Two things about this unsettle me.
i.) They made a fourth goddamn “Pirates” movie. And they’re probably going to make a fifth and a sixth goddamn “Pirates” movie.
Look, I really liked the first one when it came out; back then it was original, unexpected, and charming. But the sequel felt unnecessary, and the third was nearly unwatchable. Yet both were crazy-money successful. I realize it’s naive to expect a studio to let originality trump proven brand success. But…come on! As of 2011, we, as a society, have spent $3.75 billion* making and seeing four movies based off a theme park ride. This will always be true about our history as a species. Nothing will ever change this fact. If in the next thousand years we formulate a unified field theory, end world hunger, and colonize other worlds, it will never negate the fact that on our way to utopia, hundreds of millions of us paid money to spend our free time watching Penelope Cruz ask Johnny Depp:
“How is it we can never meet without you pointing something at me?”
(For those of you who missed the subtext, that is a joke about penises.)
This isn’t necessarily a disgraceful thing; but it is an undeniable fact of our existential condition. I myself am not sure what to make of it.
At least all these “Pirates” movies are keeping Johnny Depp away from Tim Burton, which is always good.
ii.) The Caribbean-naitive mermaids appear Caucasian. And let’s get it out of the way, haha, yes, my suspension of disbelief is strained by mermaids’ ethnicity and not the fact they are half fish. But think about what it means when Hollywood won’t even cast nonwhites as fish people even, when it would kinda make sense.
*Figure tabulated by rounding the sum of the production budgets and box office revenue of Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.