Every film series can’t live up to the respectability established by others. Trilogies like the classic Star Wars and
Infernal Affairs mix danger and drama excellently. Even action-based trilogies like Bourne can establish
themselves as well made pieces of narrative. It goes with out saying that there are many others that suffer from sharp decline in quality as more and more films are added to a series.
The Black Pearl
A hard PG-13 movie with Disney at its helm, immediate clamor rose for the first Pirates of the Caribbean during its marketing period. It seemed the company that had been known to masterfully create animated films might have been stepping far out of familiar tides, but this film had all the makings of an instant classic. Curse of the Black Pearl boasted an original storyline with captivating characters. By the time the ending credits began to roll, you felt satisfaction from seeing the movie through to the end. The final moments of the film tied up loose ends and sent Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) free to travel the seas as he saw fit. No need for a sequel there.
Dead Man’s Chest
Of course, there was speculation as to where exactly Captain Sparrow sailed off to at the end of the first film. Thus, the second was spawned and the popularity of the first propelled it to a moderately deserved place at the box office. Nonetheless, the magic of the original was dampened. More nauseating was the cliffhanger conclusion that told viewers a direct sequel was planned.
At World’s End
Finally, the cataclysmic final moments of the Pirate’s trilogy came to fruition in At World’s End, one of the worst sequels anyone could have invested in. The humor from the first movie becomes so overused by this point that it is no longer humorous. Attempts at fresh humor fall short as well: it’s clear that even the writers were losing the creative spark that inspired the first movie at this point. The story progressed sloppily up till the very end where nothing turned out how one would hope (except for the guarantee that the two most annoying characters of the series would no longer have a place in any planned sequels). Just like in the first movie, At World’s End finishes with Jack Sparrow sailing off into the distance to reclaim
On Stranger Tides
The disappointment of the last movie sharply cut the number of dedicated fans to the series. Upon announcement of a fourth title, it was clear that if the best effort wasn’t put into the reboot, the series might have to kill itself off. However, many strands of good news ensure that this latest film won’t share the abhorred qualities of the last. For one, the cast has been largely altered. Two of the main protagonists from the original trilogy – Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightly) – shall no longer be present which removes much of what plagued the last two films. Turner and Swann should never have been made to receive as much attention as Jack Sparrow. In light of their departure from the series, Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), who never really had much time in the spotlight despite his appealing character, will reprise his role in the series as Jack’s competition in the quest for the fountain of youth. Previous films alluded to the two pirates having once worked together, so it will be interesting to see how their chemistry enacts on screen.
Casting New Sails
Replacements for Turner and Swann include Blackbeard (Ian McShane, Pillars of the Earth) and Angelica (Penelope Cruz, Vanilla Sky) though, at this point, it’s impossible to determine whether or not these characters will be returning for any planned sequels. The series will also see performances from newcomers Judi Dench (in a brief cameo role) and Gemma Ward. The adventure itself also seems to be more lighthearted than in the last two of the original trilogy which brings hopes that it will more closely resemble the first film than the last. Conclusively, the scarce video footage seems promising, but without any evidence of Disney ever picking itself up from bad sequels, it seems a bit too soon to make a verdict on this year’s swashbuckling adventure.