Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
How Do You Solve a Problem Like Erika? Universal Hires Husband to Write 'Fifty Shades Darker' How Do You Solve a Problem Like Erika? Universal Hires Husband to Write 'Fifty Shades Darker' 'Age of Ultron' Director Joss Whedon on Self-Doubt and Why It's His 'Rio Bravo' 'Age of Ultron' Director Joss Whedon on Self-Doubt and Why It's His 'Rio Bravo' Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) CinemaCon: How Tom Cruise Stole the Paramount Show CinemaCon: How Tom Cruise Stole the Paramount Show Meet the Director of 'Tangerines,' the 2015 Dark Horse Oscar Nominee You Missed (Exclusive Video) Meet the Director of 'Tangerines,' the 2015 Dark Horse Oscar Nominee You Missed (Exclusive Video) LA Film Fest Unveils Horror Slate, More World Premieres, Zoe Cassavetes Film LA Film Fest Unveils Horror Slate, More World Premieres, Zoe Cassavetes Film Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Lines Up Vet Auteurs and American Indies Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Lines Up Vet Auteurs and American Indies Joe Wright's 'Pan' Gets Fall Release Date: Good News or Bad News? Joe Wright's 'Pan' Gets Fall Release Date: Good News or Bad News? Seeing Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Through Composer Johnny Jewel's Eyes (STREAM SOUNDTRACK) Seeing Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Through Composer Johnny Jewel's Eyes (STREAM SOUNDTRACK) 3 Women Genre Directors Get SF Film Society Fellowships 3 Women Genre Directors Get SF Film Society Fellowships Here's Why Jon Stewart Quit 'The Daily Show' Here's Why Jon Stewart Quit 'The Daily Show' Watch: From Tarantino to Cronenberg, Great Directors Talk the Art and Anxiety of Filmmaking Watch: From Tarantino to Cronenberg, Great Directors Talk the Art and Anxiety of Filmmaking Specialty Box Office: 'True Story' and 'Child 44' Flop as 'Ex Machina' Lures Audiences Specialty Box Office: 'True Story' and 'Child 44' Flop as 'Ex Machina' Lures Audiences Tribeca Film Festival Matches George Lucas with Stephen Colbert: “I’m gonna tear you a new one, George" Tribeca Film Festival Matches George Lucas with Stephen Colbert: “I’m gonna tear you a new one, George" 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work The Eerie Connection Between 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' and 'Tomorrowland' The Eerie Connection Between 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' and 'Tomorrowland' Digging Into the Cannes Lineup: More Vet Auteurs and Women, No Netflix Digging Into the Cannes Lineup: More Vet Auteurs and Women, No Netflix You Can Now Read Over 200,000 Leaked Sony Emails and Documents You Can Now Read Over 200,000 Leaked Sony Emails and Documents 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO)

Cannes Review: Why is Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides in Fest?

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood May 14, 2011 at 10:48AM

What motivates a groggy, jet-lagged scribe to crawl out of bed for an 8:30 AM press screening of Pirates of the Caribbean? Schadenfreude. The word on the Croisette was that the fourth Pirates installment was lousy. Safe to say I wasn't expecting to have a good time. (I didn't even see Number Three, even though it boasted Chow Yun-Fat.)
1
Thompson on Hollywood

What motivates a groggy, jet-lagged scribe to crawl out of bed for an 8:30 AM press screening of Pirates of the Caribbean? Schadenfreude. The word on the Croisette was that the fourth Pirates installment was lousy. Safe to say I wasn't expecting to have a good time. (I didn't even see Number Three, even though it boasted Chow Yun-Fat.)

I figured I could drowse through the wall of noise and check out the boos and slapping seats when the end credits brought up the name "Rob Marshall." Reuters interviews the ex-Broadway choreographer (Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha and Nine) here: "The action sequences felt like big production numbers," he says.

Well, nod I did, but crashing surges of Hans Zimmer's score kept jerking me awake. And the movie's conclusion was met with no applause, or boos either.

While clearly, Marshall is no Gore Verbinski (whose Rango marked his escape from the franchise that gave him a career of fuck-you money), the series auteur-in-chief is Jerry Bruckheimer. He lavished some $200 million on detailed period sets and costumes, explosive action pieces, tons of ILM VFX and that effectively bombastic Zimmer score--even though he stoops to sample Steven Spielberg's Jaws during a killer-mermaids-with-whips sequence.

This Hollywood tentpole did look gorgeous on the huge Palais screen in 3-D. While the movie is familiar, episodic and dull, it isn't noxious. And sitting in a hall with 4000 world press, I could see why this franchise is so popular all over the world, as Aussie, Irish, Brit, American and Spanish actors-- led by Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush and Ian McShane (Blackbeard)--happily chewed the scenery in this old-world Euro-fantasy costume epic.

My fave tidbit was a brief snatch of dialogue between Captain Jack Sparrow and his dear old Dad (Keith Richards), one of the few relationships in this movie with any spark. Sparrow is beyond romance or any sentiment of any kind, so worthy female adversaries such as Penelope Cruz as Angelica, Blackbeard's daughter--with nary an ounce of sizzle--are meaningless. Sparrow's like a roadrunner cartoon: he's never in danger, can dive off cliffs in a single bound. He's a swashbuckling superman with no moral compass. Which means that nothing in these movies matters to anyone.

Aren't there better movies for Fest director Thierry Fremaux to show in Cannes than a tired Disney sequel? Why present such obvious hack work? The answer, my dears, is in the stars: Cannes is happy to expend some cred in order for Depp and Cruz to ascend the red Palais steps. 'Twas ever thus.

This article is related to: Festivals, Genres, Headliners, Studios, Reviews, Production , Cannes, Sequel, Period, Johnny Depp, Disney , Sound and Score, VFX, Digital Future, Costume Design, Art Direction


E-Mail Updates