(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from all the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels)

Doug (vo): So after the surprise success of the first film and how it seemed to keep getting more and more money, Disney decided to do the Lord of the Rings route and film its two sequels back-to-back, and then another one pointlessly followed, too. The consensus seems to be that the first sequel is great, the second sequel is awful, and the third sequel is, "Wait. There’s a third one? Did I just see that? Boy, was that forgettable." I think I’m one of the few people that has sort of the same outlook on all of them, which All of them have some really good action and some fun adventure, but all of them also have a lot of pointless padding, are really drawn-out, and have some incredibly confusing and also annoying moments.

Review of Dead Man's Chest

Doug (vo): In Dead Man’s Chest, we continue the adventures of Jack Sparrow as he goes up against Davy Jones, which is a really great design. But they also bring back Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley. What’s the point? Their story ended in the first one. We didn’t need them back. And on top of that, they give them a lot of screen time and a lot of backstory, and...nobody cares. They were great at leveling out the more serious and mellow moments in the first one, but that was it. They did their job, they didn’t need to be brought back. And a lot about their story doesn’t add up. For example, Orlando Bloom meets his father and yet in the first film, they keep saying how much they look alike, in fact, they keep confusing the two for each other.

Ragetti: [In the first film] It's the spitting image of old Bootstrap Bill come back to haunt us!

Doug (vo): But look at these two. Do they look even remotely alike? Would you confuse this guy for Orlando Bloom at any moment? Johnny Depp is still fun as Jack Sparrow, but he’s really overused. For example, there’s this one scene where they have to save him from all these natives that are trying to eat him. Why? There’s no reason for it. It doesn’t connect to the story and it goes on for, like, 20 minutes. Couldn’t you have cut that? The ending is also based on a cliffhanger where they have to go save Jack Sparrow which takes up even more time in the next film. Again, it’s totally pointless, and even then, that doesn’t quite match up. At the end of this film, they say they challenge death and go to the ends of the world to try and get him back, but then, the next film, they say they didn’t really want him back, it was just some sort of big cause. The pirate song is sung or some crap like that. It’s so inconsistent. I feel like they really wanted to rip off Star Wars here, like the stuff with the natives which is sort of like the Jabba the Hutt scene that went on too long, and that the little cliffhanger where they have to save one of the main heroes in between movies is like Empire Strikes Back. But, hey, even in Star Wars, a lot of people said that Jabba scene went on way too long, it was kind of pointless. And there was a lot more character and drama that was riding the Star Wars films than there is in the Pirates films, but God knows they tried to shove this stuff in. Orlando Bloom has a lot of drama dedicated to him, Keira Knightley has a lot of drama dedicated to her. Even that guy that was chasing them in the first one, he’s back and he partakes in this really big complicated story. And speaking of which, they are really complicated. There’s, like, a ton of things going on in these films. I couldn’t follow it, and I didn’t care. All I wanted to see was some sword fighting, some good action and some comedy. Isn’t that what we got with the first one? Isn’t that what we should expect from something called Pirates of the Caribbean? Well, in Dead Man’s Chest, we did get a lot of that, when they stop trying to shove so many damn plot points in our faces. The characters still get some funny lines, there’s a lot of good slapstick, there’s a wonderfully-choreographed fight scene involving a watermill wheel.

Review of At World's End

Doug (vo): But if this film was already kind of complicated, the third one gets really complicated, shuffling in at almost three hours with so many plot threads, so many characters not needed, and it being so needlessly dark and confusing and weird and just not that much fun. Again, when the comedy is there and the sword fighting and all that good stuff, it’s fine. But I just don’t get this idea of trying to turn it into this big grand epic. I mean, sweet Jesus. The film opens with a little boy being hanged. Yeah, sorry, Disney. You lost me at "hanging little boy". Guys, it’s Pirates of the fucking Caribbean, not Schindler’s List. But like I said before, there are a lot of really fun scenes, the climax is really great, there’s still some good comedy, but you got to sit through a lot of boring, complicated, needlessly gritty shit to get to it. And a lot of people just didn’t think it was worth it. Personally, I think it’s just a little more annoying than the second one, which didn’t knock my socks off all the time either.

Review of On Stranger Tides

Doug (vo): On Stranger Tides finally got rid of Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley and decided just to focus on Johnny Depp, so everyone thought it would be better. But, again, there’s so much focus on this needlessly complicated plot. He’s looking for the Fountain of Youth, that should be easy, right? No, they had to get, like, a diamond from this glass and put it in there, but you have to get the water dripping from a certain side and one gives you eternal life, one takes it away from you. And then there’s also this kind of love interest that poses as Jack Sparrow. Okay, wait a minute. She poses as Jack Sparrow? Come on, movie! Even we can’t buy that. This is like the Pirates of the Caribbean we thought we were gonna see with the first film, not thinking at all what it’s talking about. I actually think Noah's brother Miles said it best when he just asked, "Can’t Jack Sparrow just go looking for some treasure? That’s all we really want to see."

Final thoughts

Doug (vo): And he’s right. The story in the first one was very simple, just pirates trying to lift a curse. With the second, third and fourth, it’s so all over the place, I forget exactly what the stories are. So, it’s a real mixed bag. I can’t think of any sequel that was good all the way through from beginning to end, but I can’t think of one that gave me nothing to enjoy either. All of them did have funny moments and all of them did have some really cool action from time to time. But when they try to get really heavy and really grand and really serious, man, they don’t know how to do it, and they shouldn’t have to do it. Don’t try to tell Lord of the Rings, just tell us Pirates of the Caribbean. That’s what we liked with the first flick. So, if you’re patient enough and willing to sit through a lot of complicated story to get to the fun stuff, you’ll definitely get your moments. But if you’re looking for something more complete, well-flowing and better put together, then a pirate’s life this ain’t.

[A scene from the third film, with Jack and Elizabeth riding on a parachute to safety, is shown]   

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