(to be fair I did fail to double check that ALL of my faves would be okay. so that apparent death near the end was a little 'GFDI good job ya got me after all.' but mostly I'm fine)
First of all, I had absolutely no idea what this movie was about going in, so the minute they introduced me to Henry Turner I nearly shrieked. (okay, there was 5% earthshattering disappointment that I was lied to in 2007 about everything being okay and Will getting to come home after ten years, and 6% disappointment that this movie was not actually going to star Will and/or Elizabeth like I was hoping after I heard they were both in it, but mostly very excited that it was not about some random stranger either.)
These Are Their Faces
Second of all, A+ casting on Henry. He's a cute lil' whippersnapper, and believable as their kid. I am unenthused by basically all of Hollywood's male movie actors under 30 right now -- I'm sure there are exceptions somewhere, but it really seems like every time I turn around there is another boring face the teens are excited about -- but while this guy is definitely more cute the way a puppy is cute, he is also cute in a way that is shippable.
As for 11-year-old Henry, he is just straight up adorable, and you should know that the whole Super Sad Father/Son Bonding Moment killed me right out the gate. ("I found you" LISTEN I only have one tiny human heart and it is not made to withstand this)
I for one am almost as impressed by this boy's single-handed devotion to rescuing the father he's only spent one day with as I am by the fact that not even crusty barnacle growth on his face is enough to stop me from swooning over Hot Pirate Captain / Dad Will Turner.
(Orlando Bloom is my ride-or-die. He was my no.1 celebrity crush at age 17 and stayed that way for a very long time, and I'm never really going to let that go. I'm going to be the old lady in 40 years dreamily telling kids about how he was "so handsome," while they look at me the way I look at my mom when she claims William Shatner was once a looker. To quote Joey Tribbiani, I'm not even sorry.)
As for Carina... I am over my maybe-slightly-shameful anti-feminist feelings about Elizabeth's role in the third movie, so it's not her attitude -- I actually quite love her attitude -- but I'm just not in love with her face; she looks like a thousand other girls. I really want to ship her and Henry, mostly because I'm pretty sure Elizabeth 5000% approves, but I didn't really dig the romance off the bat. Snark + protestation of feelings is a very hit-or-miss way to go with me, and it's especially not a good choice when you're asking me to compare it to William "Soggy Heart Eyes" Turner who trailed after Elizabeth like an actual lost puppy from the moment we met him.
I think this feeling could be improved upon in rewatches, though, once I know who I'm looking at.
I have mostly forgotten the adventure itself, but I think I liked it. It's hard to remember because the last scene so thoroughly steamrollered over my other memories, but once I figured out it was gonna be POTC: The Next Generation, I was able to adjust my standards and find it a fine little romp. Although I did keep thinking, "This must be what it feels like to watch the new Star Wars films when you were around to see the originals in theaters."
To my surprise, the main disappointment was Jack. As much as I loved him getting to meet and work with a third generation of Turner, I kept waiting for him to be awesome, and he just...kept being a tired drunk. I always thought you couldn't have a Pirates movie without Jack, but apparently you can and maybe should. Words cannot express how happy I am that I avoided the 4th movie out of spite up until now, because that was exactly the antidote I needed afterward.
However, I was damned impressed by the CGI to create Young Jack Sparrow. I kept expecting it to look fake and cheap, but if not for the fact that he did not look exactly like what I know a young Johnn Depp to look like, I'm not sure I would have been able to tell.
Salazar...was more disturbing than most horror movies I've seen. I can't even really explain why I had such a visceral reaction to him and his ghosty crew, but that was frickin' bloodcurdling. I sometimes couldn't even look at the screen because it made me feel like I was experiencing a Dementor. Chills deep in my soul.
The zombie sharks were even scarier. I'm not afraid of sharks normally; I love sharks; movie shark attacks are awesome -- but these were so scary, just eyeless mouths of chomping teeth, it made me want to whimper.
But Salazar's backstory? Amazing. Gutwrenching and creepy and sad.
As for Barbossa, I just kept being baffled by exactly how hard he's aged. I didn't even question why he had a peg leg or what was going on with his floofy curls. I did occasionally ask myself if he was really the main villain in the first movie, because this schmoopy long-lost-daughter angle definitely worked for me.
It is universally accepted (in my brain) that I have never seen anything hotter than Will riding back to shore at the end of "At World's End." I have been made regretfully aware that Orlando no longer generally looks like a young god in everyday life, and I was prepared to be chill about it, but then he showed back up in pirate garb with the barnacles cleaned off his face at the end, looking admittedly older but mostly just more mature, and my jaw pretty much hit the floor.
Now, at this point I had forgotten Elizabeth was due to appear. I'd even made my peace with it; I figured getting Will in a second scene was enough...BUT THEN SHE APPEARED. And first I was afraid that it would cut off before they actually touched, and then that they would stop at a hug, and by the time my brain registered getting everything I have ever dreamed of in a reunion scene I was definitely well on my way to Dead. That is one of the most magnificent, soul-satisfying, truly epic reunions I have ever seen. I didn't even know how much I needed it until I got it.
I still cannot believe they cut back to Henry and Karina in the middle of that, though. Sure, I was thinking they were cute before, but when you give me the holy grail of all ships and then try to remind me of a deeply inferior offering?? I immediately get real "MOVE, BITCH, GET OUT THE WAY,"
(or: it was basically that moment in the Simpsons where they visit a petting zoo and keep awwing over progressively cuter lambs, and then the first
lamb comes back for attention and Homer shoves it out of the way like yesterday's trash to continue cooing over the cutest one. Ooh! I found the clip.)
I grinned like a loon the entire way home and immediately wanted to relive the experience, but I wasn't yet ready to rewatch the glorious first movie, and I didn't have the second, but I DID have two other very important pieces of pirate material on hand. So I blasted the original soundtrack and immediately began rereading Celia Rees' Pirates!, which has basically always been a Will/Elizabeth AU in my head anyway -- and let me tell you, that book did not disappoint.
(well, it did, in that it had way fewer scenes with William than I remembered + failure to provide a reunion scene, but it exceeded my expectation in terms of how much I loved the main female characters and their adventures. I hadn't read it for a decade so I had forgotten vast swaths of plot, which was great, because that made it like new while I still loved it as much as I remembered loving it).
I thought about staying for the end credit scene and was actually planning to do so, but then everybody else left and I got spooked about being chased out by ushers, so we left. I figured it probably wasn't a big deal to miss it.
Just imagine my joyful screaming when I hopped on YouTube to look up clips from the original movies and tripped over THE scene.
This is the most blatantly indulgent shippy thing I have ever seen in my life and I love everyone involved in coming up with it / am not entirely certain I didn't bind myself to some Aztec curse to get. "Yeah, so there are infinite ways we could have hinted at the next movie, but let's go with the one that shows them peacefully asleep in the bed they FINALLY GET TO SHARE, and then Will having a nightmare that wakes him up exactly long enough for him to pull his wife into his arms, with her sleepy but enthusiastic response." The fact that they managed to top the reunion is, uh, really something.
Super not thrilled about the implication of getting Davy Jones back for movie 6, though. I absolutely HATE him as a villain; his slimy tentacle face is so gross to look at; why can we not be free.