Monday, May 30, 2011

How the thought process for "On Stranger Tides" went...

OK, Colin already did a great review of this movie, but I saw it too, so I’m just going to echo most of his thoughts with this brief reimagining of how the “thought process” for this “epic masterpiece” probably went. Enjoy.

The setting is Hollywood, a land of plague, fire and death, where volcanoes erupt every 2.7 minutes and kill most innocent civilians unfortunate enough to be in the area. A DEVIL HORNED EXECUTIVE is speaking to his MINION, who grovels before his gigantic ebony throne, humbled in his presence.

DEVIL-HORNED EXECUTIVE: We’re running low on money for our Olympic-sized pools, gold-plated Chevrolets and deluxe-edition DVDs of the Rush Hour movies. What kind of torture can we mass produce on the public next?

MINION: Well, we already have a Transformers sequel in the works…about a dozen superhero movies being produced as we speak…I’m all out of ideas.

DEVIL-HORNED EXECUTIVE: Well, think of something, fool, before I have your hands fed to the leeches again!

MINION: Not the leeches!


MINION collapses into a near-catatonic state of fear. DEVIL-HORNED EXECUTIVE snaps his fingers, and he snaps out of it immediately.

MINION: What about that other series? You know, the one where the actors quit and we couldn’t get their contracts re-signed because of that damned loophole?



BOTH turn towards camera, unblinking.

DEVIL-HORNED EXECUTIVE: Alright, call Johnny Depp. Bloom and Knightley may have escaped, but fortunately Depp’s contract extends for many more years. He still owes us at least 3 more Tim Burton movies in which he will have to dress up in some kind of comical makeup. And call Geoffrey Rush. He’ll probably do it for free as long as we give him more peanuts.

MINION: Yes, master. But what of the rest of the cast? We’ll need mostly new actors, you know.

DEVIL-HORNED EXECUTIVE: We’ll need to stick as closely to the formula of the last three as possible. We don’t want to do any actual thinking with this. We must remain as piecemeal as possible! That’s the true secret to filmmaking, dear Minion – do as little work and produce as much money as you can. I think throwing in a beautiful but oppressed young woman and a virtuous and attractive yet bland male character to have a contrived and soulless romance together will be fine. That way people will be distracted from exactly how little material we have for Depp’s jokes AND we will appear to have emotional depth!

MINION: But what about the plot?!

DEVIL-HORNED EXECUTIVE: Oh, that’s not important at all. Throw in some half-assed mythos vaguely related to pirates and people will cheer and call it delightfully whimsical escapism.

DEVIL-HORNED EXECUTIVE walks over to a giant jar filled with folded pieces of paper, closes his eyes, sticks his hand in and pulls one out to read it.

DEVIL-HORNED EXECUTIVE: Make it about the Fountain of Youth. That ought to do it even though it has little to do with anything in the last three films. Don’t worry too much about writing. As long as Depp gets to wave his fingers around, mug for the camera and scream a lot it should be OK. It doesn’t even matter if the plot makes no sense at all.


DEVIL-HORNED EXECUTIVE: No, no, wait…that’s not nearly convoluted enough. People might actually end up enjoying the film that way. Add in some crap about Blackbeard – he was a pirate, so he fits in this movie. If you need an actor, go twist some thumbs until you get a seasoned veteran who will likely be greatly embarrassed afterward. Get him drunk first or something. And we need a third plot thread, so have Blackbeard have a daughter who once dated Jack Sparrow. And have that be as comically back-and-forth love-and-hate as you can get, because if there’s anything the Pirates of the Caribbean series needs, it’s “borrowing” from Judd Apatow’s idea of how people in relationships act. I’m so brilliant it hurts!

MINION: I know!

DEVIL-HORNED EXECUTIVE: WE JUST MADE A MOVIE WITHOUT HAVING TO PUT ANY REAL EFFORT INTO IT AT ALL! Our wallets are safe for another day. Now get some of the lesser people on the planning for the fifth movie. OFF WITH YOU!

MINION slinks off to do his bidding…