The last blood has been repayed, and $4 billion has gone into the dead man’s chest. Captain Jack Sparrow has been returned to mortality and killed off. This happened about three movies too late, his death in the jaws of the Kraken in Dead Man’s Chest being the perfect end to the character.
Alas, Johnny Depp had private islands to buy and ex wives to pay off. Both requiring the mega paycheck wrought by a blockbuster franchise. Even with it’s waning popularity the series was still commercially successful on a tremendous scale, and Jack Sparrow remained a fun character. Depp’s well publicized visits to children’s hospitals in costume showed the power of that swagger. And it looked like he really did have a lot of fun playing the role. The final shoot in Australia may have been the exception, the controversy over Depp illegally bringing his dogs on a private jet and having them deported by unsympathetic authorities.
My objection to Jack Sparrow is based more on the awful writing of the later films than on Depp’s performance, which in the first two films was excellent. But woeful scripts subsequently meant that he had to carry the films at the expense of character development and the reliance on gimmicks. I will always see Jack Sparrow as the farsighted wit sailing into port atop the mast of his sinking cutter. And, as the smiling and slightly sodden figure at the end of The Curse of the Black Pearl at last at the helm of his ship looking into a bright horizon.
I hope, pray and beseech the producers of the series not to reboot Captain Jack in their new incarnation of Pirates. Maybe no new character will strike gold in quite the way he did, but it is worth trying. I for one have seen enough of origin stories with young actors playing knockoffs of classic characters. Captain Kirk, Han Solo, the endless Spider Men, the entire X-Men cast, and so on. Give new actors something fresh! Let them wow us or not entirely on their own.
But, as long as the writing sucks, the characters will suck too. There is no excuse for it, it’s not like the studio lacks the resources to fund a good writing team. Perhaps change the historic time to the Spanish-US war of the 19th century, which created the imperial dominance the US has had over the American hemisphere ever since. Just a thought. We could see the start of steam powered ships with iron plated hulls and contrast that with what we have seen before, instead of a romantic picture of a lawless time full of conquest, death, and slavery.