Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Pirates of the Calamari: if America loves Jack Sparrow, it still loves New Orleans
Pirates of the Caribbean / Dead man's Chest was more entertaining than we expected. Like many, I went to see whether Depp could make Jack Sparrow sing again. The answer was both yes and no. At 2 and a half hours, it was hard to sustain the comic energy. The characters stuck around too long. Depp's schtick grew stale, sad to say. The script extended its life by rambling like a hermit crab over every inch of Caribbean terrain.
In a way, it's a boy's movie, since much of it is peopled with slimy, glistening sea creatures. How many writhing suction tubes can you include in one movie? The answer, provided by Pirates: about a jillion.
But the NY Times says it's not particularly a boy's flic: Sharon Waxman wrote "Significantly, the new "Pirates" seemed to defy most trends in movie-going. Movies generally draw from different segments of the population — men or women, over or under 25 — and usually attract them on different days of the weekend. Instead, box office analysts said that the movie appealed to all segments of the population on each day of the weekend, including teenagers, families and adults, a rare phenomenon."
Shedding bustier and skirts, Keira Knightly looked appealing as a sailor boy. She proved competent at adventure-acting and really adept at tanning. Orlando Bloom was competent, too. Are you an Orlando fan? It's chemical, right?
Depp archly taps into the enigmatic, romantic image established by The Dobie Gillis character Maynard G. Krebs and Doonesbury's Zonker. Depp has famously cited inspiration from Keith Richards, PePe LePew and Errol Flynn. Bugs Bunny and Groucho Marx have also been mentioned.
But if you had to say exactly where Jack Sparrow came from, it would definitely be from central casting, the French Quarter.
So if America so loves this flaming figure (Pirates had "the most successful opening weekend in Hollywood history"), maybe New Orleans is not lost, after all.