Review: Lego Pirates of the Caribbean Game

Rating: ★★★★½
When I saw that Lego was making a Pirates of the Caribbean Video Game, I had two immediate concerns. First, games based on movies frighten me – I’ve already seen the movie, and I don’t need to act it out again in video game fashion. And second, Legos to me are a tactile experience – I’ve never for the live of me understood why I’d want to play with Legos on a console.

Well, in this case I needn’t have worried on either account, and this fact is made clear right from the opening sequence. Yes, it starts with a Lego reenactment of the first scene from Curse of the Black Pearl. But then, just when the viewer thinks he knows what’s going to happen next, the Lego figures pull a fast one and do a little pirate dance – and it’s AWESOME. This is the key to this game – playing along with the audience’s expectations, and then suddenly shifting course for comedic effect. And as to the Lego thing? Well, it’s LEGOS!!! Everything is cuter/awesomer/more piratey when Legos are involved. I wouldn’t have believed it, but it’s true.  Continue reading

Review: Pirates of the Caribbean – On Stranger Tides

Rating: ★★☆☆☆
In 2003, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl came to theaters. It was, far, far better than we had any right to expect, and pirate fever soon struck the world. Any movie based on an amusement park ride (no matter how well loved) is almost certain to be one-dimensional, half-assed, and forgettable, and yet we got a piece of genius that redefined a generation or more’s view of pirates. That’s the good news. The bad news is that with 2011’s On Stranger Tides, we finally got the pirate movie we probably should have gotten in the first place: one-dimensional, half-assed, and forgettable.

Now, that last statement is bound to ruffle some, and I’m not saying On Stranger Tides was a bad movie exactly. It was just dull. Predictable, dull, and more of a cartoon than a live action adventure. It was only truely bad when considering the talent onhand, and comparing it to what this movie *could* have been. Continue reading

Yeah, so Pirates on Dr. Who Tonight

I really love the rebooted Dr. Who – at least seasons 1-4. Season 5 onward, however, strikes largely of metooisms and oddities. Smith’s Dr. debuts with a tough-guy speech to aliens bent on destroying the Earth – yeah, Tennant did that too. Amy gets all bubbly at finding vampires and is also the most important woman in the universe? Hello Rose with the werewolves and Donna Noble. And as to the oddities, what’s with River Song’s quick evolution into an apparent action hero, or the writers’ bizarre love affair with Vincent van Gogh (“one of the greatest men who ever lived”… seriously???) Smith is at least getting interesting the more he becomes obliviously, enthusiastically geeky (“Fez’s are cool”), but this is still a work in progress.

BUT, nobody wants to hear my Dr. Who opinions, so how about I complain about some pirate stuff?

Hugh Bonneville talks piracy and ‘Doctor Who’

All well and good, but the flogging episode is titled “Curse of the Black Spot.” For real? The same month as the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film comes out, and Dr. Who names its cleverly-timed pirate episode (which indeed includes mermaids, just like the new pirate film) with a title that is only barely different from Curse of the Black Pearl? It pains me to see mounting evidence that the illustrious Dr. Who franchise might be going the way of such trend-hopping parasites as “Transmorphers” or “Snakes on a Train“, but there it is – commercials even indicate that the “black spot” appears on the hand, just like in the second PotC film. Even with its current issues, Dr. Who deserves better than that.

On Stranger Tides Full Length Trailer!

You’ve been waiting for it, so here it is! The preview for next year’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides:

It looks interesting, to be sure. And I wonder at the clear elements I see from the book (Fountain of Youth, Zombies) balanced against the clearly non-book parts (mermaids, the entire cast except for Blackbeard). Don’t get me wrong, I hope they make the best movie they can, regardless of which side of the “true to the book” spectrum that means. I’m just eager to see what that balance turns out to be. Sadly, you know what I’m not eager to see? PENELOPE CRUZ. Seriously, I look at this movie and I don’t see Johnny Depp and Ian McShane, I see Jack Sparrow and Blackbeard. But with Cruz I see the same feisty latina I see in virtually every movie she’s in. These movies have always been character driven, and I don’t see a character when I look at Cruz, I just see an A-list fifth wheel thrown in for no good reason. I’ll gladly eat crow should I be wrong and ‘Angelica’ turns out to be a bundle of pirate awesome, but right now she just makes me sad and cranky.

Also interesting in this preview were the two unnamed fresh-faced youngsters – the guy and the girl (I think she was behind bars.) Could this mean some elements of Jack Shandy and Beth Hurwood will find their way into the film afterall, I wonder?

Your PotC4 Updates…

So now that Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides has wrapped up filming, it’s just a short wait until the fever truly sets in. The trailer premeires on December 13th, and the film itself May 20th. But meantime, here’s some tidbits for ya:

  1. Jack Sparrow is gay. No, not really – that’s just what Johnny Depp said to mess with some numbskull Disney executive.
  2. Jack Sparrow was originally supposed to be played by Hugh Jackman. Yes, really. This, of course, would have so profoundly changed these movies as to be an entirely different franchise. Trying to speculate what they’d be like is as pointless as wondering what the world would be like if sharks were vegetarian.
  3. PotC 5&6 already in the works. Errr… entirely feasible, but I wouldn’t bank on this “exclusive” story from HitFix being the gospel truth just yet.

So there yah have it – a few nuggets of info (or mis-info, as the case may be) to tide you over until the preview strikes later this month 🙂

MovieFone FAIL

So after prattling on for a full minute about what an ubergeek she is, and lamenting/bragging on her extreme knowledge of obscure comicbook/movie characters, this reporter goes on to report that Salma Hayek will be starring opposite Johnny Depp in the upcoming Pirates film. If you need me to explain why this is funny, then you haven’t been paying enough attention, and therefore should hang your head and share in her shame.

Another PotC Casting Rumor

So just announced that Stephen Graham will be playing a sidekick sort of character in Pirates of the Caribbean 4. And the Internet Movie Database seems to confirm it. I don’t know if IMDB is a reliable source regarding rumors, but I was pleased to see that Megan Fox was NOT listed, so I stand by my belief that her “upcoming mermaid role” is nothing more than hot air (although surprisingly persistent hot air, I’ll admit.)

Graham sails with ‘Pirates 4’ crew – Variety

New Orleans, yer breakin’ me heart…

So word has leaked that PotC4 will include a scene in ‘old’ New Orleans, and now the current New Orleans is all sad because it won’t be filmed on location. Which I can see might be a bummer, but as I recall, thousands of pirates flood the French Quarter every year for things like PyrateConPyrate Week, and Shore Leave – some of whom even look a smack like Jack Sparrow. What’s the matter, NOLA? We not good enough for you anymore because we’re not big Hollywood celebrities? Or perhaps we never were good enough to start with, and you were just toying with our emotions for your own sadistic pleasure. That will teach me to trust a town famous for whores and voodoo.

‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ spokesman lets the wind out of the sails of New Orleans fans

Ah, who am I kidding, I can’t stay mad at New Orleans. Does this make me an enabler? Yes, yes it does.