivity".


Aaron said...

We've got tickets for Saturday night. I know some people who seem to fall into the same camp as Ebert, responding with "Another one?" I for one think if they can manage new and compelling stories, there could be several more that continue to be great movies.

Roger Owen Green said...

I agree that there are critics with chips on their shoulders who review movies.
That said, I've read a lot of stuff, even from the filmmakers themselves (maybe in EW?), before PotC4 was released that #2 and especially #3 were a bit unfocused.

Kelly Sedinger said...

Roger: Well, the proof is in the eating, isn't it? I would agree that the scripts could have used one more pass-through to tighten things up a bit, but that's a far cry from saying that the films were incomprehensible messes. I don't claim that 2 and 3 are perfect films, by any stretch, but I'm amazed at the sheer numbers of intelligent people who can't seem to wrap their heads around plots that are complex but not that complex.