So Penelope Cruz with a moustache looks like Frank Zappa. What else can I say about Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides? I did need to get drunk to finish it.
There're some Buster Keaton-ish running antics on the part of Jack Sparrow early in the film as he escapes from redcoat pursuers in London. They kind of made me smile, though as usual they lack impact when you can sense how much editing was involved. We have Jackass, I don't understand why we can't have a modern movie that combines real stunts with comedy fiction. I guess Sacha Baron Cohen kind of does that.
The movie didn't really start to feel like a drag, though, until all the pirates were shocked and appalled that Blackbeard killed a member of his crew for mutiny. Then I thought back to the dumb, quippy dialogue I'd been tolerating, and had this, "What am I watching?" moment of clarity. It was like the sudden realisation that a man standing in front of me is an animated corpse with a fake wax head and all the other body parts are trying to make decisions in the absence of a brain, leading to the empty and meaningless actions of a body controlled by committee.
I think my favourite character was actually Barbossa largely because of Geoffrey Rush's clear ode to Robert Newton in Treasure Island in terms of voice and manner. He gets to be much more ruthless than Jack Sparrow, too. I wish pirates could be pirates.
The mermaids in the movie were pretty--they looked like skinny lingerie models wearing Daryl Hannah's Splash costume. In fact, this movie seems to abide by Splash rules about mermaids getting legs when out of water. The main difference is that they have vampire teeth and seem to be giant piranhas. Except for one good mermaid who has a perfunctory romance with a missionary. I was obsessed with mermaids when I was a kid, and I still haven't found a really good mermaid movie. This certainly wasn't it.
I have to admit, by the end of the movie, I'd had so much to drink I don't clearly remember what was going on. But it was vaguely fun for that. It's certainly the best Rob Marshall movie I've ever seen.