Guest review by SMH.
4 / 10
Gore Verbinski is back with Pirates of the Caribbean: Wild West. He’s clearly caught the curse of the Black Pearl, because everything he does now seems to have Johnny Depp in it. Does he even ask Depp to do these films, or does Depp just appear on the first day of shooting, dressed up and without an invitation?
I’ll be honest, I didn’t finish watching this film. Not because I had something else to do (I don’t), but because it felt like I was in a movie marathon – like, literally, a four hour running race, wearing a Google Glass, watching this film. I was physically tired of sitting on my couch. The only thing pushing me on was the mental game as I watched what I thought was the narrative arc take its predictable turns. Every time I thought the bridging sequence had begun (where the protagonist and his side-kick have the falling out only to reunite for the final sequence), I’d be cruelly taken through another half hour quasi-biopic of a non-essential character.
I fast forwarded to the credits to see if there was actually an editor of the film. Apparently there was one, surprising really. This film is realised by Disney, with the intention of marketing it to, I guess, young adults. Disney is cruel. I’d be surprised if many young adults made it to the end of this film. Most would come out as pensioners. That sounds like something a really old person would say, but back in my day, there were informal rules on the length of movies, where 149 minutes for an action film is too fucking long.
It’s so long.
Also, it’s like the unscrupulous soul-stealing Lo Pan from Big Trouble in Little China (badass movie) has got to it. When you’re half way through (i.e. an hour and half into the film, when it should be wrapping up) and you care so little about the characters that you’re actively wishing for something terrible to happen to them, there is something wrong. There is so much over-the-top action, and so much backstory, and so much Depp, that it just starts to cancel itself out. It lacks character and charm, partly because, try as he might, Armie Hammer’s Lone Ranger cannot compete with the annoying Keith Richards/Captain Jack Sparrow/Tonto/Jar Jar Binks, who is now a character in a vacuum (which is where Depp needs to send this now overdone personality – outer space).
I guess I wanted more of a Spaghetti Western meets popcorn, ridiculous Aliens and Cowboys-style affair. Hell, I’d rather watch Wild Wild West with Will Smith again. Apparently this film is an action/comedy. It suffices to say that the only thing funny about it was the joy in the faces of the actors playing the villains. Faux-punching Depp and Hammer in the face would have been marvellous.
What’s good about it? Well, to answer that, consider this: what is good about tantric sex? Apparently it makes the sex better, when you get there. So watch this, and the next good film you watch will be like watching Shawshank Redemption and Forrest Gump. At the same time. At IMAX. In 3D. With a large popcorn and choctop.