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.

Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

Hello there, ladies and gentlemen! Recently I put up a poll on my twitter (@TheMarckoguy, if you’re not already following me there) asking if you wanted me to review the first four “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies since the new one is coming out very soon. After 24 hours the poll was over and a majority voted “Yes” on it, so I’m gonna bring you reviews of all the “Pirates” movies leading up to the new one. So here we go with the first part in this new review series.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl”.

When his long time friend and love interest Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) gets kidnapped by a gang of seemingly undead pirates, blacksmith Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) has to team up with the very eccentric pirate captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) to find the bad guys and stop them. That’s it, a simple swashbuckler plot with a supernatural twist… and it doesn’t really need more than that. It’s a fun plot featuring pirates and some supernatural bullshit. And to be honest, while the supernatural stuff isn’t necessary to make a good movie, I feel like it really added something to the plot here, deepening it without going (pun intended) overboard. It’s an interesting world they set up and they make a fun adventure happen in it.

The characters in this movie are all interesting and really entertaining. Jack Sparrow is a selfish jerk who also happens to have his heart in the right place, and Johnny Depp is great in the role, playing him with a lot of fun energy. Elizabeth Swann can seem like a bit of a damsel in distress at first, being kidnapped by the undead pirates and all, but she’s actually a tough and stubborn young woman that I enjoy following, and Keira Knightley is really good in the role. Will Turner is the generic handsome hero guy who you see in a lot of these adventure movies, so while he is a very generic character, I still think Orlando Bloom does a really good job. Captain Barbossa is the leader of teh undead pirates and he’s a vile and menacing man, and Geoffrey Rush is fantastic in the role. Then we have commodore Norrington, a man determined to catch/stop any and all pirates out there, and Jack Davenport is great in the role. Tons of great actors/performances in this movie… too many to mention.

The score for the movie was composed by Klaus Badelt and it is really good. It’s fun, energetic, bombastic, inspiring, and perfectly fits the swashbuckler vibe that this movie is going for. Really, it’s just great.

The movie was directed by Gore Verbinski and I think he did a great job. The shots look great and there’s a lot of energy in his directing. Especially the action scenes, they’re a lot of fun to watch, especially if you have a soft spot for swashbucklers like I do. Also, the visual effects in this movie look great, in particular the look of the undead pirates. Sure, some of the CG hasn’t aged the best, but for the time combined with the overall design of them, it looks awesome. I just love the look of them.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 79% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 63/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,0/10 and is ranked #249 on the “Top 250” list. The movie was also nominated for 5 Oscars in the categories of Best actor (Depp), Best makeup, Best sound mixing, Best sound editing, and Best visual effects.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” is an incredibly fun swashbuckler adventure. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, great directing, and great visual effects. Time for my final score. *Yarr*. My final score for “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” is a 9,86/10. This means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” is now completed.

One down, three to go… ahoy, me mateys!

Movie Review: Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)

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How many spy movies with any credibility do we get these days that aren’t “James Bond”? Pretty much zero, that’s how many. Really, that’s all I have to say on the matter.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Kingsman: The Secret Service”.

Harry “Galahad” Hart (Colin Firth) is a man working for an organization known as the Kingsmen. This organization pretty much consists of gentlemanly badasses. One day after a Kingsman dies, Harry gets the chance to recruit a young man called Eggsy (Taron Egerton) who happens to be the son of a former Kingsman. And they together wit ha few other members of this organization have to try to stop bad guy Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) from doing his evil things. To say that this plot is anything but basic would be a big fat lie, but at the same time the movie knows that it is quite simple. Mainly it’s just supposed to be an homage/send-up to classic spy films and something pulls it off pretty damn well. This isn’t a movie that is supposed to be taken too seriously even though there are some slightly more dramatic bits, but those bits never feel unnecessary or forced… they work. Everything in this silly plot works.

The characters are all consistently entertaining, interesting and pretty cool. Sure, there are some dickheads in the movie, but they are not really part of the central cast. Anyway… how was the acting? Well it’s pretty great. Relative newcomer Taron Egerton plays our hero, Eggsy and he is actually pretty damn great in the role. He is likable, he is relateable, he is funny and he’s actually pretty awesome. Colin Firth as Galahad was of course great if you look at it from a performance-based perspective. But I was also skeptical about it, thinking “Colin Firth: Action star? I don’t think so”. Oh, how I was wrong, he’s great in the movie. Samuel L. Jackson was great in the movie as well. He has this lisp throughout the movie which at first was a little distracting, but it kind of grew on me as time went on. Then we have a bunch more great actors who I don’t have the time/patience to fully go through even though I thought they all were great, so I’m jsut gonna go ahead and mention them and be done with it. Mark Strong, Jack Davenport, Sofia Boutella, Michael Caine, Mark Hamill, Sophie Cookson.

The score for the movie was composed by Henry Jackman & Matthew Margeson and I have to say that it was pretty great. If you’ve seen a few “Bond” movies, you know how it sounds. Big, bombastic, orchestral and fun. This movie also has a lot of licensed tracks that it uses and they all absolutely work within the context of the movie… sort of. There is one song that was in a scene that felt a little weird at first, but then I thought that it was just great and it added to the fun of it all. There are some songs I personally didn’t like, but still felt that they worked for the scenes they were used in, so I’m not detracting any points for them.

This movie was directed by Matthew Vaughn who also made “X-Men: First Class” and “Kick-Ass”, two movies I personally really enjoyed. And once again, he did a good job directing this movie. It is fast, it is well-shot and it’s just really good. Yes, there is a bit of shaky-cam in the movie but I feel like it actually sort of worked in some strange way. I don’t know, somehow it jsut really worked for the action scenes in the movie which are all pretty great. I mean the action is pretty violent, brutal and if you do not like violence and a lot of blood in your movies, then maybe skip this one because blood and gore galore. I have to also touch on the fact that we get to see Colin Firth, Colin fucking Firth… kick a lot of ass in the movie. Apparently he even did about 80% of his own stunts for the movie. And without spoiling it here, there is one scene that just has several factors about it that just made it one of the best scenes I have ever seen. Because it is both well made and utterly fucking ridiculous which is just something I really needed. I just might talk about it though in an upcoming “My Favorite Scenes” (Nudge nudge, wink wink). I also have to quickly mention that there is a lot of funny humor in this movie… that’s it.

This movie has been fairly well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 74% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 58/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10.

“Kingsman: The Secret Service” is a ridiculous spy movie with a surprisingly good plot, great acting & characters, an awesome soundtrack, really good directing and great action. Time for my final score. *Bang bang*. My final score for “Kingsman: The Secret Service” is a 9,88/10. It definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Kingsman: The Secret Service” is now done.

Manners Maketh Man. 

Series Review: Flashforward (2009 – 2010)

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What would happen if we saw our own future? Would we try to change it or would we embrace it even more? I honestly would panic and wonder what the images all meant and what tiny factors in my life could change/keep it. This is something interesting that I’ve been thinking about a lot in my life. Maybe you have as well… who knows?

Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to get a… “Flashforward”.

“On October 6th, the world blacked out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds. The whole world saw the future”. That is the phrase uttered at the beginning of basically every episode. If you didn’t catch what it meant, the plot is that on october 6th 2009, every person in the world blacked out and got a vision of their future. When everyone wakes up, they have no idea what the hell is going on and what happened. So the FBI sets up a special taskforce to find out what happened, why it happened, how it happened and if it might happen again. At the forefront of this is seasoned FBI agent Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes) and his partner Demetri Noh (John Cho). And from this we get a really cool concept… but is it only good on paper? No, it’s actually great in execution as well. This show is very addicting in the way that it makes you want to know who/what is behind this terrible event and if it’s able to stop him/her/it for good. And thanks to constant suspense, interesting revelations and genuinely good twists it really entertains and shows itself as a really good story. What is sad about it though is that the show ended after 1 season and I feel like that is a shame since there was so much potential for even more interesting plotlines and situations. But I can at least say that what we got was pretty damn good.

What I love about the characters in the show is that we get so many different types of them. First up we have Mark Benford, the seasoned FBI agent who is both determined to find out everything about this whole blackout thing while at the same time not losing his family. And Joseph Fiennes was pretty damn great in the role. John Cho was great as Benford’s younger yet still skilled partner who has his problems. And I would say that all characters are great in the show since I can’t sit here and talk about them all because this is a pretty damn big ensemble cast. But all characters are interesting/great and all actors do a really great job.

The score for the show was composed by Ramin Djawadi who you might know from shows like “Prison Break” and “Game of Thrones”, or from movies such as “Pacific Rim”. And like in those things, it’s great. This show doesn’t rely that much on being as grandiose as some of those scores, but it still holds up really well. A lot of it is based in ambient sounds, but there are of course some orchestral tracks for some of the bigger scenes and it is all great. It all fits the show terrifically. And the licensed tracks they use for a good amount of the show work really well too.

This show looks terrific. I mean, it is really well directed and the camera work is great. Sure, some of the CGI at times don’t look that great, but overall I wouldn’t complain too much about it since it’s not distractingly bad. I do however like the action scenes in the show. Not because they’re huge and extravagant (because they’re not), but because they handled perfectly. When they happen you do notice them, but they never feel like going full Michael Bay which is something I really appreciate. And I do have to say that there are some genuinely suspenseful moments/scenes. One of them (without spoiling it) is a part of episode 17 where I seriously sat and curled myself into a ball, slightly squealing because I was like “Come on… please”. Seriously, that level of suspense rarely happens to me. Fun fact: this show is loosely based on the book of the same name by Robert J. Sawyer. I haven’t read the book yet, but I feel right now like I should at some point in the near future. *blacks out*… *Wakes up minutes later*. I just had a flashforward where I saw myself reading it.

This show, despite only getting one season was well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 89% 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.

“Flashforward” is one of those shows that was just too shortlived. It had a great story, great characters & acting, great music, great directing and great action & suspense. Time for my final score. *Blacks out*. My final score for “Flashforward” is a 9,89/10. It most definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

Review of “Flashforward” is now completed.

Who knew William Shakespeare was such a badass?
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