The Pirates of the Caribbean movies are one of the most loved movie franchises in the world. From Tortuga to Shipwreck cove, these movies have touched the hearts (be they in a chest or not) and souls of many landlubbers but they’ve sadly gone the way of the Kraken, driven to extinction, not by Davy Jones, nor by the East India Trading Company, nor the Spanish – but by lacklustre sequels and general disinterest. So crack open a bottle of rum and find out How to Fix: Pirates of the Caribbean…Savvy?
- Kill off Jack Sparrow…Permanently – A daring choice to start the list but killing the main annoyance of the franchise seems the only logical step. The first plight of Jack Sparrow, sorry, Captain Jack Sparrow, in Curse of the Black Pearl is one that was humorous and frankly quite fresh. A drunken Keith Richards in a pirate costume. What’s not to love? Well when you effectively make him immortal and frankly infuriating annoying across three more movies than everything I’m afraid. The wit and jokes have all gone the way of Blackbeard and crumbled to dust and it needs to be changed. A fresh new lead with a different persona would allow the mincing Captain a fitting end. A new lead. A female lead perhaps? Someone with Elizabeth Swann’s hardened attitude? Anyone but Johnny Depp. For the first film, he received an Academy Award nomination for his role as the bumbling pirate in 2003.
But sequel, after sequel after sequel proved the pirate’s portray going somewhat salty. Giving a new lease of life might not only give the films something different about them, but also might give Depp the ability to actually perform in good movies again and give him more creative spark, the movie Black Mass proved that. Jack Sparrow should have been left in the locker in the third film and his death should have been almost like martyr-like. Please let this be the day we finally catch Captain Jack Sparrow.
- No more callbacks – “I’ll be back”, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this”, “Hasta la Vista, baby”, “Come with me if you want to live”, “Yippee-Ki-Motherfucker”, “You Damn dirty ape.” Remember these? Of course you do. They’re some of the most overused movie catchphrases of all time. Why have I chosen these ones? Because they all have stupid number of sequels that all became worse over time. Terminator, Star Wars, Planet of the Apes, Die Hard. All are mere jokes compared to their originals. And the Pirates of the Caribbean movies are not exception to this. References to rum – “Why is all the rum gone”, “ay and the rum”, “Captain…Jack Sparrow”, “let this be the day you almost caught Captain Jack Sparrow”, “savvy?” and of course “Sea Turtles.” Each movie is filled with these overused quips that started out funny, but like the movies came they’re in, just fall flat every time. Cut out the crap. Cut out these lines as they’re becoming part of the parody problem that the films are facing these days. Like killing off Sparrow, taking the series in a new direction is far more important than reminding every audience member of that one line that one time. Savvy?
- No more world domination plot lines – I honestly swear this is becoming a recurring gripe of mine on ‘How to Fix.’ Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, was a wonderful movie in the summer of 2003. It blew away the competition and was quite frankly a breath of fresh air to a near dead pirate genre. The film itself revolved around Sparrow getting his ship back and the ghostly crew of Barbossa wanting the gold. That was pretty much it. Now it’s: get the fountain of youth and control the seas, use Davy Jones’s heart to rule the seas and now the newest film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead men tell Salazar’s no revenge tale, features the Trident of Poseidon which allows the wielder to control the seas. All these world domination plots in movies these days. What made the first one so enlightening was that it was a small but well-developed story. Big shows filled with everything everywhere just don’t wow audiences anymore and probably never will again.
- Get better fight scenes – Do you like fight scenes that take place atop the mast of a ship as it circles a maelstrom in a storm? How about a sword fight on a runaway watermill through a jungle? Or the claustrophobic streets of Singapore? Yes the fight scenes are well choreographed and fast paced. But that is because they are edited this way. They are made to look exciting. In actual fact they are dull video game cut scenes that bore the senses as they are all the same. Characters with minimal motivations who wont die because of the fight as they are central to the plot, meaning that all tension is invalid, and with the odd irritating joke crammed in for little babies and dumb audience members. This is the same problem with the fights in the Star Wars prequels. They just have no emotion to them. PotC should take notes from Star Wars: the Force Awakens ending battle, where Rey and Kylo fought with emotion and no fancy choreography, just raw emotion driving every jab and thrust. An exciting fight revolves around the character’s emotions, not campy, over the top, bulls**t.
- No more prophecies – This doesn’t just count for Pirates, but Hollywood as a whole. Audiences are tired of boring prophecies, the purpose of them being only to advance the plot. Why have I chosen to attack PotC for this? There was an annoying prophecy in On Stranger Ties and there will be in the newest film apparently. Stop. This is just lazy writing and it highlights your lack of original ideas if you have to make up some magical story just for your movie to take place. “There is a prophecy…Why? Because movie.” This leads me onto my next point…
- No more mystical mumbo-jumbo – It is not just prophecies that are ruining the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. A giant squid monster that destroys boats? A man who can grant an afterlife of servitude who can only be killed by stabbing his heart, which isn’t in his body, and you can control him if you own it? The fountain of youth? A sword that can control a boat and its rigging? mermaids? zombies? the sea being a goddess? Confused that all these feature in a film about drunken pirates? I know I am…The first film was intriguing with the whole undead crew thing, but I thought it would stop there and that the next film was just going to be a typical pirate film. Boy was I wrong. Giant Squids, fishy crews, mermaids, the fountain of youth and three crappy sequels later we’re still entwined with mystical nonsense that really doesn’t belong in a film about blood thirsty pirates. Yes, I hear you cry, these are films for families. But I want Bloody pirates. Not ones that have to change the words rape for raid just to appeal to families. Go away! Let me have a bone-crunching tale of swash-buckling pirating adventures on the high seas that is realistic to the point where mystical intervention isn’t needed just to make the scripts work.
- Hire actually good directors – Surely any film franchise should do this before putting pen to paper on a script? Apparently not in Disney’s case. Need I remind you of how embarrassing At World’s End was? Or the shambolic cash-grab that was On Stranger Tides? No. Please. Anything but those films! Dead men tell no tales or Salazar’s Revenge or whatever they’re calling Pirates 5 these days will have the directors from the embarrassingly average Netflix series Marco Polo. One of only four Netflix original series to be cancelled. And they thought hiring these directors was a good idea? Christ. The earlier films in the franchise are hardly Shakespeare but surely you have to pick someone with some decent credits to their name? Marco Polo was interesting, for about 4 minutes. The historical accuracy was considerably skew-whiff, although that’ll play into the franchise’s ideology of just using the term Pirates loosely. If the franchise is going to go into a new direction and away from the embarrassment of the previous films, it needs to hire someone amazing to steer the wayward ship. What about Edgar Wright? Imagine a Pirates of the Caribbean film directed by Edgar Wright? I was going to list others but no, that. I want that!
- Or, just stop making them? – Perhaps it’ll be easier to ignore all the seven other points on the list and rest the franchise. Kill of Jack and Hector and focus your time and effort into making something new. Something original. Something that doesn’t have Johnny Depp masquerading around doing a drunken Keith Richards impression. The Pirates films have become massive compared to what the original idea was thought to be. This is of course a good thing, but at the same time, the sad chimes are playing as the colours are hoisted one final time. If this next film is bad and I know that everyone including myself doesn’t want it to be, then it’ll question what is good about the franchise but also Hollywood. It is common knowledge that Hollywood play it safe and just want money and will use any well received name in order to make a quick buck. Rest this beloved, tired ship and build a new fleet. Otherwise, Pirates of the Caribbean will join the likes of Marvel movies, Superman movies and Indiana Jones as part of the damned crew. Part of the ship, part of the crew. Part of the ship, part of the crew.
Pirates of the Caribbean holds a place in everyone’s hearts. It started out as an enjoyable experience that became sour due to poor scripts, embarrassing acting, questionable stories, unnecessary sequels and lack of direction. The trailers for Salazar’s revenge look promising and it seems like the series is going back to its roots. Trailers can be deceiving and only time will tell. Drink up me hearties, for there’s a franchise that needs fixing.
What do you think about the state of the franchise? Do you think the new trailer shows a step in a new direction? Leave a comment and let me know!