I’ve had this written forever, and would’ve sworn I had posted it, but a quick search showed I hadn’t. Huh. Well, I’m sure that knowing PotC3 sucked is not earth-shattering information to anyone, but I might as well post it anyway.
I should’ve expected it to be bad. I suppose that liking Pirates of the Caribbean 2 more than most critics gave me a false sense of security going into it. It’s not like I expected it to be good, but it’s actually worse than I ever dreamed. Only the fact that it’s the third of a wildly successful trilogy (and, now, apparently quadrilogy – I die a little inside every time I remember they’re planning a fourth one) explains how this mess made it through production without someone at every stage of development stopping and saying, “wait – this makes zero sense on any level – cognitive, emotional, thematic – and it’s not even exciting!” There’s far too much going on, it all takes far too long, and somehow it manages to both go too fast to be comprehensible and too slow to be interesting (or perhaps it’s uninteresting because, contrary to current studio thinking, loads of action set pieces do not automatically yield interest without a compelling and comprehensible plot – and having loads of profoundly stupid and long exposition in between the set pieces doesn’t help either).
There are two good scenes. The haunting opening depicts several pirates, including a young boy, singing as they’re awaiting execution by hanging. That sinister mood is quickly dispelled by the utter idiocy that takes over the screen soon after. The other good scene is set in Jack Sparrow’s hell, surreally blank and peopled with duplicates of himself (splinters, really, each taking a part of his personality to an extreme). But that surreal quality completely fails to mesh with the rest of the film, either, which makes it ultimately stand out in a less positive way. Literally everything else in the movie should’ve been scrapped. In the script drafting stage.