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Pirates of the Carribean 2


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#1 Tim Partridge

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Posted 09 July 2006 - 12:08 PM

Just caught it-

the first half is great, but then it falters badly half way, even becoming boring. The script and art direction abandoned the period observations and Port Royal grounding in favour of the fantastical, and it just wasn't half as interesting. All pantomime cartoon make believe and no historical naval basis. Rick Heinrich's seems to have designed an over the top theatre production touring Hawaii as oppose to Brian Morris' work on the first movie, which was a copiously researched period movie in terms of art direction. The first movie was all about characters, pirates and adventure whereas this one is just an overhaul of superficial excess. Bill Nighy would have been far scarier without all of that distracting eye candy, endless loud tentacles, campy Phantom organ scene, and ILMs big stuff seemed heavy, obligatory and totally unrelated to the movie Gore Verbinski was making. Less is more was the success of the first film.

Movie's best moments are with the physical comedy (the beach scene with the chest, Jack Sparrow on a Kebab stick escaping cannibals, the water wheel) which Gore Verbinski executes with skill missing snce the days of John Landis and Richard Lester. Verbinski is the most interesting of the contemporary Hollywood directors out there and has a great old school studio vibe- it's gutting he didn't make the new Superman movie.

It seems the film had two directors: Verbinski making the character movie and then some visual effects director to dump in huge bloated effects sequences that don't help the story. There were visual hints and suggestions of Geoffrey Rush being a walking corpse in the first movie, but this one just thwacks over your head from start to finish that Davey Jones and his crew are rotting seafood. It's all just too much and too loud to look at and diverts your attention away from character and story when you really need to be involved in those latter elements.

On the plus side the movie photographically looked gorgeous for a super35 picture with an anamorphic blow up- it was pin sharp throughout, no soft shots. The big effects stick out a mile off as CG because they are always shot with wider lenses and lit up to a decent stop (to help the compositors more than anything) whereas the main unit footage is nearly wide open on longer lenses. When you've got an army of barnacle humanoids marching around all in focus fighting for screen attention in the same shot, it just leaves you thinking "so what?" and wondering why they are parading what the FX guys can do at the expense of story. ILM are at their best when they are aiding the story and Verbinski's vision with making the sight gags reality (the cages/Sparrows escape for example) and doing all the seamless chores (although my cinematography eye can tell alot of the invisible sky composites these days).
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#2 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 09 July 2006 - 03:57 PM

Looking forward to seeing it just for the cinematography - Darius Wolski, ASC, is a bit of a favourite.
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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 09 July 2006 - 04:37 PM

Hi,

I saw it an hour ago and I can only agree with the concerns raised.

Junk.

Phil
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#4 Ricardo Diaz

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Posted 09 July 2006 - 08:27 PM

Superman was better. In my opinion. Once I let it sink in i will write a more full report.
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#5 Evan Winter

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Posted 09 July 2006 - 11:57 PM

great review tim,

i agree totally - very nicely shot but far less impressive narratively than PotC 1.

PotC 2 suffered horribly from the 'excess monster'... however, the message, 'it's all about story' is far less likely to get through to hollywood now that they've just scored:

1. the biggest opening day in history for a film ($55.5M)
2. the biggest weekend gross in history for a film ($132M)
3. the biggest top 10 weekend in history ($204M)

and all this on account of a movie that really isn't all that good... IMHO ;)

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#6 Rolfe Klement

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 01:57 AM

I agree with Tim - the movie dies about 2/3 of the way in. I heard some of the stars started demanding rewrites and then some producers did too - and then it all turned into a pigs muddle

As they say in some screen writing courses - the single most important line item in a movie is the desire line - What does each character want and what needs changing within themselves in order to achieve it - and this story dies when that starts getting muddled

Slightly off topic but read this: http://www.latimes.c...adlines-entnews

thanks

Rolfe
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#7 Matt Pacini

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 06:36 PM

I think those big $$$ numbers are a testament to an ever-growing world population, and also shows how well marketing works, regardless of the product.

I think that the Writers Guild needs to have a rule; if anyone that's not a writers guild member starts rewriting, then the writer gets a starring role added to the film, and you don't get to cut it out in post either.
That would curb some of this assinine practice of "OK, everyone help rewrite the script", which is just absurd.
I think that actors who sign on to a film, THEN later demand rewrites to favor their role in the film, lose their bond rating.
This has got to be one of the biggest reasons for films ending up sucking so bad, that start from a good script.
I won't even watch a Harrison Ford film anymore, because he always insists the script be changed to where he's damn near in every frame of the film.

MP
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#8 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 06:14 PM

I can only agree with everything Tim said in his review. Too loud, too big, too long and just a CGI spectacle. The smaller character stuff was the only good thing (with Sparrow's escape from the cannibals as the films hightlight) except for Dariusz's nice cinematography.

Halfway through it all I could think about was how much I'd rather be watching Master And Commander again.......
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 07:53 PM

I just saw it too -- loved the cinematography. 5245 still kicks ass for day exterior work. I liked the greenish hue to the moonlight scenes.

But the movie itself certainly got loud and tedious after awhile although there was enough eye candy supplied by the leading lady to keep me paying attention.
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#10 Max Jacoby

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 08:06 PM

Haven't seen it yet, don't think I will, but I certainly heard it!

I was at the Notting Hill Coronet tonight, watching Ken Loach's Palm d'Or winning 'The Wind that shakes the Barely' and 'Pirates' was being screened just above. There are a lot of cannons being fired in that film from what I could hear...
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#11 David Sweetman

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 08:30 PM

I think those big $$$ numbers are a testament to an ever-growing world population, and also shows how well marketing works, regardless of the product.


I couldn't stand the marketing, it was exactly the same as the first one. Was it the same director? I seem to recall that that guy is completely unoriginal, I've heard stories about him just blatantly ripping off another guy's work and passing it off as his own idea.
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#12 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 04:51 AM

Although Hollywood is brim-filled with unoriginal hacks, I don't feel Gore Verbinski belongs to that category, necessarily. I've always enjoyed his films - especially the cinematography. Mouse Hunt, Weather Man and The Ring were all stunningly looking films. This one was no exception.

David, it looks a lot like Peacock Blue filtering for the greenish, blue hues. If my memory serves me correct, that's what I used in this still capture on a BBC job I did.

bbc1.jpg
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#13 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 12:20 PM

I remember Alex Thomson being fond of that gel, using it for some of "Excalibur" and the dry-for-wet underwater scenes in "Leviathan".

I just wasn't sure if Wolski was using tungsten or HMI lights as a basis for "moonlight", but I guess on a soundstage, he'd be using tungsten so it's possible it was that gel.
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#14 Rolfe Klement

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 04:28 PM

Does anyone know what lenses were used - I assume Ultra Primes?

thanks

Rolfe
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#15 Max Jacoby

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 04:50 PM

Primos
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#16 Kai.w

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 04:48 AM

Seen the movie at the weekend digitally projected.

I must say that I can accept slightly weaker blacks but get a stable an clean picture. You are now looking at an image instead of the projection of an image. It takes away another layer of abstraction making it much more transparent.
There was aliasing in the end credits but I'm rather sure thats due to bad sampling in its creation. I've done end titles in HD Res that looked fine on the film print but started to flicker in the digital projection. My fault.

As for the movie I thought it was less original than the first one, and way too long (there was not really much substance to fill up with anyway)

Hats off to ILM for Davey Jones. I wonder how many people realised that he was 100% (!) CG... amazing.
If I did not know, I'd have probably thought of some cg extension but 100% cg...?

-k
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#17 Michel Hafner

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 10:56 AM

There was aliasing in the end credits but I'm rather sure thats due to bad sampling in its creation. I've done end titles in HD Res that looked fine on the film print but started to flicker in the digital projection. My fault.

I noticed that aliasing too (same as in Poseidon). So you say the letters are aliased on the 2K source but the print looks better because of the laser interpolation during output and some fuzzyness built into copying to a print and projecting it? Or does the DLP make it look worse than it is on the source? Why are credits not antialiased by default when they are digitally generated?
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#18 Bob Hayes

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 12:37 PM

I went in expecting the worse and actually enjoyed the film. I?m such a sucker. Despite a non existent plot and endless repetition on the same action it was a fun ramp. Davy and his crew were fantastic. The conch headed demon was amazing, and the man trapped in the wall of the Flying Dutchman was elegant. The fight over the treasure chest at the water wheel was great. The excitement was with Disney?s best. The Kraken how ever was as one note as a monster has been in a film. No better the Ray Harryhausen?s work in ?It Came from Beneath the Sea?.

I saw no aliasing on the credits. Saw a film projection at the Bridge in LA.
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#19 Kai.w

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 04:20 PM

I noticed that aliasing too (same as in Poseidon). So you say the letters are aliased on the 2K source but the print looks better because of the laser interpolation during output and some fuzzyness built into copying to a print and projecting it? Or does the DLP make it look worse than it is on the source? Why are credits not antialiased by default when they are digitally generated?
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First off all its not like you just turn antialiasing on. Its always a trade between sharpness / detail versus aliasing artifacts. What works best is to move the titles by an integer pixel value per frame. Most software applications offer some "preset" for this. Problem is that then you are very limited in chosing the right speed.

Furthermore you not always have the option to digitally preview in the native resolution (2k and beyond). Plus, but this is just guessing from my side, if the projector does not have the native res of what gets delivered to the theaters there might be some internal interpolation in the projector and with such a high local contrast (white pixel beside black)....

-k
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#20 Michel Hafner

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Posted 04 August 2006 - 12:34 PM

First off all its not like you just turn antialiasing on. Its always a trade between sharpness / detail versus aliasing artifacts. What works best is to move the titles by an integer pixel value per frame. Most software applications offer some "preset" for this. Problem is that then you are very limited in chosing the right speed.

Of course you get softer if you avoid aliasing. If people think correctly antialiased 2K credits are too soft then 2K does not cut it as 35mm replacement. As simple as that. Bring on the 4K then.
How does that pixel trick work exactly? You flip between two positions 1 pixel apart 24 times a second? Some kind of averaging in the time domain? If that is it I wonder how well that works with DLPs and their own dither and error diffusion.

Furthermore you not always have the option to digitally preview in the native resolution (2k and beyond). Plus, but this is just guessing from my side, if the projector does not have the native res of what gets delivered to the theaters there might be some internal interpolation in the projector and with such a high local contrast (white pixel beside black)....

It was a 2K DLP with a 2K source. Interpolation was not involved. The aliasing was 2K pixel precise.
Michel Hafner
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