I’m afraid. Mind you, I was afraid when I first heard that Johnny Depp was playing a pirate (and from early sketches that have since been made public, I had good reason it seems), but Johnny managed to crank out a piece of genius. As to Burton directing PotC4? Now I’m really afraid.
It’s not that Burton is a bad director – far, far from it. But he is a distinctive one – aside from Ed Wood I can’t think of a decent Burton film that didn’t immediately scream, “hey, I’m a Burton film.” His work is quirky, fanciful, surreal, and creepy. With the PotC franchise getting increasingly (and to its detriment, I believe) sci-fi driven, I think Burton’s own brand of expressionism is exactly what it does NOT need at this time.
When Burton and Depp work together, magic often happens – I just fear it’s the wrong kind of magic for a pirate film. But that’s just me, and I’m sure there are hundreds of folks that will feel otherwise. And maybe Burton will prove me wrong and make a brilliant film, either by departing from his usual M.O. and returning the PotC films to the “almost reality” of the first film, or by making some splendidly brilliant piece of typical Burtonism that I could never dream of. Or maybe – and far more likely – this is just another stupid rumor with no real basis in reality and it doesn’t mean squat.