May 27, 2007

Pirates of the Carribean: At World's End

What a sad conclusion to the Pirates of the Carribean trilogy. Even if they decide to make more Pirates movies, I won't be there. After the clever and entertaining Curse of the Black Pearl in 2003, the filmmakers proceeded to film two sequels simultaneously, and ignore every lesson we've ever learned about how to make good sequels. They fall into every trap! The middle episode, last summer's Dead Man's Chest, was overly long, confusing, and bloated, but in a fun and entertaining way. Episode 3 is a confusing, charm-free slog to the finish line, like watching a runner with a leg cramp limp across the finish line.

It's possible that I would be giving this film a higher grade than C plus if I had seen it in a modern theater. I was warned in advance that the Beach Theater in Cape May, New Jersey has none of the charm of a vintage movie theater. The Beach has been showing movies since the early 1950s, and all the improvements in the last half-century have been...what's the opposite of improvement? I've had a wide variety of bad moviegoing experiences: reels missing (The Fifth Element), hostile audience members (The Italian Job), out-of-focus with no surround sound (Shrek 2), and a film break right before the climax (Tremors), but this has to rank right up there. The sound system made understanding the dialog (especially Chow Yun-Fat's accent) difficult; the image bled over all four sides of the screen, meaning the shot composition was totally lost; someone opened a door in the projection booth during a crucial plot point, casting sunlight all over the screen; and the theater smelled like gym socks. I'm reminded of the best moviegoing experience of my life, when I saw Ocean's Eleven at the THX-certified Framingham Premium Cinema-- the surround sound was so good, I thought people were talking at the back of the theater when in fact it was only the surround speakers!

Also On Memorial Day, Through The Years

I have been to the movies on Memorial Day Monday 13 times in 24 years, but it's not a great track record.