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June 5, 2011

The first movie is still the best.  This one lacked  the energy, although I do admire the historical details. 

The premise is a race to the Fountain of Youth, stopping to collect all the items needed to make it work.  I sense a video game in the future.  The racers? Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard, for whom Sparrow worked under duress, our old friend Barbossa, now sporting a pegleg and technically working under the English Crown as a privateer, and some Spanish prince. We never really learn anything about him, except he's snooty and holier-than-thou.

I was pleased with the first appearance of Blackbeard.  A solid, rough looking man, with burning fuses tied into his great beard, glaring fiercely at his mutinous crew.  Excellent entrance.  And then . . . he pulled out his magic sword.

Now, I have nothing against swords.  I LIKE swords. And magic.  Magic rocks.  For a historical pirate adventure movie, a little bit of magic and a little bit of swords is perfectly acceptable. Voodoo and other beliefs were/are present in the Caribbean, and there's no reason they shouldn't be in these movies.  I mean, after all, they are looking for an epic fountain!  This magic sword, however, was just too much.  It was jarring.  He could control the entire ship and everything on it with it, performing complicated rope tying and etc with a wave.  Certainly, I can accept cursed coins.  They did one simple thing: prevent the holder from dying until it was returned to its home.  Jack Sparrow's compass?  It too, did one simple thing - point toward the holder's heart's desire.  This sword?  It probably baked bread and made coffee while it was adjusting the sails.  It begged the question:  if he had that sword, which performed necessary ship tasks quicker and more efficiently than the losers below decks, WHY DID HE NEED A CREW?

That's the other thing.  My main answer for the crew's presence is to use them in close combat.  However, Blackbeard's ship, The Queen Anne's Revenge, was equipped with . . . wait for it . . . FLAMETHROWERS.  That's right.  Two of 'em, tucked in the bow of the ship.   I'd like you to pause and think about 18th century sailing vessels.  What are they made of?  What are they covered in?  What do they carry when they're looking for a fight?  Wood, you say?  Tar and swaths of cloth, yes?  Gunpowder, right?  Things that catch fire easily? Is having flamethrowers in the FRONT of a hard-to-steer wooden and tar-covered ship carrying gunpowder REALLY a good idea?  No.

I calmly accepted mermaids, zombies, fountains that granted immortality, voodoo dolls, compasses that that pointed to heart's desires, and even actual shrunken ships in bottles.  I could not get my head around that sword, and refused to accept the flamethrowers. 

It was fun if you're looking for lots of action and a simple plot.  Sam Claflin was hot.  Jack's complex escape from King George Vernon Dursley's chamber was highly amusing.  I'm sure I'll add it to the collection.