(Footage from various films, all owned by Disney, is shown)
Doug (vo): So every Disneycember, I always find a theme to tie all the videos together. But the downside of that is, whenever I do that, a lot of other movies are released and I'm not able to give them the Disneycember treatment. I mean, don't get me wrong. Disney has had its hand in a lot of things: TV shows and movies and animation, of course. But as they continue to expand and keep buying properties, it seems like there's just so much Disney coming out all at once. So this year, I'm gonna make up for that. This year, it's by popular demand. That's right, there's no connecting themes, there's no one studio or one style of film we're looking at. All it has to do is have Disney's name on there somewhere and be requested by a lot of people. You name it. There'll be animated films I haven't done yet, Pixar films I haven't done yet, Disney Channel movies, Marvel films, old and new, even films that just came out this year.
Doug (vo): Now, like before, some of these I've discussed before with my brother Rob on Sibling Rivalry, so if you want a longer review of some of these movies and a different point of view, you can go and watch those. But I also like the idea of letting time pass, whether it be a lot or little, and seeing if they still have the same impact as when I just saw them. After all, the Sibling Rivalries are done right after we've seen it, so this allows me some time to collect my thoughts even more. It is so cool just to see how much bigger Disney is becoming. I mean, just when you thought they couldn't get any bigger, here they are, owning all these different properties and studios. And for the most part, they're turning out pretty damn good material. But again, we're here to discuss what works and what doesn't; what's timeless and what's immediately dated. And on top of that, what works as being timeless or dated and what doesn't work as being timeless or dated. So if there's ever a Disney movie, Marvel movie, Disney Channel Original Movie, Pixar film or whatever I haven't gotten to, this is your chance to see if I finally catch up with it. Sit back and enjoy. This is Disneycember: By Popular Demand.
(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales)
Doug (vo): There is absolutely no particular order for this at all, so I'm just gonna start with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, the fifth installment in what seems like a neverending series, and I don't really mean that in the best way. This film was not a huge financial success when it came out, and you can kind of see why. I like the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie like a lot of people, and I still find the other ones okay, but after a while, you just kind of get sick of seeing them, especially when nothing that new is being added.
Doug (vo): Jack Sparrow is back, of course, played again by Johnny Depp, and he's teamed up with the son of Orlando Bloom's character from the previous movies...oh, Christ! Can't we just escape these characters?! Okay, in all fairness, Orlando Bloom is not in this movie much, and Keira Knightley even less. But they're replaced with two bland, good-looking cutouts, that they might as well just be Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley. His son is the good-looking, dashing heartthrob who's in over his head, and his girlfriend is often told she has to be one thing, but, of course, she doesn't want to be. Like I said, it's practically the same characters from the other films. Bloom's son wants to find a way to break his father's curse so he can be reunited with him, and a scientist named Carina, who's confused for a witch way too many times to be funny, is trying to honor her father by finding the Trident of Poseidon. Wouldn't you know it? If the Trident is destroyed, all the curses of the sea are lifted and, yeah, you can guess why everybody wants to get it. But a ghostly villain, played by Javier Bardem, of course is after Jack Sparrow because he screwed him over in the past, just like all the villains of Jack Sparrow, and he also wants to find the Trident to possess its power.
Doug (vo): Are you interested? Even a little? If the answer is no, then this movie really doesn't do much to get you invested. I can't say this is an awful flick. I mean, it's not like there's moments where I'm saying, "Shut up!" or "This is so annoying!" or anything like that. It's just kind of bland. Which is funny, because if this movie came out 20 years ago, it probably wouldn't be. These effects would be seen as impressive, these designs creative, these characters and relationships odd but fun. But because we have seen this so many times, it's just feeling formulaic.
(Jack Sparrow is shown in several clips, most notably the scene where Jack trades his compass for a bottle of rum, bringing back Captain Salazar in the process)
Doug (vo): Johnny Depp's just running around acting like Jack Sparrow, and he does it fine, but why are we still interested in this? We've seen him do it in the other movies, and anything interesting that could be done with him has kind of already been done. There's only one moment that actually gave me new insight into his character, and it hardly has any words in it. He has this compass that if he knows he gives it away, it'll bring back Javier Bardem, allowing him to potentially hunt him down and kill him. He trades it, of course, for a bottle of rum, but he looks down on it and kind of smiles, saying...
Jack Sparrow: Pirate's life.
Doug (vo): ...almost like he wants to be chased, he wants to be hunted down. That's just kind of the life he chose. That was kind of interesting.
(Several other characters are shown, mostly focusing on Captain Hector Barbossa)
Doug (vo): But aside from that one little moment, everyone just kind of stays in their usual roles and they're not really as entertaining as they used to be. Sparrow's antics are getting tired, the young man and young woman are there to offset his goofiness. Even Geoffrey Rush, who's usually my favorite part of these movies, doesn't seem to bring the same energy and comedy to it. There's, I guess, a twist about his connection to one of the characters, and honestly, it doesn't feel earned. When you think about it, there's a lot going on with this connection, but it just kind of feels thrown in at the last minute. They, all of a sudden, build up like the whole film was focusing on it, even though it clearly wasn't, and, again, that's a big problem with this film: focus.
(One clip from The Curse of the Black Pearl is shown)
Doug (vo): So many of the Pirate films have that problem. Even the first one, there's a ton of stuff going on, but you kind of get it. It's these pirates that want to lift this curse, that's it.
(Back to Dead Men Tell No Tales)
Doug (vo): All the other movies just throw too much at you, and sometimes, that can be fun in a film, juggling all these different characters and plot devices and such. But when you're constantly asking yourself what every character's motivation was and what's the next thing they have to do or the magic word they have to say or the secret device they have to find, it feels more like homework than a riveting adventure.
(Several clips of the film's villain, Captain Salazar, are shown)
Doug (vo): Even Javier Bardem, who's usually so good and so entertaining, I'm not sure what he's doing here. I was hoping for something really crazy and over-the-top, but he's just covered in fake CG and a lot of echo and distortion added to his voice, I'm wondering why they even picked him. Even Davy Jones, for as goofy as he was, had more of a personality than this guy. It just doesn't feel like his identity is fleshed out. If they made him super-serious and super-still while the CG on him moves around, that could be interesting, or if they made him super-goofy and big-eyed and having fun, that could be kind of interesting, too. But instead, I guess it's supposed to be halfway between the two, and it's just kind of a mess.
(Several footage of the film's visual effects are shown)
Doug (vo): The effects range from really good to really pathetic. Scenes like an island that's supposed to reflect the stars in the sky or even, surprisingly, a young Johnny Depp are done pretty well. But then they do stuff like slow down these zombie sharks, you can really get a good look at how amazing the scene is, and just...look at it. You know nothing's there. Why is that impressive? And again, the ghost pirates look just like all the other ghost pirates that have ever been fought in these films. They're just not that threatening anymore.
(One action scene, showing the pirates, led by Henry Turner, attempting to rescue Jack and Carina Smyth from execution, is shown)
Doug (vo): The only scene that really worked, like everything in it clicked perfectly, is when Jack Sparrow and the scientist are about to get executed. The comedy, the action, the stunts, the escape, the lines, it's all super-funny, well-choreographed and very impressive.
Final thought Edit
Doug (vo): Aside from that, it's just kind of everything you've already seen in the Pirates films, which, don't get me wrong, there's some people that might really enjoy that. (The poster for Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is briefly shown) When the second Sin City movie came out, I loved it, even though a lot of people said they didn't enjoy it 'cause it just felt like the same thing that was in the last one. Well, I loved that world and the characters and the environment so much, I didn't mind something similar. I can see some fans saying the same thing about this. Maybe they do kind of just want that Pirates of the Caribbean experience and these characters to come back and just run around and look goofy and fight ghosts and so forth. If that's what you're looking for, this'll definitely give you your fix. But if you're looking for that same feeling of comedy, excitement, fun and thrills that the first one gave, then you're in for some really bad eggs.
(The film's final scene, showing Jack Sparrow and his crew sailing away into the sunset on the Black Pearl, is shown)