Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Another Jack Sparrow? Johnny, Johnny, Johnny

I read the other day that Orlando Bloom has decided he won't sign up for the fourth (count 'em) Pirates of the Carribean (I don't know how to spell that), but that Johnny Depp has. So we will be regaled with still more adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow in 2010 or 2011, if any of us are still around.

Hmm. I can't say I'm terrifically excited by that prospect. I loved the first movie; but I was bored to death by the second one. And needless to say when the third one came I stayed at home and probably watched Dead Man again.

All of these big budget Hollywood movies look the same to me anyway. But Johnny Depp had impressed me consistently prior to the first film by choosing movie role after movie role that no mainstream hero would have touched. He'd acted with Brando; he'd associated himself with Jack Kerouac; I think he'd played John Wilmot by that time as well, unless I'm getting my chronology confused. He seemed to be one of us, in other words, a member of the counter-culture (as it can no longer be called with any accuracy) who'd broken through to the mainstream because of his good looks, and was now dedicatedly turning all of its conventions upside down.

And Jack Sparrow, when first seen, was a great comic creation, however predictable everything else in the movie seemed to anyone with a memory longer than a goldfish with learning difficulties. To base a movie hero, and a pirate at that, on Keith Richards was an act of brilliance.

I expected him to use the fame and money he got from the global success of the movie to go onto even bolder things than he'd achieved before it. Instead he did another Pirates. And then another, with as far as I can remember one decent movie in between, though no great role to prove himself as an actor of genuine talent, rather than a gifted and hip mimic. And now we get a fourth Jack Sparrow? The unscrupulous bastards who sell phoney mass-production dreams at huge prices in the Disney stores will be rubbing their hands with glee.

The mistake, of course, was to expect anything from Johnny in the first place. It was our desires, our needs, our fantasies, we were projecting onto him; he was always the man who one day would sell out and become the Steve Martin of the fashionable world. If we want to turn the world on its head we have to do it ourselves, and how many of us have the balls to do that?

Not me, with the well-rehearsed catalogue of deceptions and compromises I take out into the world just to keep a roof over my head.


Holly said...

The movies themselves lack so much.. the only thing that keeps on keeping on is Depp's Jack Sparrow. Only worth the cinema ticket to watch that character.

Fred Abbey said...

Yeah, it's a great creation, and I do feel rather disloyal making such statements about Colonel Depp, who was after all supposed to be the figurehead of the new bohemian generation. Maybe he still is, for no other romantic male hero would be daring or foolish enough to make a cartoon character out of himself while the competition (Orlando Bloom) showed his gleaming teeth to the camera and stole the girl. But there you go. I frequently write when I'm feeling curmudgeonly, and there's an element of truth in the accusation of selling out even if I'm being largely unfair.

Holly said...

I guess there's an 'element' but not much of one Fred. He's still doing quite a number of independents and all sorts of crap. I tell you what though, I'm not interested in this "Alice In Wonderland" movie which is actually based on Through The Looking Glass... but has been cheaply so named, in my opinion... just because the general public isn't educated on the classics.

That's my goat.

And I don't think that made any sense. You'll have to forgive me, I've just gorged on Tikka Masala and a large piece of chocolate pudding :D

Fred Abbey said...

I LOVE chocolate pudding!