Pirates of the Caribbean – Learning from Past Success

Because of racing thoughts in my head, I can never sleep unless I have something playing on the television to distract me.

Netflix recently added the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, so I’ve been watching it for the past few nights to fall asleep. It’s definitely not the crown jewel of the Pirates of the Caribbean film dynasty. Hence, why I’ve been easily falling asleep with it playing….night, after night, after night.

I loved the first Pirates of the Caribbean film – The Curse of the Black Pearle. But, I haven’t been too impressed with any of the follow-ups.

As someone in the film industry – both as an actor and as a screenwriter – I spend a lot of time analyzing films so I can learn from their successes and shortcomings alike. I’ve given a lot of thought to why the original Pirates of the Caribbean film was so good and why the sequels have, for the most part, misfired.

The original Pirates of the Caribbean was written as a drama. Johnny Depp earned an Oscar nomination for his winning decision to play his character (Captain Jack Sparrow) with comic undertones

The sequels have all been written to be comedies. Depp’s Jack Sparrow has become a parody of his original breakthrough performance. His once funny character is now an uninteresting series of drunk deliveries and hamming it up for the camera. It just doesn’t work.

Since I have no blockbusters to my credit, it is highly unlikely Disney is going to recruit me to write the next installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean film empire. But if I could offer a small piece of advice to whoever does undertake scribing the next film, I would say this: write a drama and then let Depp do his thing to make it unique and interesting again.

I think we’ll be seeing Pirates of the Caribbean films for a long time to come. Even if Johnny Depp decides to forgo appearing in these cash cow films at some juncture, I predict Disney will continue the franchise. It happens all the time: Speed 2 (no Keanu Reeves), George of the Jungle 2 (no Brendan Fraser), Scorpion King 2, 3, and 4 (no Dwayne Johnson), Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (no Paul Walker). The list goes on and on – because audiences will continue to show an interest in film sequels just because of the name.

Based on the brilliance of Depp’s performance in the original Pirates of the Caribbean movie, I think there is hope for more sequels…even without Depp. But, to actually be good, the writers, directors, and stars who put together the story and bring it to life need to take a lesson from the past. If they can do that, the films could continue for many, many more installments.

Until then, they make great resources for putting me to sleep at night.

Peace. Love. Trust.

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