Reviewed Mar 16, 2012
John Warrender’s review:
The first two sequels to Jerry Bruckheimer and Gore Verbinski’s surprise smash hit Pirates movie were pilloried for being cynical cash-ins, but I always thought they were quite the opposite. The attempt to create an entire fantasy world deriving its rules and laws from those of nautical myth was, in the end, far too ambitious to succeed, but for a while there it was exciting to see writers Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio go for broke with their plots, counter-plots and counter-counter plots. As if to prove my point, the fourth Pirates movie sloped into view to show what a cynically produced Pirates movie looks like, and it wasn’t pretty. Or funny. Or coherent. Or energetic. Or anything, really, other than a colossal, expensive, tedious waste of everyone’s time and talent. Rob Marshall deserves a lot of the blame for this. The inertia generated by his unimaginative direction infects the actors, who behave like the cast of a parochial pantomime at the end of its run.
Fans of Elliott and Rossio might want to argue that it’s the listless editing that did the most damage to the movie, as a few clever plot payoffs near the end make a case that there were greater treasures there that could have been plundered with a bit more discipline. But let’s be honest, this was one of the most blatant cash-ins of the year. No amount of spreadsheets and revised drafts can convince me that anyone involved gave a crap about making a good movie, merely a profitable one.