“Pirates of the Caribbean 4” in 2011!

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(Found via Cinematical and Comingsoon.net)

The first “Pirates of the Caribbean” is my favorite movie, hands down. I used to pick something more “classy” to pose as my favorite, like “Lawrence of Arabia” (which I still love), but there’s just no denying it. I saw it when I was 16, and it was just the best time I ever had at the theater. The characters, the visuals, the laughs, the swordfights, the adventure! It was magic like only the movies could deliver. (It was also the movie that made me want to be an actor—“of course I could do characters like Johnny Depp—it’s easy!”—ah, forgot all about that dream…)

“Pirates” deserved a sequel (and many at that, as long as Johnny Depp was willing to don the mascara and that iconic, boozy walk and accent)…and while I liked watching both of its sequels, I think the filmmakers took the wrong approach with them. After digesting both “Dead Man’s Chest” and “At World’s End” (and letting the hype—and my own giddiness—die down a little bit), I can safely saw that there was a good story in there—Davy Jones is a terrific villain, and many details, such as Will’s father, Bootstrap Bill, and the threat of the East India Trading Co., were interesting touches. But, in my view, undertaking such a massive, two-movie-spanning epic was not the right way to go. I love pieces of both films (and the 3rd one comes very close to equaling the 1st for me), but the story became unwieldy, leaving us with the too-much-filler “Dead Man’s Chest” and the cluttered, overlong “At World’s End”—in the end, none of the sequels could match the clever charm of the original.

Plus, I might be alone on this, but I didn’t love the first “Pirates” because of its supernatural angle—I thought the undead pirates were immensely clever—a neat, modern twist to the adventure genre, but it only added to the experience, not defined it. So, it was a bit disheartening to see the sequels embrace that element so much, losing the old-fashioned stunts and suspense (and maybe even some good character moments) to a parade of special effects. I still enjoyed both movies (and I watch the 3rd one almost as often as “Curse of the Black Pearl”), but there is a lot of room for improvement.

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With that, I’d still go for another movie—let Disney make a stand-alone sequel—one movie to recapture the magic of the first, and leave the franchise on a high note. Up the swashbuckling, up the high-seas romance and adventure, and let’s just see a simple, inventive story (much like the first one was). Captain Jack Sparrow is a beloved character—I know lots of people had mixed feelings about the sequels (even though they made bucket loads of box-office gold), but I’m pretty sure they’ll turn up to see Johnny Depp take one more crack at quite possibly his best creation.

And why exactly am I rambling about “Pirates”? Well, because, in 2011, another “Pirates” movie is just that we’re getting! Just announced the other day, “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” is hitting theaters in the summer of 2011. Johnny Depp is officially signed on, (and Geoffrey Rush is expected to return as well), and while plot details are mum, we’ll probably see Sparrow and Barbossa (SPOILER ALERT) try to find the Fountain of Youth, like the last movie suggested.

Pirates_of_the_Caribbean_6_sizedAs for Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, it sounds like they’re sitting this one out, which (MINOR SPOILER ALERT) actually makes sense: their storyline was wrapped up pretty nicely in the end-credits scene of “At World’s End”, and they should only come back if they could be naturally tied in to this new adventure—I’d hate to see them shoehorned in just for recognition value. They’re both good characters, but I doubt there’s any more that can be done with them.

This could be really great—if Disney takes its time, and the writers give us a fresh, exciting story, we might just get the movie I’ve wanted to see since Jack Sparrow dove off the cliffs of Port Royal and asked for “that horizon”. Maybe Jack could finally get a love interest too? How awesome would it be to have Zoe Saldana come back as AnaMaria—those two seemed to have a great spark. Lots of possibilities, and with Depp and Rush front and center, I have very high hopes for this. “Drink up me hearties”…well, you know the rest! Cue that awesome “Pirates” music.

pirates-of-the-caribbean-the-curse-of-the-black-pearl-johnny-depp-1

"...and really bad eggs. Drink up me hearties, yo-ho!"

Images courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures.

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