1. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (Disney, 4,155 Theaters, 134 Minutes, Rated PG-13): The fact that an amusement park ride could spawn a successful trilogy defies all logic. That the same franchise could jettison its two lead characters and be none the worse, and some might say, better, for it, is another head scratcher. And the fact that this franchise is popular at all is the most puzzling.
Yes, gone are Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley. Disney has let those characters live happily ever after and has thrown the actor’s salaries in the big pile of money they threw at Johnny Depp to keep him on as Captain Jack Sparrow. Wise choice, because the Sparrow character clawed its way up from being a colorful supporting character to the most dominant force in the franchise.
But I can honestly say that I am unimpressed by the series. I know that I am in the minority here. It has made billions (that’s not a misprint) of dollars. But it just leaves me cold.
I liked the first one but I can honestly say I do not remember anything about it, no plot point, no scene, no line of dialogue. No, wait, I remember one thing: Johnny Depp getting slapped. Other than that, not much.
I remember the second being a muddled, chaotic mess with plot holes you can sail an ironclad through. The third I thought fared better, but was hampered by having to clean up the second.
But all in all, I view the franchise as grimy action mixed with a cataloging of every seafaring myth and legend. I expect more of the same from this one.