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May 26, 2007



Well, falling asleep at Pirates 2 just shows good sense. (: I thought the first one was a lot of fun (I grew up on Errol Flynn movies, and enjoyed Depp's spaced-out spin on that archetype), but the second one was a gigantic floating turd, the epitome of mindless, bullying incoherence-- "What do you mean, you don't like me? But I'm so *popular* that you HAVE to!" (I want to add that I love both blockbusters and popular films-- hooray for your star wars post!--but P2 just felt mean, like being mugged by, well, a drunken sailor). I remember seeing it opening weekend, and the projector bulb fritzing out towards one of the film's many climaxes. There were groans in the theater, and I said to my friends, "Maybe the projector is just staging its own aesthetic protest." Truly, truly a wretched film.

But Ben Grimm as Jack Sparrow? GREAT idea! (:

Mark Engblom

""What do you mean, you don't like me? But I'm so *popular* that you HAVE to!"

That's definitely part of the problem, too. Though I'm a complete lemming for most sci-fi/fantasy event movies, I'm just not falling for the hype on this one. Even the previews were tedious and mildly irritating...I can't imagine enduring it for nearly 3 hours.


Pirates is a TERRIBLE franchise. The first one had its moments, tough it was about an act too long, but the second?

They took Depp's brilliant but over-advertized idea to play Sparrow as a cross between Keith Richards and Bugs Bunny and incorporated it into the film. Ergo, lots of Road Runner-type slapstick.

What worked in the previous film was the outrageousness of the character so out of place with the genre/environment. Now that the franchise has moved to Loony Tunes territory, it's just par for the course and just a lot of mugging for the camera.

But worst of all, the film makers couldn't decide who this movie was for. The cartoon stuff and general marketing would indicate younger kids, but then it also starts with a crow pulling an eye out of a corpse. Dreadful. Throw in NO ENDING, SEE YOU NEXT SUMMER SUCKERS and you just made sure I would avoid Part 3 for the rest of my life.

Mark Engblom

You're right, Siskoid. They really don't seem to know (or care) who they're aiming this film at. I get tired of seeing very young children watching stuff like the crow plucking the eyeball, etc....and their clueless parents oblivious to the really scary stuff bombarding their minds. Oh well, I guess I'm just one of those old-fashioined fuddy duddies.

I've heard the opening totals aren't going to surpass Spidey 3, which everyone was crowing was almost a slam-dunk. In the words of Nelson from The Simpsons: "HAH hah!" My guess is that the Memorial Day weekend offers enough distractions for families that movies are a bit lower on the priority list, thereby sapping Pirates of the butts in the seats it needed to win the stupid horse race.


I almost went to a matinée this weekend, but when I checked the 2 theatres (16 screens in all), Pirates was showing on 10 of those screens (with Spider-Man 3 and Shrek 3 using the rest). I've never seen so little variety (1 other film was showing in each after 9 PM). Is this the strategy now to inflate opening weekends?

Needless to say, I stayed home.


Thank goodness for the internet!

I'd begun to think that aside from my girlfriend, I was the only person on the PLANET who hated the Pirates sequels with a firey passion.

I think the thing about the franchise is the same thing that's wrong with Disney and their straight-to-video sequels. You've got this great movie - say, Aladdin or The Lion King or Beauty and the Beast - which is this perfect little story that has a beginning and a middle and an end. Then someone has to come along and capitalize on the slighty open-ended conclusion and make a sub-par sequel.

I thought the original Pirates, if not overly sophisticated, to be a great bundle of cinema fun. It had a decent enough plot, and each characters' arc was completed by the end of the film.

And then they had to come around with the completely over-the-top and way-too-bloated sequels, which are in no way on the same level as the originals.

Bah! BAH, I say!


Mark Engblom

Well, guys...judging by the box office totals, we appear to be in the minority when it comes to not liking the Pirate movies.

Siskoid: 10 screens? Insane.

Matt: I see your two "BAHs" and I'll raise you another "BAH!". You're right...Disney's in a really bad place right now. They were once the company that could do no wrong (legend has it they gave Pixar a crash course in storytelling during the original Toy Story), but everything seems to have completely unraveled for them (especially in the animation department). Maybe after the Pirates films have run their course, we can look forward to more movies based on Disneyworld rides. Just imagine, audiences flocking to The Hall of Presidents: Executive Order, Assault on Space Mountain, or It's a Small World: United in Vengeance!.


Personally, I'm waiting for "It's a Small World, After All," with Hilary Duff. Of course, as I type this I remember that they actually did make another crudy theme park-themed movie: The Country Bears. At least I managed to skip that one.

As for P3's box office (and since that's what its acolytes bash us over the head with, it seems fair to focus on it), it's $30-$40 million under expectations. Disney's spinning it like mad, but that has to be something of a disappointment, esp. given the four-day weekend.

Dare I ask what anyone thinks of the upcoming Fantastic Four movie? The previews look fun, at least-- and better than the last one (although I didn't think the first one was *awful*).


oops! didn't see you'd already scooped me on the small world movie joke. Your title's better, anyway. (: Maybe we could combine forces and cast both Duff and, say, Vin Diesel-- I'd love to see his chromed numbskull dome chasing down rogue animatron children, screaming "I'll see you in HELL!," as a giant fireball exploded behind him, and Duff sang on a karaoke stage. Box office gold, I tell you!


Also- matt and siskoid-- just found your blogs through your linked posts. Great spaces!


Thanks Cinephile.

Mark: 10 screens for a town of no more than 100,000 inhabitants. Just to put it in perspective.

And don't give them any ideas ;)

Mark Engblom


"as I type this I remember that they actually did make another crudy theme park-themed movie: The Country Bears."

...and don't forget the Haunted Mansion movie starring Eddie Murphy!

"Dare I ask what anyone thinks of the upcoming Fantastic Four movie?"

I'm cautiously looking forward to it. Their audacity to adapt one of the greatest Lee and Kirby stories (Silver Surfer/Galactus) is admirable, and the imagery looks amazing (especially the Surfer), but you can count on the Hollywood guys screwing up the works at some point. The previews occasionally feature an inane plot point where the F.F. randomly swap powers (presumably because of the Surfer's cosmic mojo)...and as we all know, "wacky" seldom bodes well for a superhero film (and long-suffering fans). It at least looks better than the first one which, while it wasn't a complete wipe-out (it had its moments), was pretty underwhelming. Whatever the case, I'll be there.

Oh, and your idea on the Duff-Diesel collaboration was pure gold. Just hearing their polar-opposite voice pitches in the same scene guarantees laughs galore.


Wow. That's definitely overkill. I think that's what Disney's strategy was: Get the biggest box office by upping the screen numbers to the point of parody. I don't know all the ins and outs of the movie business, but would the money to buy that many screens come directly from Disney? In other words, it would seem these movie studios, theoretically, can "buy" their record-breaking status by securing enough movie theatres. Is that correct?

If so, a big Nelson "HAH hah!" for Disney.


Thanks for the kudos, Cin.

You know, a similar thing is happening at my local multiplex - I'm not sure how many screens any given film is showing on, but the only three flicks playing are Spider-Man 3, Pirates, and Shrek 3.

Mark - can you even do that? Throw money at a given theatre and say "I want THIS many screens?" I didn't think the film companies had that much control over what was played when anymore - I thought the theatres themselves had more of a say in the matter.



I think there are deals between studios and cineplex franchises. For example, one theater here would exclusively have Paramount releases and special previews or promotions, while the other would not. Since then, Empire Theaters has bought that theater out (it now has all cinemas in the area), and Disney seems to have a deal with Empire. At least, judging from in-theater marketing, number of screens, previews, promotions, etc.

Jon H

"legend has it they gave Pixar a crash course in storytelling during the original Toy Story"

Actually, Disney's flood of 'suggestions' produced a monster that they then tried to kill:

Disney, which was bankrolling the project, peppered the young animators with notes and suggestions. The story was too juvenile, the higher-ups said, and the characters had to be edgier. Afraid to trust themselves, Lasseter and his crew tried to follow all the directions.
It was, nearly everyone agrees, a train wreck. Disney hated the movie and the idea -- and shut it down.

Mark Engblom

Hey, Jon! Thanks for the background information! I should have known it was Disney all along that put the hex on Toy Story. Good thing the movie somehow turned out to be the classic it was, despite Disney's interference and Pixar's understandable second-guessing of their own storytelling instincts.

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