coming soonish

Went to see “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” last night. Whether we liked it or not, there were previews. Mostly, “not”.

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby — In theory, a satire on NASCAR culture with Will Farrell, Sacha Cohen and John C. Reilly should be something I’d get excited about. Then again, in theory I should have been the target market for “The Anchorman” and “Old School”, and damned if I could motivate myself to see either of those.

Transformers — I… I… er… what? On the plus side: John Rogers has a big fat script credit on it and he’s a nice guy who I like to see getting work. On the minus side: why, god, why?

The Guardian — Hey, it’s Kevin Costner in a big-bugdet action movie set mostly in the water! We all know that’s a sure thing, right? Right? Seriously, this looked awful: a lifeless mismash of “A Perfect Storm” and “Dead Poets Society”, starring the ever-pretty and ever-miscast Ashton Kutchner as Costner’s hot-shot protege in… blah blah blah, asleep already. Move on.

…and I think that was it, actually. Not exactly a bumper crop, but considering that Pirates is a Disney movie, I count myself lucky that we didn’t have to sit through half an hour of trailers for Disney’s latest straight-to-video animation releases. (Cinderella III: This Time, It’s War!)

Edit: Oops, I completely forgot about A Night at the Museum, which I guess is pretty indicative. A middling-cute concept (everything in the New York Museum of Natural History comes to life after dark), and a lot of decent talent, but it looks like it will probably try to Warm Your Heart This Christmas, which is a duty that sane people normally assign to bourbon.

Oh, and the movie?

Feh. Save your money. It’s not completely horrible, just…not very good. The first movie was a hair over 2 hours long and felt like it was 90 minutes. “Dead Man’s Chest” is two and a half hours long and feels like it lasts slightly longer than the Battle of Thermopylae… and at the end of the slog, it turns out to have been a 150-minute teaser for the third movie. There are some genuinely entertaining moments, but they’re all deeply buried inside a film that’s self-consciously trying to one-up its predecessor in every scene. Hey, if a two-way swordfight in a barn was fun in the first movie, we’d better have a three-way swordfight on a rolling water wheel in this one! That’ll be 50% more entertaining, right?

Also: remember how the first movie sorta skirted the edge of crappy racial stereotyping but mostly managed to avoid it, or at least give the impression that the director was trying to avoid it? Um, not so much here. Bring on the ooga-booga-ing cannibal natives! In fact, bring them on for half an hour, in a sequence that took the plot exactly nowhere. Sigh.

In short: it tried a little to haAARRRRRRRRRRd, and needed an editaRRRRRRRRRRR, badly.

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Man, I hate when I type out a nice long comment and lose it all from not following directions. In brief:
Same previews in Denver, plus one for The Nativity Story which was utterly puketastic.
I agree with your thoughts on Pirates. The best scene was nearly the last, with Jack and Elizabeth alone on the boat. Johnny Depp can do a lot with one word. If only the characters had had that much depth throughout the movie.