Pirates Film Details
Overview: The adventures of pirate Captain Red and his first mate Frog.
Review: Directed by Roman Polanski (“Chinatown”, “Rosemary’s baby”, “The pianist” for which he won a best director Oscar), here comes the tale of Captain Thomas Bartholomew Red, one of the most feared pirates on the Spanish main, and his French swashbuckling sidekick, “The frog” (Cris Campion). Stranded at sea, they are saved by a Spanish galleon. They immediately set their goal to commandeer the ship and steal the aztec golden throne it is carrying back to Spain. A huge commercial and critical flop at the time of its release, “Pirates”‘s reputation with film critics has not grown other the year. It is still considered a cinematic disgrace on Polanski’s resume, exhibit A along with “Cutthroat Island” anytime a terrible god awful pirate movie needs to be mentioned. This has always puzzled me as this is definitely one of the funnier movie I have ever seen and a personal favorite. “Pirates” is the equivalent for pirate movies of the Italian western comedies of the 70s (“My name is nobody”, “they call me Trinity”). The rule of the genre are respected but the overall tone is clearly parodic with over-the-top characters and slapstick humor. The story is told from the point of view of characters with rather shady moral standards and whose main motivation are far more material and earthly than your traditional movie heroes. Everything and everybody is a little more dirtier and sweater than in your traditional Hollywood fare. This might sound a little but like the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise and indeed, they are many similarities: Red is a close cousin of captain Barbossa and share the same devil-may-care attitude as Jack Sparrow; the frog could be Will Turner’s long lost brother. Besides the swashbuckling and humorous story, one thing that makes “Pirates” such a blast is the two main characters and their interaction. Red and the frog are almost like the evil ancestors of Tintin and Captain Haddock. Played admirably by Walter Matheau with a clear nod to Long John Silver, Red is a rotten son-of-a-gun whose only interest in life seems to be gold and things made out of gold. Without any moral compass besides his own interest, he is exactly the kind of bad guy we love to root for. Yet, he would not go far without the assistance of the frog, a more idealistic character whose loyalty to Red remains a puzzle during the whole movie and suggests a deep rooted friendship between the two men. The movie has many great scenes: the intro where, stranded on a small raft at sea without any food, Red attempt to eat the frog (“You will go to hell if you do that Captain: cannibalism is a deadly sin,” “What do you think confession is for, my boy?”), the part where Red and the frog are forced by the Spanish captain to eat a rat they have put in the crew’s soup in an attempt to start a mutiny on the ship or the absolute kick-ass moment: Red shooting a cannonball into his own ship before boarding the Spanish gallion so his crew have no choice but to win the fight (at the same time, of course, he has the frog preparing a row boat full of food so he can get off as soon as he get the throne, leaving his crew fighting the Spanish!). And let’s not forget the greed-not-love-conquer-all ending! All in all, this fun swashbuckling critic-hated tale of amoral pirates has to be the one of the most underrated movie of all time. So bad that it is so difficult to find this day in video!
Country: France, Tunisia
Language: English, French, Spanish
Duration: 121 min
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
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