Thursday, December 28, 2006

Anticipating Pirates IV

Conjecture. Conjecture. Conjecture.

There's talk. Really. Talk about more Jack Sparrow chronicles. The anticipation of Pirates of the Caribbean fans is spilling out all over the internet. But anticipation seems so pointless and potentially disappointing in this case. I've always been somewhat disturbed that the word "anticipation" rhymes with so many other potentially unpleasant "ation"s like "cremation", "dehydration", "masturbation" and "infestation". Ew.

Perhaps I've read way too much Dr. Seuss this week.

Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio have warned us time and again to question the validity of any articles that claim a fourth installment of Pirates of the Caribbean is on the way, but we don't want to! We relish the anticipation of a fourth Jack Sparrow film and now, there seems to be an announcement that gives a good appearance of credibility to that rumor.

So far, T&T have said nothing about the Happy Feet trailer.

Still awaiting At Worlds End, I can't even imagine where another sequel could go. We're at the finale of the pirate era and have been promised a spectacular conclusion. No doubt, Ted and Terry could master the daunting task of a sequel, but yikes. A prequel, however, about Jack Sparrow's earlier rum soaked exploits and the backstory of the Pearl is not only provocative and plausible, but perpetual in possibilities. (ah, alliteration - Jack is, after all, branded with "P")

Yup. Prequel is the way to go, methinks, because these limitless possibilities contribute to the insatiable frenzy of POTC fans while promoting Jack-o-holism.

Not just any ol' prequel for the sake of slaking the lust of Jack-o-holics will due either because anything less than a brilliantly constructed film with impossible choices, complex characters, and solid storytelling would careen.

Actually, instead of going bigger, I'd develop the prequel smaller so it could build up to Curse of the Black Pearl, Dead Man's Chest, and At Worlds End, not outshine, out-blow, or out-animate them.

Just how far back could we go with Jack and what led up to the mutiny that lost him the Pearl, the raising of the Pearl from the depths, and whatever juicy tale lies behind Tia Dalma's sultry reception of Captain Jack in her cozy little witch doctor's office?

And, just how much skinny do we want on Will's backstory? Do we want to get the goods on the merchant ship that blew Will into Elizabeth's life? How his mother died? Was she unjustly hung as a pirate? Murdered by Barbossa as he searched for the last cursed coin? Or did Bootstrap Bill make an impossible choice that spared Will, but cost the life of his beloved?

And what about Elizabeth? How does she know so much pirate lore? Maybe her mother was that fierce hell cat, Anne Bonney, who was said to have told her own beloved Jack Rackham, as he awaited execution, that if he had only fought like a man, he wouldn't be hanged like a dog. Governor Swann does, after all, respond to Elizabeth's fascination with pirates by saying "that's what concerns me".

Do we even want backstory on anyone except Jack Sparrow?

The possibilities are intoxicating.

I vote for prequel.

Somebody hand me a pen.


ECHenry said...

Personally, I liked "Pirates of the Caribean" but "Pirates of the Caribean" aint "Star Wars." Sorry Marry Ann, but the "magic" of "Pirates" ends with the 3rd installment. ANY attempt at prequelling "Pirates of the Caribean," and the Jack Sparrow character is most definately gunna suck. They tried to do that with "Silence of the Lambs" and the subsequent movies NEVER came close what worked in the original.

So point yer compass elsewhere, lass. There's better writin' to be had in other regions!

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

MaryAn Batchellor said...

As Jack himself would say, "My compass works just fine" and I have equally little control over where it points if, indeed, it points to what you want most.

There was 16 years between the Return of the Jedi and and the first prequel, The Phantom Menace. Nothing was the same. Everything changed before the Star Wars prequels -- technology, politics, society, animation, you name it - it changed. That worked both in favor of and against the prequels. And Silence of the Lambs? Gimme a break, EC, Silence wasn't the phenomenon that the Star Wars and POTC franchises are so there is not a comparable fan base to figure in to the equation.

There were multitudes who said a POTC sequel would never work and there are STILL multitudes who say Dead Man's Chest sucks. SUCKS! They hate it! But, hello? $423 million - domestic box office and $642 million - foreign box office. Who even KNOWS what kind of DVD sales we're talking about...

Point is.. yeah, a prequel can work IF, IF, IF, IF, IF it is what the consumers want. We'll probably have to wait until Pirates 3 to find out. Why? Because the wallet of the viewer speaks much louder than the voice of the critic.

ECHenry said...

Woa! I see I've hit a hot button, and promptly got both barells turned on me.

Stop shelling me, lass. Me battleship's taken on water and left me a-drift in this ocean of wrath. Before I drown I hope you see me waving the white flag -- I come in peace!

A just stated an opinion. If you have a story idea for a "Pirates of the Caribean" prequel go for it. I hope you do pull it off, I'm rooting for you. From my perspective it just feels like a long shot.

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Me write Pirates IV? I wouldn't presume. That would be like taking a few flying lessons and then trying to pilot a space shuttle.

ECHenry said...

Mary Ann, you have the passion, you have the tallent. You could do it.

Hey, growing up I used to run home to watch re-runs of the "Planet of the Apes" movie series -- and then many years later I wrote a spec script for it. Can't show it, as attempts by yours truely to FOX got me nasty letters stating in no uncertain terms that FOX was NOT granting me premission to use their copywrited material as a basis for my spec. Frown... Tear... But someday, if I ever break in and have better leverage, I'm going back to them...

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

MaryAn Batchellor said...

From Terry Rossio:

Johnny Depp - not signed to any deal, not committed, but would certainly consider it, I think
Gore Verbinksi - not signed to any deal, not committed
All other actors - not signed
Ted and Terry - not signed to any deal
Jerry Bruckheimer - would very much like to have another movie
Disney - would like to have another movie under the right financial circumstances
Pirates fans - seemingly pretty much split on whether there should be a 4th movie