by Eric Barton
Last night, I put on plastic skeleton earrings and went with a big group of friends to the Cinemark Palace on the Plaza to see the third movie in the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy: At World’s End. I was hoping the third part of the Johnny-Depp-driven series would make up for No. 2, Dead Man’s Chest, which, besides some cool special effects, sucked big hairy pirate balls.
No such luck.
Perhaps the third movie would have been better if I had instituted the same drinking game that I invented for the first pirate movie, The Curse of the Black Pearl. My college friends and I saw it at our neighborhood movie theater, dubbed the Ghettoplex because of its lax rules about things like talking to the screen and sneaking in bottles from the liquor store down the street. We bought a big bottle of Captain Morgan’s and vowed to take a sip every time someone on the screen uttered the word pirate.
If you’ve seen the first five minutes of that one, you know that the word pirate is spoken, oh, approximately 50 million times.
The group of movie watchers at the Palace last night for the 9:30 showing buzzed with anticipation but were otherwise stone-cold sober. Conversely, whoever wrote the script must have been on acid. None of the characters’ motivations made sense. Allegiances switched on a dime. And once again, poor Captain Jack Sparrow had to carry the entire picture on one quivering facial expression after another.
Midway through the movie, after I stopped trying to figure out whose ship was firing at whose and whose side stupid Orlando Bloom was on, I found myself wondering, “Why is the rum gone?”
The plot finally started wrapping up neatly after midnight, and the audience was ready to go home. All accounts were settled except for Captain Jack’s, which the screenwriters saved for last. But just as he put his tattooed arms around two painted ladies, supposedly for his final sail into the sunset, there was a huge click, and the lights in the theater snapped on.
“WHAT?” everyone yelled in unison, just like at the Ghettoplex.
People in the theater looked at one another with mirrored expressions of disbelief.
But all I could think was, Awww, yeah. We’re getting our money back.
Ten minutes later, someone in the projection booth successfully restarted the last few minutes of the movie, right where it had cut off. Captain Jack did his thing, the music swelled, the credits rolled – all while leaving room for a fourth film in the series. As we filed out of the theater, a manager doled out free passes. She looked as icy as if each ticket had come out of her paycheck.
If Johnny Depp himself came off the screen and showed us how to apply eye shadow, it couldn’t have made for a happier ending.