Why is Pirates of the Caribbean so Popular?

I just learned a few days ago that Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides became only the 8th movie in history to cross the $1 billion dollar mark worldwide.  This completely floored me.  I understand the success of something like Transformers.  Cars transform into giant robots and beat the shit out of each other.  I get that’s a recipe for box office success.  While I hate the Transformer movies with a burning passion, I at least understand their appeal.  But the money making machine that is Pirates of the Caribbean just baffles me.  Why are these movies so popular?

Now I’ve never liked the series.  I think all three are long, boring, and mediocre at best.  In fact, I may even like 2 and 3 more, which is really out there.  They are so dumb to the point where it’s kind of entertaining, like watching a car crash.  There is not one thing that interests me about this franchise.  I guess there’s pretty good action, but it takes forever to get there.

When the 4th one was announced, I truly believed nobody cared about these movies anymore.  And when the trailers came out, I thought they were the most unappealing previews in the history of movies.  If these trailers were good for anything, they helped me to go to bed.  And then I saw the actual movie.  It’s not that this movie is horrible.  There’s just nothing there.  It’s the definition of ‘going through the motions.’  There’s one good scene with mermaids, but other than that, I couldn’t tell you one thing I remembered about this film.   

I was confident after its first weekend, that On Stranger Tides would go away, conjuring up mediocre business and I would never have to think about this franchise ever again.  Boy was I wrong.  $1 billion dollars.  How on Earth does this film make $1 billion dollars!  I really need someone who enjoys this movie to sit next to me and explain what it is they like so much.  Movies don’t make $1 billion dollars without people going for repeat viewings.  The thought of sitting through this film more than once is horrifying.  What the hell is it about On Stranger Tides that garnered so much cash!  Is it the fact that they do nothing but repeat scenes from the original?  Is it the stock villain we’ve seen 500 times before?  Is it Penelope Cruz’s barely attentive performance?  SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME!

Wait a minute…I know why.  Is it really Johnny Depp’s performance as Jack Sparrow?  That’s why people come back for more.  You’ve got to be kidding me.  What is so damn interesting about this character?  He stumbles around drunk in pirate make-up.  That’s it.  That’s the character.  I guess he’s mildly entertaining for about ten minutes, but four 2 hour plus movies?  Cut me a break.  He never had a clear goal or motive: he just floats around aimlessly and does whatever is most convenient at the exact moment.  How does that make for a good film?  It’s like the movie can just make it up as it goes along.  Not to sound like an intellectual ass bag, but pardon me if I want a little structure.  I really do detest this character.  It’s the most overrated performance in modern film.

Well, I guess I just need to accept Pirates of the Caribbean is going to be with us for a very, very long time.  Even though these films aren’t worse than a franchise like Transformers, I think the success of Pirates bothers me more.  I can point out ‘A+’ elements in every Transformers film, even the atrocity that is the second one (Revenge of the Fallen).  But the Pirates movies are all ‘C+’ at best.  They do nothing interesting.  The plots are impossible to follow.  They are just there.  $1 billion dollars for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides…unbelievable.

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