Series Review: Andor – Season 1 (2022)

Ever since Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012, and in turn today’s topic of “Star Wars”, it’s been interesting to see how the franchise has developed. From new movies of varying quality, to reviving a beloved cartoon, to creating new shows in the universe, it has been fascinating to chart its evolution under the House of Mouse. And while I won’t cover it all on here, because of the sheer quantity of things, there’s been one thing airing this Autumn that I was interested in covering. And now that it’s over, I can. So let’s go.

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “Andor”.

Set a few years before “Rogue One”, we follow Cassian Andor (Diego Lina) as he maneuvers the tense climate surrounding the iron grip of the galactic empire and the slow rise of the rebellion, finding himself slowly and reluctantly involved in the fight. The plot of “Andor” is one of the more fresh-feeling ones we’ve gotten from this franchise in recent years (not throwing shade at the others, BTW). Instead of a more typical adventure narrative like in… most of the other “Star Wars” adaptations, this takes more influence from spy thrillers and political dramas, giving us a lingering and brooding tension over the state of the galaxy rather than mainly relying on quick bits of excitement. While Cassian is our main guy, we also do get to see people on both sides of the empire/rebel conflict and what parts they play in the grand scheme of the galaxy. From navigation of high society and politics, to the inner machinations of the empire’s boardrooms, to the blue collar people caught in the middle, the show covers the “Star Wars” universe and its conflicts in really nuanced, clever, and dramatically satisfying ways that feel wholly unique to this show. The slow burn might put some people off, but I personally love that aspect of the show, and a great part of an overall great story.

The characters in this are great. They are all really flawed, nuanced, and have a very grounded feel to them, which gives them a real believability. Let’s talk about our leading man and title character, Cassian Andor. A somewhat cynical man with a tense past who wants nothing to do with the bigger conflict. He’s hard to discuss without going into spoiler, so I’ll just say that he’s a really compelling lead with an excellent arc, with Diego Luna just giving a fantastic performance. As for the rest of the cast, everyone’s just terrific. Stellan Skarsgård, Kyle Soller, Denise Gough, Genevieve O’Reilly, Adria Arjona, Alastair Mackenzie, Dave Chapman, Anton Lesser, and so many more, there’s not a weak link amongst them. It’s just a banger cast, all playing really interesting characters.

The score for the show was composed by Nicholas Britell, and it’s just spectacular. Traditional orchestration mixed with some interesting synth and modulation usage makes for a score that very much fits within the franchise, while still having its own distinct flavor. What I also like is that so much of it is relatively quiet, not in a way that just blends into the background the background and disappears, but rather it creates this somber tone that lingers within each scene, making it so any scene where it gets a bit more loud stick out all the more and have a greater emotional impact. It’s really good sonic storytelling that also is generally pleasing to my ears.

“Andor” was created for the streaming service Disney Plus by Tony Gilroy, with writing by him and a few more cool people (names will be in tags so as to not clutter this bit with too many names), and directing duties divided between Toby Haynes, Benjamin Caron, and Susanna White. And I just love how this show is crafted. Each scene beautifully shot, without looking too polished or overly crafted. It rides a line between looking high budget while still maintaining an almost guerrilla like feel, which I think perfectly fits with the show constantly giving us a lot of contrast between the grit and grime of blue collar settlements, and the sheen of high Coruscant society or the overly sterile look of the empire’s facilities. So there’s a lot of excellent visual storytelling going on between the camera work and the production design. Mix this with an abundance of practical effects, with some really good CG thrown in at times, and you get one of the most visually interesting big budget shows around. It’s just an insanely well crafted show.

This show/season has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8.4/10.

So as you could probably tell, I loved season 1 of “Andor”. Even as I sit here, thinking and writing, it just gets better and better within my noggin. It has a great story, great characters, fantastic performances, great music, and fantastic directing/cinematography/effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Andor” is a 9.84/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Andor” season 1 is now completed.

Hey dude, did you watch Andor?
And or what?

Movie Review: Mulan (1998)

Confession time: I have never actually watched this movie before. I know dishonor on me, dishonor on my cow, blah blah blah. But I then thought that since Disney recently released their live action remake, I might actually give this animated version a go (finally). So let’s get down to business.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mulan”.

Fearing that her father might die if he goes to war, young Mulan (Ming-Na Wen) steals his gear and pretends to be a man so she can take his place in the army. We all know the basic setup at this point, even if you haven’t seen this movie. And the way it’s handled here I quite enjoyed. It’s not without fault however. There are parts of the story that I feel they glossed over a bit, kinda rushing through some aspects in an effort to get to the “good stuff”. That’s not to say that the story here is bad, it’s still a fun family adventure without a good message at its core. I just wish it maybe slowed down a little more to let certain moments simmer more. But as it stands, the story and the way it’s told is still quite entertaining.

The characters in this are colorful, charming, fun, and surprisingly nuanced at times. First up is Mulan, title character and very relatable person. While the people around her want her to be a fancy girly-girl to honor her family, even though she’s not like that at all. And to see her development in the movie from somewhat clumsy and insecure to someone a bit more tough and confident, that’s engaging. And Ming-Na Wen does an excellent job voicing Mulan. Next we have Mushu, a guardian dragon who sets out to help Mulan become a hero… even if he’s only doing it for his own gain. He’s mostly there to bring laughs, but I think the filmmakers found a good balance in that and making him a valuable part of certain emotional developments. And while it might seem slightly jarring to put Eddie Murphy in a role like that at first, I must say that he was great in the role. Then you also get supporting work from people like B.D. Wong, James Hong, Harvey Fierstein, Soon-Tek Oh, Miguel Ferrer, Pat Morita, Frank Welker, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The music of this film is quite good. The main score was composed by Jerry Goldsmith, and it’s an absolute treat for the ears, creating a lot of emotion through the various tracks, giving us a some great background ambiance. Then you have the songs (’cause you know, Disney) that were done by Matthew Wilder and David Zippel. While I don’t think that all of them are among the upper echelon of Disney musical songs, they still generally work pretty well for the movie. The peak of the tracks is of course “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” (sung by Donny Osmond), a most excellent montage song. So yeah, overall this movie has good music.

Based on a Chinese folk legend, “Mulan” was directed by Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook (with writing credits given to a shitload of people, good grief). And I must say that the craft on display here is absolutely superb. The art style for example takes inspiration from traditional Chinese artwork, and blending it with traditional Disney animation to create an absolutely stunning look for this movie that feels wholly its own. The animation is especially breathtaking in motion, where it shows great fluency that is a treat for the eyes.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 86% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 71/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7.6/10.

While its storytelling isn’t the best, due to its fast pace, “Mulan” is still another winning movie within the Disney catalogue. It has a good story, good characters, really good music, and great directing/animation. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mulan” is an 8,77/10. So while a little flawed, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Mulan” is now completed.

Sometimes you just a need a film that can make you smile. This one did that for me.

12 Films of Christmas 2018 (Final Part)

It’s time, ladies and gentlemen. The final part in this year’s 12 Days of Christmas series. It’s been fun, but it’s time for it to come to an end. So let’s go out on a note.

I was considering going with “Jingle All the Way” for this last one, as it was on tv earlier. But then I decided against it because I’d prefer to not get annoyed by a movie on christmas fucking eve. So instead I went with a different thing that was on tv, something that airs every year, same Bat-time, same Bat-channe- damn it, wrong old thing. This is “From All of Us, to All of You”. In this interesting piece of Disney animation, Mickey Mouse and Jiminy Cricket host a sort of christmas show in which they give us some “christmas cards” from various characters. These “cards” are short films, some actually christmas related, and some just clips from movies like “Cinderella” and “The Jungle Book”. And for some unknown reason, it has aired on Swedish television every year since 1960. So yeah, living here in Sweden all my life, I’m kind of familiar with this. I feel nostalgic about seeing it, but at the same time it almost gets a bit same-y, since nothing new is added. Okay, I lied, at the end they show clips from new/upcoming Disney movies, but other than that, it’s the same thing as always, with only minor edits throughout the years. That said, there’s something a bit nice and warm about it, and it brings a nice sense of joy every time I see it. “From All of Us, To All of You” is a charming little compilation with a fascinating legacy.

On the last of christmas’ days, Markus wishes your ass, happy holidays, and a merry fucking christmas.

12 Films of Christmas 2018 (Part 8)

BAH, HUMBUG. There, I did the thing. Can we get on with the talks about the christmas-y thing now?

There are many adaptations of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. There’s the Patrick Stewart one, there’s the Muppet one, there’s the Bill Murray one, there’s the creepy CGI Robert Zemeckis one… so picking one wasn’t easy. But I finally decided to settle on the first version I ever saw. This is “Mickey’s Christmas Carol”. You all know the story, cranky cheapskate Ebenezer Scrooge (Scrooge McDuck/Alan Young) is a dick (or duck, ba-dum-tss) to everyone around him. So when he goes to bed he is visited by the three ghosts of christmas, and they show him how he’s a giant fuck-up, and like I said, you know what happens. Everybody knows this story. The only real difference here is the use of beloved Disney characters instead of actor/humans. But I like it, adds quite a bit of charm. Plus, Scrooge as Scrooge is a match made in obvious. But the animation is good, the story is timeless, the voice cast is stellar… plus, it’s only like 25 minutes, so it won’t consume much of your day. “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” still holds up 35 years later.

On the eighth day of christmas, Markus gives y’all a hug, because he doesn’t wanna tell you “Bah, humbug!”.

“Kingdom Hearts 3” E3 trailer

More E3 talks comin’ your way. And if you don’t like it, then I don’t care… this is my blog, I can write about whatever I want.

So thanks to E3 we have a new trailer for “Kingdom Hearts 3”, the latest part in the strange franchise. So what does this new trailer feature? Well, we see series protagonist Sora (Haley Joel Osment, yes really) going to different Disney worlds and interacting with the characters, giving us both cutscenes and gameplay. And really, this looks like more “Kingdom Hearts”, and that’s always a good thing. It also gives us a little shocker at the end about one a character from some previous games in the series going to the dark side. So yeah… shit’s gettin’ real, yo. My only problem with this trailer is the lack of sound effects, but I suppose it will be fixed before the game actually comes out.  I am also really happy, because unlike previous trailers, this one has an actual fucking release date! After years of “In development”, we have a release date! Am I hyped? You bet your ass I’m hyped for this strange Japanese mish-mash of Disney and “Final Fantasy”. I love this franchise, and I am super excited to see it continue. “Kingdom Hearts 3” is set to be released on January 29th, 2019.

What are your thoughts? Are you excited for “Kingdom Hearts 3”? And are you a fan of this insane franchise like I am? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one and enjoy the trailer.

12 Films of Christmas (Part 8)

Only a couple of days left until christmas, which means only a couple more of these left. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these posts so far, because I’ve had fun making them. Anyway, enough of that semi-sentimental crap, time to talk about a movie.

Today we’re not talking about your typical single-narrative movie, but rather an anthology. Today we are talking about “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas”. The stories in this don’t really have anything in common other than being about christmas and starring various Disney characters. Other than that, the only thing stringing them together is some narration by Kelsey Grammer. That’s right, Frasier doing the typical whimsy and inspiring holiday movie narration… just the idea of that makes me laugh. But he does a good job of it. Anyhow, what are these about then.

The first story is about Huey, Dewey, and Louie (all voiced by Russi Taylor) being all excited about christmas, and at the end of the day making a wish about wanting christmas every day… and that wish comes true. Every consecutive day after that is now December 25th, with the same chain of events. As expected, they soon learn that this gets a bit dull after a while, which makes them try to shake things up and that’s all you get for plot. It’s a simple plot with a simple lesson. But there’s enough decent jokes and scenes here to keep you, or at least a child entertained. I think my favorite part about it might’ve been hearing the great Alan Young (may he rest in peace) as Scrooge. He doesn’t really get any great lines, but that voice just makes everything he says something amazing. The other cast members also do well and help make this a fun little story.

The second part is about Goofy (Bill Farmer) and his son Max (Shaun Fleming) waiting for Santa Claus and being really excited for his arrival. But their excitement gets halted a bit when Pete (Jim Cummings) tells Max that there is no Santa. And this is a good short. It features the typical Goofy humor (some great, some meh), and a surprising amount of heart. There are scenes that really tugged on my heartstrings, and really made me feel for the characters and their situations. The end of the story is a bit of a cop-out since it gives a definitive answer to the “is there a Santa Claus” question. I’d have preferred a bit more ambiguity in that sense, but this is still a good short. And admittedly it has a really good joke in there that made me laugh quite hard. Funny, heartfelt, charming, this is a good short.

The third and final short is a Disney version of “The Gift of the Magi”. In this we have Mickey (Wayne Allwine, R.I.P) and Minnie (Russi Taylor) wanting to buy each other something really special for christmas, but neither of them have any money. So they try to find some way to get these gifts for each other and I won’t spoil the rest. It’s a cute story with some heartfelt moments to it. It has some okay humor in it, and the drama did suck me in a little bit. Overall it is good.

“Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas” is a fun and charming collection of shorts that may not bring much for an adult viewer, but it’s still fun and perfect for younger audience members. I’ll give it this: They have put a surprising amount of effort/money into this for a direct-to-video christmas thing. They didn’t have to do that, but they did, and we got some really good animation thanks to that. Really, this is good.

What are your thoughts on “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas”? And who’s your favorite Disney character? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one.

Movie Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Spider-Man, Spider-Man, rebooted often like no one can. Now with Marvel, he tries again. And have to fight the Batman. Look out… here comes the Reboot-Man.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Spider-Man: Homecoming”.

Set two months after “Civil War”, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is back in New York, just trying to live his double life as a high school student and as Spider-Man. He also wants to prove himself to Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) to show that he too can be an Avenger. And as Peter is dealing with school, romance, and helping the community out as Spidey, a villain not called The Vulture (Michael Keaton) starts making a lot of trouble. And Peter sees this as the opportunity to really prove himself to Tony. So now we have our coming-of-age superhero movie. And I thought the plot here was great. You not only have the fast-paced parts of Spidey trying to figure who this Birdman (HA!) is and how he could stop him, but you also have slower moments developing the story of Peter Parker and how he deals with everything in his life. And I thought this was all really well handled. I felt invested in the plot, it really managed to have a good blend of superhero adventure and a John Hughes-ish coming-of-age dramedy. It was great.

The characters in this are fun, entertaining, and really interesting. Tom Holland showed in “Civil War” that he could be a really good Spidey (and Peter Parker), but his screen time was limited. Now that he has a full movie he really got the opportunity to show what he could do, and it paid off. Holland is fantastic as both Peter Parker and Spider-Man, showing both the relatable and dorky side known as Peter Parker, and the fun/cool hero that is Spider-Man. He does the one thing the two previous actors couldn’t: Perfectly portray both sides of the character. Michael Keaton as The Vulture was great. Usually the MCU has villains that are passable at best, but they really managed to make him interesting. They give him a backstory and some understandable motivation which just makes him so much more interesting than most of teh generic MCU villains. And Michael Keaton is fantastic in the role. Jacob Batalon plays Peter’s best friend Ned in this movie and he’s funny and charming. And Batalon is really good in the role, sharing some great chemistry with Holland. Marisa Tomei as Aunt May was great, she was fun and I really believed her as a mother figure to Peter. Robert Downey Jr. isn’t in the movie much, and when he is there he doesn’t steal the spotlight. He acts as a sort of mentor to Peter and gave us both some funny lines and some okay drama at times. And I don’t think I have to mention that he was great here… dude’s been doing this since 2008. Tony Revolori as Flash Thompson… yeah, he was great. I never thought he could play an asshole, based on his performance and overall appearance in “Grand Budapest Hotel”, but he played an asshole very well in this. Also, welcome back Happy Hogan! That’s right, Jon Favreau returned to play Tony’s assistant, this time acting more as Peter’s supervisor, and he was great. Alright, quickfire round of this movie’s great actors: Donald Glover, Bokeem Woodbine, Laura Harrier, Zendaya, Angourie Rice, Michael Chernus, Logan Marshall-Green, Martin Starr. Wow, that’s a lot of names. And there are more, but I don’t want to spoil them here in case you don’t already know about them.

The score for the movie was composed by Michael Giacchino, and can we just take a second to talk about this man… or machine as I’m inclined to believe that he is. He puts out like 50 billion scores a year… Jesus fucking Christ, man, take a break! Anyhow, his score for this movie was really good. It’s the usual big/fun superhero action stuff, but there are also tracks for smaller scenes throughout and that too sounds really good. There are also a bunch of licensed tracks used throughout this movie. And not only are they overall really good, but they are used very well in their respective scenes.

This movie was directed by Jon Watts, the man behind the very small but still really good “Cop Car”. And I think he did a great job directing this movie. His directing here has a lot of energy and charm to it, making for a pretty fast-paced and fun watch. And the shots do look really good. And the action scenes are pretty clever and really fun, and even a little more violent than I thought they’d be. And I don’t mean violent in the Marvel/Netflix way, but it packed a bit more punch than I was expecting. There’s also a lot of comedy in this movie and I laughed a lot. From simple chuckles to full on belly laughter, this movie brought the laughs. It’s also filled with fun easter eggs and references, both to the MCU and other properties, so have fun discovering them all.

This movie just came out, but it has so far been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 73/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,2/10.

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” is the best “Spider-Man” movie we’ve gotten since 2004. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, great directing, and hilarious comedy. Time for my final score. *Thwip!*. My final score for “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is a 9,89/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is now completed.

Spidey is good again… I’m so happy!

Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)

Guys, we have finally reached the end of my “Pirates of the Caribbean” review series. If you’ve somehow missed my reviews of the previous three movie then I suggest you go read them. And if you didn’t miss the reviews, I suggest you go read them anyway. Still, I’ve had fun reviewing these movies for you guys, and I hope you’ve enjoyed me reviewing them for you. Now, without further ado… let’s get into the final review.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”.

Captain Jack (Johnny Depp) is back. And after he runs into an old flame named Angelica (Penélope Cruz), he soon finds himself at the mercy of legendary pirate Edward “Blackbeard” Teach (Ian McShane). So now team Jackbeard goes on a quest to find the legendary fountain of youth. Oh, and Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), now working for the English government, is also out to find it because why the fuck not. So now we have a more simple and straightforward narrative, at least for a “Pirates” movie. However, I never found myself invested in the story of this movie. There wasn’t any point where I found myself interested in what happened. I just followed along saying “This isn’t bad… but it isn’t great either”. I’ll give it this at least: Since this is the shortest movie in the series (around 2 hours 10 minutes, dicounting end credits), the plot never feels poorly paced. It’s not bloated like “At World’s End”, but it’s also not as interesting as “Curse of the Black Pearl”. The plot is here is just… fine.

The characters here are for the most part kind of bland, but there are a few decently interesting ones. Johnny Depp of course returns as Jack Sparrow and even though he’s still almost a parody of the OG appearance of Sparrow, he’s still good in the role. Kevin McNally returns as Gibbs and he was once again good in the role. Geoffrey Rush once again played Barbossa and he once again killed it even though he wasn’t allowed to be quite as crazy as in the previous movies. Now onto the new ones because most of the old cast seem to have disappeared. Penélope Cruz plays Angelica, an old flame of Jack’s and she’s actually a decently interesting character. She’s tough, she’s clever, and she’s just fun. And Cruz is great in the role. She and Depp even share some pretty good chemistry here, the banter between them is actually somewhat fun. Ian McShane plays Blackbeard, a menacing pirate captain who isn’t afraid to kill you if you cross him in the slightest. And McShane just kills it, he gave a commanding performance that just stole the show. Sam Claflin plays Philip, a man who strongly believes in god, and while his character is incredibly bland, Claflin does a pretty good job here. Stephen Graham plays Scrum, a man on Blackbeard’s crew, and while his character isn’t the most interesting, Graham is great in the role. Really, overall it’s a well acted movie.

Like in the previous two movies, the score for this movie was composed by Hans Zimmer and it was really good. Some tracks were the typical big, fun, “Pirates” music. But there were also some tracks where Zimmer took help from Mexican music dup Rodrigo y Gabriela, and that made for some pretty great tracks. The use of their guitars within the score was just awesome, I loved it. So overall the score here is really good and it works well for the movie.

This is the first “Pirates” movie to not be directed by Gore Verbinski. Instead it was directed by Rob Marshall and I think he did a pretty good job. The shots look fine, and scenes have an okay flow to them. What is a shame is that when Verbinski was at the helm of the series he gave us some gor(e)geous movies that were visually interesting (to say that least). Marshall on the other hand doesn’t really bring that, this movie isn’t as interesting to look at. It doesn’t look bad, it just looks… dull. Speaking of dull, the action scenes here are dull. They are okay, but nowhere near as fun and cool as in the previous movies. I’ll say this though: the visual effects here are great. I have no bigger comment about them, I just thought I’d say that they look great… moving on!

This movie hasn’t been that well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 32% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 45/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,7/10.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” is an okay movie. It has an okay plot, pretty good characters, really good performances, great music, okay directing, and really good visual effects. My problems with the movie is that the plot isn’t very interesting, a lot of characters here are quite bland and uninteresting, and it’s just not very interesting to look at. Time for my final score. *Yarr*. My final score for “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” is a 6,45/10. While not great, I’d still say that it might be worth a rental.

My review of “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” is now completed.

There, my “Pirates” review series is over. Thanks for reading and thanks for interacting. Have a good one.

Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)

We’re at the third part in my series of “Pirates of the Caribbean” reviews! If you haven’t read my reviews of the first two movies, you can easily find them here on my blog. Anyway, enough of that. Let’s just get into the review.

Ladies and gents… “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s end”.

(Spoiler alert for the end of the previous movie) After Jack’s (Johnny Depp) death the hands of the Kraken, he has been cursed to be stuck in Davy Jones’ locker. So now we find Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), Elizabeth (Keira Knightley), and Will (Orlando Bloom) going to great lengths to get Jack back, because they apparently need him to take on and hopefully stop the evil Davy Jones (Bill Nighy). And now we have our bloated pirate adventure. I don’t necessarily have any problems with long movies as long as they’re well paced, but this movie meanders a lot to stretch out that runtime (two hours and forty-one minutes!). They’re also going a little overboard (HAHA!) with the overall plot, having so many plot-threads going on to the point where nothing feels truly fleshed out. There are moments in throughout the runtime that show great promise, making me actually go “Now, that’s some good storytelling”, but the overall thing (while pretty fun) feels bloated and messy.

The characters in this are for the most part pretty entertaining, though most of them are kind of uninteresting, mainly because they get no real development. Johnny Depp is still good as Jack Sparrow, though he’s also getting up to a few too many silly antics throughout. What was a charmingly unpredictable character has become kind of a buffoon (more than he already kind of was). He has some good moments throughout, though he feels more like a parody of Captain Jack rather than the original Captain Jack. Elizabeth Swann, she’s still a great character, a tough and clever woman who still shows that she isn’t perfect. And Keira Knightley is once again great in the role, even getting a very emotional scene in the moment that kind of got to me. Will Turner, generic handsome hero-guy who overall is kind of a dull character. The only thing making the character watchable is Orlando Bloom who gives a charismatic enough performance. Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbossa, once again a fucking blast to watch, he’s amazing. Jack Davenport is once again great as Norrington. Bill Nighy, once again kind of hammy as Davy Jones, but it still works perfectly for the character. Jonathan Pryce, once again great as Elizabeth’s father. Lee Arenberg and Mackenzie Crook came back as Pintel and Ragetti, and they’re both still pretty fun. Kevin McNally, once again good as Gibbs. Stellan Skarsgård is once again great as Bootstrap Bill. Tom Hollander once again was geat as the smug asshole known as Cutler Beckett. Naomie Harris was kind of goofy but still really good as Tia Dalma. Chow Yun-Fat was good as pirate captain Sao Feng. We also got a fun little cameo in here from Ketih Richards, playing captain Teague (and if you don’t know who he is then 3, 2, 1) AKA Captain Jack’s dad. Yeah, it’s a good cast.

The score for the movie was (like in the previous movie) composed by Hans Zimmer and it was really good. Big, epic, fun, and just great. The only part about it that bugs me is one track called “Parlay”. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, it’s a good track. What bugs me about it is that is rips off Ennio Morricone’s “Man with a Harmonica”. As I was watching the movie as preparation for this review I sat there thinking “I- is that Man with a Harmonica?”. Seriously, listen to both tracks and compare them. Other than that, the score is great.

As with the previous two movies, “At World’s End” was directed by Gore Verbinski and I think he does a really good job. There are some really great shots in this movie, in particular there is one where the stars are reflected on the water, it’s pure eye candy. And the shots where this movie doesn’t feel like blowing my mind, they look good too. Verbinski really has a good eye for visuals. Speaking of which, I don’t think I ever mentioned in my previous reviews (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong) that the sets in these look fantastic. Also, the costumes and such… great! And the CGI looks great once again, especially of course on the crew of the Flying Dutchman. And the action scenes, while bloated and kind of dumb, are quite fun.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 45% rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 50/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10. The movie was also nominated for 2 Oscars in the categories of Best makeup and Best visual effects.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” is a mess but it’s also pretty fun. It has an okay plot, pretty good characters, really good performances, really good music, really good directing, and great visual effects. My problems with the movie come from the messy plot and a good amount of characters not being the most interesting. Time for my final score. *Yarr*. My final score for “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” is a 7,78/10. While quite messy and bloated, it’s still worth a rental.

My review of “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” is now completed.

One more movie in this damn review series left…

Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)

As promised (thanks to a twitter poll) I am bringing you reviews of all the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies because the new one which can’t choose a fucking title is out. I already reviewed “Curse of the Black Pearl”, so now I am bringing you a review of the second movie. So let’s just get into it!

Me mateys… “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”!

Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) are about to be married, but their wedding gets interrupted by Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander) because they helped a certain pirate in the previous movie. To redeem them, Will has to find Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and fetch his compass for Beckett. And while all of this is going on, Jack is getting into even more trouble when he finds out that legendary pirate Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) is coming for him. So we have a lot of moving parts in this, and question is… does it work? For the most part, yeah. While there are a lot of things going on, it only borders on feeling convoluted. Really, the plot for the most part works. I say “for the most part” because about 20 minutes into the movie we get a section that has no real bearing on the rest of the plot. Sure, there’s some fun to be had, but it has no real purpose other than extending the runtime, which actually kind of messes with the overall flow of the movie/plot, and that kind of bugs me. So while I don’t mind most of the plot, there’s that section around 20 minutes in that brings it down for me. Again, kind of fun, but overall has no real purpose.

The characters in this movie are all entertaining and for the most part quite interesting. Johnny Depp is once again really good as Jack Sparrow, even though he’s up to a few too many silly antics in this movie… most of them around the dipping point I mentioned earlier, hmm. But he’s still fun. Keira Knightley is once again great as Elizabeth Swan. What I liked the most about her character is that she got to do a lot more in this movie, and be a more active part of the cast, showing what a clever character she is. Orlando Bloom once again played Will Turner, the generic handsome hero guy. But you know what, I appreciated his character a bit more in this one because they start introducing things relating to his past, giving him some more weight and making him a slightly more interesting character, and Orlando Bloom is really good in the role. Kevin McNally returns as Jack’s right hand man, Gibbs, and he’s once again good in the role. Jack Davenport returned to play James Norrington, this time stripped of his fancy fucking title and wig, and instead becomes a more compelling and also rugged character. Lee Arenberg and Mackenzie Crook return as comic relief characters Pinel & Ragetti, and they’re once again pretty fun. Jonathan Pryce returns as Elizabeth’s dad, and he’s ocne again great. Now, on to the newcomers! Tom Hollander plays Beckett, the man who sent Will to find Jack’s compass, and he’s just the most smug dick I’ve ever seen in a movie, and Hollander does a great job. Bill Nighy plays Davy Jones, the legendary pirate who also happens to be a squidman. And while there’s ham in Nighy’s performance, I feel like that’s the only way the character could be played, it is really the perfect performance for the character. We also got Stellan Skarsgård as Bootstrap Bill, the father of Will Turner, which is what made Will’s character more compelling. And Skarsgård is great in the role. Really, there are a lot of solid performances on display here.

The score for the movie was composed by the great Hans Zimmer and he did a phenomenal job with it. Sure, there’s some of the familiar tunes from the first movie, but he also created some original pieces that were big, loud, epic, dramatic, haunting, and just plain awesome. And I have to mention it, the track called “The Kraken” is the best track to come out of this franchise. That’s right, the middle child gave us the best song, whoop-de-fucking-do.

Like the first one, this movie was directed by Gore Verbinski and I think he once again did a really good job. The shots look great and he just has a good sense of scope. This really is a beautiful movie, and I’m not just saying that because of the tropical locations, this is a good looking movie. And the action, while really fucking ridiculous at times, is really fun. And the CGI in this movie… fantastic. The way that Davy Jones’ crew looks, with all of them being part man, part sea creature, it looks amazing. And when they choose to introduce the Kraken in the movie, holy shit, it’s badass. It’s a big and fancy effect that looks great. Really, from a visual standpoint this is a great movie.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 54% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 53/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10. The movie won 1 Oscar in the category of Best visual effects. It was also nominated for an additional 3 Oscars in the categories of Best art direction, Best sound mixing, and Best sound editing.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” is a good follow-up to the awesome first movie, even if it isn’t as good. It has a good plot, really good characters, great performances, fantastic music, really good directing, and great visual effects. My flaw with it is that dipping point around the 20 minute mark. Time for my final score. *Shoots undead monkey*. My final score for “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” is a 9,23/10. So while it’s flawed, I’d say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” is now completed.

2 down, 2 to go.