Disney cancels new PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN project.

I guess the Mouse really is clearing its decks.

In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Oscar nominee Margot Robbie officially confirmed the current status of the female-led Pirates of the Caribbean project that she has been attached to for quite a while now. Robbie has revealed that the potential spin-off has been canceled and is no longer moving forward at Disney after the company rejected the initial idea for the project.

The exact reason for the cancellation hasn’t been mentioned. Personally, I’m going to be boring and assume that Disney doesn’t really care why it’s not cost-effective anymore to do this film. It just cares that it isn’t – and, in this economy, the phrase ‘not cost-effective’ has teeth. I suspect it’s gonna be a grim couple of years for content creators…

Wait. They’re rebooting the Pirates of the Caribbean series?

This is not optimal, and not because they’re talking about rebooting it with a female lead.  I’m not going to lie to you: if Disney decides to show me a pirate flick starring a frolicsome she-buccaneer with thigh-high boots, a deeply plunging neckline, and as much skin as PG-13 will allow, I will reluctantly have to let to get away with that.  But I just can’t take the Pirates of the Caribbean series seriously.  Curse of the Black Pearl, I liked.  On Stranger Tides, I liked because it put money in Tim Powers’ pocket.  The rest… well. It’s a movie series based on an amusement park ride.  They were lucky to get one decent flick out of that*.

Continue reading Wait. They’re rebooting the Pirates of the Caribbean series?

They’re making a fifth Pirates of the Caribbean flick. I’m… I’m sorry.

I’m so terribly, terribly sorry.

Production has officially commenced today on Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer Films’Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales! The fifth entry in the blockbuster franchise inspired by the classic Disney Theme Parks attraction is directed by Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning (Kon-Tiki) and will film entirely at Village Roadshow Studios and on locations within Queensland, Australia.

Johnny Depp returns to his iconic, Academy Award-nominated role as Captain Jack Sparrow, newly joined by Oscar winner Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men, Skyfall), rising young stars Kaya Scodelario (The Maze Runner, “Skins”), Brenton Thwaites (Maleficent, The Giver) and Golshifteh Farahani (The Patience Stone, Exodus: Gods and Kings). Rejoining the action are Academy Award winner Geoffrey Rush as Barbossa, Kevin R. McNally as Joshamee Gibbs and Stephen Graham as Scrum.

And things were going so well, too.

Saw Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

Verdict: more than decent flick and lots of fun, as long as you aren’t expecting The Tempest… or, for that matter, Tim Powers’ own On Stranger Tides, which is kind-of, sort-of, not-really, actually-Tim-himself-is-fine-with-the-liberties-taken-because-he’s-getting-some-of-that-money-and-the-most-poetic-phrase-in-English-is-‘Pay-to-the-order-of’ the basis for the movie.  The movie shows a certain willingness to admit that, yeah, there was an actual historical time period that this series has been largely abusing, and it had more of the conventional pirate movie tropes than some of the earlier flicks did.

Also, they had proper Spaniards.

I’d say, all in all: catch it in matinee, and go have a beer or two afterward.  Or maybe one beforehand; either way, the afternoon will go pleasantly enough.


So, I told myself that I wasn’t going to get sucked into going to go see Pirates of the Caribbean 4.

But then they did this:

Yup.  They really and truly did throw some money at Tim Powers.  Which means that the original On Stranger Tides – WHICH IS THE BEST DAMN VOODOO PIRATE ADVENTURE NOVEL EVER WRITTEN – will almost certainly be re-released as the ‘novelization,’ which will put more money in Tim Powers’ pockets, and I hope to God that the man has an agent with the mother-wit to say the magic phrase ‘percentage of the gross,’ because while there are better things to do with one’s money than to give some of it to Tim Powers, the list is not exhaustive.

So.  Yeah, yeah, I kind of have to go see this movie now.

Via Nodwick.

Pirates of the Caribbean 4: I don’t know what to think. Seriously.

I mean, when I read that the chance of it happening may have been wrecked by Dick Cook getting fired (Disney muckety-muck), I was relieved. I was very disappointed by the second and third movies (the first, of course, rocked on toast). And heck: I didn’t even know that they were planning to make a fourth film.

But then I read the working title.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

On. Stranger. Tides.

As the Onion AV Club noted:

A 1988 Tim Powers novel called On Stranger Tides concernes pirates, a character called Jack, and the search for the Fountain Of Youth. And as POTC fans may recall, Jack and Barbosa ended At World’s End hinting that they planned to get their Ponce de Leon on. A compass couldn’t point us in a straighter direction.

So now I’m stuck.  Johnny Depp starring in a reboot of a franchise that takes its plot from a FREAKING TIM POWERS NOVEL.  There will be nothing mediocre about the result: it will reach Iron Man / Star Trek levels of awesomeness, or it will suck utterly.  There can be no middle ground.

Looking for someone to read? (Tim Powers)

(Today’s author: Tim Powers)

Tim Powers is one of those authors who doesn’t exactly fit the standard criteria. Yes, it’s sort of fantasy; yes, it’s sort of modern fantasy, or sort of historical fantasy; and yes, there’s a sort of urban fantasy feel to his stuff. On the other hand, most authors don’t meticulously interweave historical accuracy in with the fantastic elements, and Tim Powers does. Read The Stress of Her Regard and you will totally buy the idea that the history of literature is the history of vampires, at least while reading it; and we are so conditioned now to accept that Voudon goes along with piracy* that we forget that this was first suggested by On Stranger Tides*.

If that hasn’t scared you away yet, good: because you’ll want to read Declare. This book involves three themes: the Catholic Church; the Cold War; and the secret occult origins and sustenance of the Soviet Union – with the last being treated in much the same way that modern fantasy treats the occult trappings of Germany’s Nazi regime. The book is written in a very classic Cold War spy fiction style: Len Deighton would have loved it (by the way, his SS-GB is one of the classics of the alternate history genre).  So check it out.

Continue reading Looking for someone to read? (Tim Powers)