Defending the Pirate Code

Over at io9, Charlie Jane has a list of the best and worst movie threequels.  Normally I’d let this pass as link bait, but I had to step in to defend Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, which was placed in the worst category.

I’m not sure why people are so befuddled by the second two Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Yes, the story is unusually complex for a family-friendly adventure, but that’s half the fun. The trilogy does a wonderful job of creating a mythology and world and following it through without it ever becoming a series of hand waves without resorting to ass-pulls and hand waves. That’s good story telling. Gore Verbinski has proven himself a master at managing humor, drama, pathos, silliness, and existential horror and fitting them altogether in a way that is unusual and fun. In short, the Pirates Trilogy does everything we regularly bitch and moan about movies not doing with character and story.

It’s easy to pick apart the flaws of a movie but much harder to conceive of what they should look like if they were good. PotC trilogy is what Star Wars tried to be and missed, by adding teddy bears and excess plot roundabouts just to show off stuff that could be made into toys.

It was pointed out to me that the fish men are just as much toy fodder as the ewoks, which I will concede, with the caveat that the fih men still work as both cool monsters in that world, and serve the story far better than killer teddy bears form outer space.

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I also had to step in and defend Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, which is not only not as bad as Charlie Jane makes it out be, but also on the grounds that it is in fact not a threequel at all. Despite having a III in the title, The Search For Spock is the second film in a trilogy that starts (with a bang) with The Wrath of Khan and ends with The Voyage Home. As both a movie that stands on it’s own, and as the middle part of a trilogy,The Search For Spock holds it’s own. Even if you don’t go in for the admittedly maudlin friendship story, The Search For Spock solidifies the revamped Klingons as the heartless badasses we’ve come to know and love, due in large part to Christopher Lloyd’s performance as Kruge.