Sunday, May 28, 2017

Giving myself the option

I've now watched three movies this year just so that I could prepare myself for a new movie that's coming out this year ... but have yet to watch any of the new movies.

At least in the case of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, the new movie's only been out for three days.

The first of these was Sleepless Night back in January, which was made available as the 99 cent rental on iTunes in anticipation of the American remake, Sleepless, starring Jamie Foxx. My primary interest was in the actual French film, since it had always been on my list of films to see, but I no doubt had a curiosity about how Hollywood would remake the same story. Besides, there's always something fascinating about the first movies to come out in the new release year, and Sleepless was one of the first. I have yet to watch Sleepless, and in fact passed over a chance to rent it on Friday night when I opted for the cult/torture porn movie Rupture instead. (Which I actually kind of liked.)

Then earlier this month it was a second viewing of Guardians of the Galaxy, to get myself ready for Vol. 2. Or more properly, to hopefully create the necessary excitement to want to see Vol. 2, which would occur if I found myself more favorably disposed to the original Guardians on second viewing. I didn't, and so that viewing of Vol. 2 has not transpired yet either.

Last night was probably the strangest -- pun intended -- and most unwarranted of these, a belated viewing of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the fourth Pirates movie that came out six years ago.

If you are going to watch any Pirates of the Caribbean movies, it's probably safe to say that you can come in anywhere in the timeline and not be too confused. Oh, the events relate to each other I suppose, but this is not a series among whose chief pleasures is its mythology. If you are going to a Pirates movie, you're going for the world and probably for the performance of Johnny Depp, if you are somehow not sick of Jack Sparrow by now.

Yet I decided two unlikely things this weekend:

1) That I might actually want to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, and that I might actually see it this Wednesday night. There's no end to my optimism about this world, I guess.

2) That a potential viewing of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales would potentially be enriched by having seen Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

And I guess there was actually a third unlikely decision:

3) That I would start watching this two hour and 18 minute movie on Saturday night at 10:45 after driving two hours home from a friend's house in the country, after a couple beers earlier in the afternoon and a glass of wine at dinner, and nearly running out of petrol (gas) on the way home. That's a story for another time, or would have been if it had gone into movie territory by actually running out of gas with two sleeping kids alongside a country road in rural Australia.

But I wanted to give myself that option of watching Dead Men Tell No Tales when I am out Wednesday night, as I'll be needing something in the 9 o'clock time slot after my earlier event finishes. (It's either that or Guardians 2. Heh.)

Even though I certainly liked On Stranger Tides less than I like Guardians of the Galaxy -- the parts I remember, anyway, as I may have slept through a full third of it all told -- I remain slightly more likely to watch Dead Man Tell No Tales on Wednesday, even though I hear it's awful.

The reason for this?


That's right, my most unexpectedly enjoyable ten-minute stretch at Disneyland when we went in January was on the very ride that inspired this series of movies.

I think I might have been on Pirates of the Caribbean in Disney World back in the early 1980s when I went with my family, but that was a lifetime ago and obviously I retain no useful memory of it. But I'd never been at Disneyland (probably because I'd been to Disneyland only once before this trip), and it felt like a seminal Disney experience that I needed to get in this time.

Well, I loved the damn thing.

I mentioned earlier the "world" created in the Pirates movies, and there's kind of a literal component to that as a reason myself and others enjoy that ride so much. You really feel transported to a time of swashbucklers and wenches, drunkards sitting on the stoops of little villages as cannon blasts go off around the corner. I loved the detail of the sets and the nooks and crannies I could imagine myself away into. Listing its charms in reverse, I set off on the right foot with the ride by noting that there's a restaurant set into the front of the ride where you load on the boats, so you can dine slightly entrenched into the Pirates world. (We didn't as it was all booked out.) There's always something at Disneyland that reduces me to an excited kid, and this time, this was it.

You might argue that for purists who love the ride -- if it's not ridiculous to refer to such people as "purists" -- the movies do all they can to ruin that world. But I guess I want to give them every chance to get it right this time. Which is why I discussed my cautious optimism about On Stranger Tides in this post back in 2011, and which is why I'm giving myself the option of seeing Pirates 5 on Wednesday night.

They're saying it's the last one -- heard that one before -- so I guess they've got one more chance.

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