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Rating History

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
2 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

After the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, a fews years had past before the announcement that the franchise would be receiving a fourth instalment. While I found myself not particularly being thrilled by that, due to the lacklustre film that would precede it, I went in optimistic, being a fan of the first two films. Not bringing anything new to the table in terms of story, choosing to leave out the classic characters played by Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, and bombarding the audience with a slew of new and uninteresting characters, really hurt the film as a whole. On its own as a film about people trying to find the fountain of youth, this is a decent flick, but it's a pretty bad Pirates of the Caribbean film.

Right off the bat, this film feels very distant from the rest of the franchise. Sure, it picks up the premise left at the end of its predecessor, having Jack Sparrow on the search for the fountain of youth, but as always, others are as well. Instead of an ensemble film, this feels very much like the Jack Sparrow one man show. This definitely grows tiring and the premise itself begins to feel fairly sluggish, even being the shortest film up until this point. Everything about this instalment felt like a slapstick fest, meshed with a very hardcore action flick, including mystical elements and mermaids. Yes, its as jarring as that statement suggests.

It became clear that Johnny Depp needed another character to become infatuated with, since the absence of Keira Knightley's Elizabeth Swan was very present. There are far too many new characters here and the fact that they all share a past with Jack, even though that element isn't explored nearly enough, became quite annoying. In a franchise that has become loveable for its characters throughout the first three films, it felt like a betrayal to the franchise to throw half of them under the bus here. Sure, it's not like those characters particularly needed to be on this adventure, but then why make the film in the first place? That being said, there are a few redeeming qualities to be had, like all of the sequels.

Composing every score since the second instalment, Hanz Zimmer's musical touch to these films has been nothing short of wonderful. The music throughout these films is so distinct and this film is no exception to that statement. The music throughout this film was enough to keep a smile on my face. On top of that, the post-production and cinematography have always been the biggest accomplishment throughout this franchise, creating a beautiful and vibrant world. If nothing else, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is wonderful to listen to and incredible to look at, but the film buried inside these elements is not all that impressive.

In the end, this film does hold up as a decent adventure flick when you're not thinking about the rest of the franchise. As a Pirates of the Caribbean film however, it's a pretty large flop. The action, sense of adventure, and emotional core to the characters all seems absent here and not enough effort was put into it, which is a lot to say for these films, given they have always been about the characters. Overall, I don't throughly like this film enough to recommend watching it, especially if you aren't too keen on the previous three films. This film has worn down on me quite a bit, because I once thought this was an improvement on its predecessor, but even at almost three hours, the third instalment has a much more interesting premise. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides may not be the worst "film" in the franchise, but it's definitely the worst of its kind, if that makes any sense.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End
4 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Big budget films that gain a sequel that makes even more money than its predecessor is bound to become a franchise, regardless if there is a story to be told. In this case, a story was left open at the end of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, but this film doesn't embrace it in the proper way. This is a franchise that progressively loses steam as each film is made, but I personally think the overwhelming amount of hate these sequels receive is a bit much. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End is the type of film that relies too much on dialogue and too little on the action, and some films work with that wonderfully, but at nearly three hours, that becomes tiresome. This film has always been my least favourite of the franchise and here's why.

At the end of the previous film, the premise sets itself up to be an expedition to find Jack Sparrow. Now, I know that Johnny Depp's portrayal of this character has always been the biggest highlight for fans, but I would've loved if they took a bigger risk, making the entire plot a quest to find him. Instead, we see him about 30 minutes into the film, he is reunited, and then a new plot sets itself in motion. Sure, this premise has been done before, and the premise of this film is very reminiscent of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. In no way am I comparing this film to Star Wars, but I'm simply pointing out that a film has pulled this off in a far better way. The most interesting portion of this film was waiting to see where Jack ended up, but he is found even before the first act ends. This alone makes it the weakest in the franchise for not showing any guts, but the action in this film is probably the best in the franchise.

Personally, the promise of the first act is really what makes this film endurable. As soon as that storyline is through, the second act is pretty much entirely dialogue-driven, lasting for almost an hour and a half. Still to this day I find myself incredibly bored through the middle portion of this film, teetering on becoming an atrocious film. Happily, when the third act kicks into gear, it's very clear where they spent most of the budget for this film. If nothing else, the last 30-40 minutes of this film is everything that the action of this franchise should be delivering. When they reach the world's end and have the giant showdown, that was well worth the price of admission back in 2007, and still is today. The third act of this film alone is the reason I give this film a pass as a whole. What also contradicts this statement is the fact that this is an incredibly strange film at times.

The characters throughout this franchise are all pretty unique in their character designs, but that's not where the strangeness comes from here. There are far too many bizarre visuals and over-exposed scenery that takes me completely out of the film. This may be getting nit-picky, but Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End can be a very weird film sometimes. The uniqueness that each film goes for can be highly commended, but there is a border between what's weird to just be weird and what's weird to be clever and make the story more interesting. This is a film that goes for weird, just to be weird.

Upon its initial release, less than a year after its predecessor, I was very excited, only to be severely let down. I quite enjoyed the second instalment, and I can only say that about half of this film. The action is some of the best this franchise will probably ever see and the opening premise in finding Jack Sparrow was very interesting. Aside from that, this is a very plotty film that wastes too much time on exposition and silly visuals that I loses my attention quite often. If you are a huge fan of the original film like many people are, then this is an average watch at best when going back to binge the franchise. Personally, I feel this film is just as boring and tedious to get through, as it is entertaining, which is incredibly frustrating. In the end, there are some nice moments sprinkled throughout an otherwise extremely messy film. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End still remains to be my least favourite of the franchise.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
4 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Aside from sequels in the biggest franchises of all time, like Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, it's very rare that a second instalment tops what the original film was able to accomplish. When Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl hit theatres, people around the world fell in love with these characters. While these films are no masterpieces, they are pure entertainment from start to finish. Upon its initial release, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest was actually my favourite of the franchise, but upon revisiting it through the years, that mantle has worked its way back to the original feature. This is a solid follow-up to a very fun first film, but its incredibly overlong and tiresome nature do take their toll. Many viewers choose to dislike every sequel this franchise has released, but I'm about to defend this one, because I think there is quite a bit of fun to be had here.

Unlike the first, this film juggles too many plot elements, which may make audience members grow weary of the overall film. Playing as a sort of cat-and-mouse game as the heart of Davy Jones is the so-called "mcguffin" here. Every character has their own agenda as to why they must acquire it and the tiring subplots really bog the film down at times. Quite honestly, this film could have used a bit of trimming down. There are so many exciting action sequences to enjoy throughout this film (quite memorable to be honest), but they are very spread out over the 150 minute run time. For this reason, this second instalment fails to shine all the way through.

Whenever a film brings in a slew of new faces to enjoy, a film usually benefits from world building. With the few exceptions of certain films bringing in useless characters, the majority of the time will see beneficial additions. I found myself really intrigued by the character of Davy Jones, and the subplot of Will Turner coming across his father was easily the most heart given to this film. When you send characters on a fantastical adventure like this, there needs to be a sense of realism in the smaller moments, otherwise why should anyone care what happens to them in the end. This is a sequel that takes its time to develop the necessary characters in order to have a nice payoff in the end.

The swash-buckling of the original film was fun and tasteful, but this instalment definitely cranks up the silliness of the action. From sword-fighting on top of a moving wheel, to pole-vaulting over a cliff while tied up, to attacking a giant squid monster, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is never afraid to go all out with its fantasy elements. For its time, the effects were actually quite good, but the budgets for these films are incredibly high, so that makes sense. If you haven't yet checked this film out, I will be recommending it, but just know that it becomes extremely silly and the stakes are thrown out the window quite often. As a sequel that's over 10 years old, it holds up quite well in my opinion.

Looking back, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest was definitely meant for its time. Sure, the adventure aspects of all these films will live on forever, because everyone loves a good adventure. The jokes throughout these films will date eventually, but that happens with every film. Aside from bringing in new characters, some cool new set pieces, and a promise of much more to come, there isn't much new to like here. If you loved the first first film for what it was, you'll have some fun with this one too. I personally think this film receives a little too much hate and was a worthy sequel upon release. Fairly slow at times, but that's always made up with awesome action and adventure. If you haven't checked out this franchise or just haven't gone past the original, I believe this one is still worth a watch. Still to this day, I quite enjoy this sequel.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
5 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Nowadays, Disney has pretty much transformed into a Goliath of a studio. From purchasing Star Wars and Marvel to releasing 80 to 90% quality entertainment in recent years, there is no sign of them slowing down. In my opinion, the beginning of where they are today was precisely Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Although this franchise has had its ups and downs over the years, this first instalment is remembered as a classic by many. Sure, there are definitely some non-fans out there, but this is pure entertainment from start to finish. Filled with tons of swash-buckling fun, some likeable characters, and a real sense of adventure, here is why I believe Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl still holds up over 14 years later.

Following a hunted pirate in Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), an experienced and love-bound blacksmith in Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), and action-wise damsel in distress in Elizabeth Swan (Keira Knightley), this film follows the tropes of classic films in the same genre throughout many years. From the love interest being kidnapped by the main villain (in Barbossa) to the love triangles on the side, there isn't much unpredictability here, aside from a few clever reveals in the final act. From beginning to end, this film finds ways of making this premise feel fresh for a new audience. In my opinion, nearly every character is likeable, which is what makes this film that much more enjoyable.

When it comes to #Disney, they're not shy when coming up with new characters to make classics. Although they haven't had too many classic characters in recent memory, say for Elsa or Lightning McQueen (if he even counts), Jack Sparrow is recognized on a global scale. Not only is he fun to dress up as, but he has a large presence on-screen and he is the staple that made this franchise so enjoyable from the get go. Sure, there are eons of stories to tell throughout this world of pirates and treasure hunters, but the interaction between Sparrow and the rest of the characters is truly what makes this film so memorable in my eyes.

Upon multiple viewings over the years, my enjoyment of this film has not diminished one bit. That being said, I can't help but feel the length of this film after repeat viewings. It's not that it becomes stale, but there are quite a few moments that take their time to tell the story in order to give the audience some time to recuperate from the previous action sequence. Due to the amount of surprises throughout the course of this film, I'm still able to forgive the slow moments, because the entertainment value this film has, still trumps all.

After all these years, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl still remains the best in its franchise. There are a few pacing issues and quite a few cheesy mistakes in its filmmaking, but this really is just a fun family adventure. As a blockbuster, this first instalment hits every right note it needs to. It won't be able to please everyone, and newcomers that are 14 years late to the party may not quite be as invested as audiences were back in 2003, but there is no denying that there was a large amount of effort put into making this film fun for all ages. In the end, the sword fights, plot twists, sense of adventure, and overall impact of this epic adventure are still very present if you are a fan. Newcomers can still find enjoyment here in bingeing the franchise, so yes, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl comes no less recommended as it did years ago.

Alien: Covenant
8 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Whether or not you're a fan of the original Alien films or not, Prometheus served as a revamp of the franchise, working as a loose prequel to the original film. Here, director Ridley Scott has done his best to bring the franchise a little closer to home, while still harking very much back to Prometheus and being a worthy sequel. Accomplishing those two things is a large feat on its own, so I have nothing but positive words for him. That being said, this film does suffer from many of the same issues that kept Prometheus from being a great film, at least in my opinion. Alien: Covenant is definitely an entertaining time at the movies and serves as a worthy addition in the Alien universe, but even though I enjoyed it, there are numerous issues. Let's dive into what works and what doesn't.

Picking up many years after the events of Prometheus (about ten to be exact), we meet a new crew, along with a few questionable characters right off the bat. Returning to the planet that we visiting in the previous film, Alien: Covenant does a solid job in delivering its own premise, while simultaneously attaching itself as a worthy sequel. Aside from Michael Fassbender, the entire cast is fresh and I quite enjoyed the majority of their performances, namely Katherine Waterston and Danny McBride. The premise is just as simple as the original Alien though, due to the fact that a crew is going to inhabit a planet, only to encounter aliens and be picked off one by one. The next film needs to try something new, because this formula is wearing off a little.

I'm not someone who looks for flaws when watching a movie, because I like to enjoy a film as much as possible. If something is large enough to stick out to me, then it must be glaring. Sadly, when it came to Alien: Covenant, every character decision made it pretty obvious who was going to die in the scenes to come, which took the stakes away for me; However, I do feel that there are a couple great twists in the final act that deserve some recognition. Due to spoilers that's all I'll say, but I was pleasantly surprised with the conclusion of this film. It left me wanting to see more and when a film accomplishes that, it's clearly doing something right.

This may be nitpicking, but the visual effects of the original Alien were so far ahead of their time in terms of practical effects that it honestly felt real when the surprising moments occurred. This film does squander these and overuse them in some cases, as well as have giant CGI aliens throughout the majority of the film. Not to say this harms the overall film itself, but the horrific aspect of the original films is definitely lost here, becoming more of a straight-up sci-fi action flick more than anything. That worked for this film, but I would've liked to see a little more attention to some of the characters and their backstories if so many of them are getting picked off so quickly. Not that this film is supposed to feel realistic, but for the standards set by other instalments, this film does go pretty far.

This review is coming from the heart, because Alien is one of my favourite films of all time, period. I have seen every film, from the dreadful Alien 3 to the horrific Aliens vs. Predator: Requim, so I'd like to think that my opinion of this film will be the same as at least 50% of the audiences that love this franchise. Ridley Scott has really brought this franchise a long way and I had a blast watching this film from beginning to end, but there are quite a few little elements that annoyed me throughout the majority of my viewing experience.

If you're looking for a deep character study and fantastic characters, you'll receive that with Michael Fassbender's portrayal, but that's about it. Gratefully, there are quite a few surprises in the third act, making up for any missteps. For fans of the franchise and anyone who enjoys a good gore-fest, this film will surely win you over. For newcomers, you may be lost if you haven't seen Prometheus. Although I found myself in and out of the film at times, I enjoyed it quite a bit overall. For these reasons and more, I can definitely recommend Alien: Covenant, but with a grain of salt.