The latest Pirates pic is kinda awful -- there's not as much humor as the first two, there's a whole lot less Johnny Depp, the plot is incoherent, the action scenes are either frantically edited so you can't really follow the action, or there's so much CGI that it's hard to be emotionally involved.
But consider it as a cinematic attraction for children: it starts out with dozens of hangings, everyone except the foppish british officers is filthy, and there's many uncomfortable close ups of grotesque faces -- Davey Jones' Octopus face, Bootstrap's melon covered with barnacles and starfish, Calypso's tattooed face and black teeth. The pirate ships themselves are grotty. I kept thinking that if the scenes portrayed were real, how horrible everything and everyone must smell. This is underlined neatly when Johnny Depp pushes Orlando Bloom overboard just by breathing in his face.
Top that with tons of stabbings beheadings, defenestrations, gouged out hearts and shootings. The complete moral ambiguity of everyone involved, makes it possibly the least suitable movie for children under 12. And it's from Disney!
To the extent it works at all as a movie, it's a completely murky, amoral, dark apocalypse about familial loss and betrayal. If they added some sodomy and the lash, it would be the Pirates of the Caribbean movie that Fassbinder would have made. And if you didn't see the first two movies you'd have no clue who any of the charaters were or what was going on.
So all I can think after digesting the experience is this: what the fuck? The first two movies were good fun, and this one is a sprawling, murky, harrowing mess. Its safe to say that it's a movie that has Walt Disney spinning in his grave. It defies any expectations an audience might have for a fun night out. Which begs the question, what were they thinking? Was this project so guaranteed to make money that no one cared what the film makers did, and did those film-makers purposely make a movie so joyless and bleak?
It's almost worth seeing just for how completely they missed the sweet spot the first two movies. They didn't just miss it, it's like they knew where it was and avoided hitting it at every opportunity. Awesome, sort of.