Quality: This score indicates entertainment value.
0 stars is horrible, while 5 stars is spectacular.
Political: This score addresses political messaging.
0 stars is aggressively anti-Conservative, while 5 stars is highly pro-Conservative. 3 stars is apolitical.
Moral/Religious (M/R): This score addresses moral and religious messaging.
0 stars is either intensely immoral or all-out, needless assault on Christianity. 5 stars is either great moral messaging or highly pro-Christian. 3 stars is inoffensive either way.
Quality – 1 star, Political – 3 stars, M/R – 1.5 star
Levi Miller plays Peter—a 12-year-old boy of destiny, left on the doorsteps of a WWII-era orphanage. Such a dreary place. Oddly blending “Oliver Twist” with “The Blues Brothers,” this hellhole is run by ridiculously wicked nuns who sell kids to pirates. Why nuns? Don’t ask me. Apparently, the writer has some axe to grind with Catholics, and we’ve paid to watch it. Perhaps the sequel will depict Mother Theresa running an India-based network of identity thieves.
Forever haunting Hugh Jackson will be his role as Blackbeard, the more-sadist-than-pirate leader of a mining slave camp. Hugh, I know someone other than Johnny Depp had to play one of these roles, but why you? Anyway, Blackbeard keeps stealing kids to work the mines on his hidden island, though he dreads a prophecy regarding a child who will one day start flying and lead a rebellion against him. Huh. In biblical times, such prophecies were cause for killing kids off, but this guy imports them. Ummm…Hugh, is it really too late to call Johnny Depp?
Confusing? That’s nothing compared to the action scenes, which appear drawn from a Picasso…that’s spinning. Everything is sideways, upside-down, computer-generated, crystalline or foggy—like being in Miley Cyrus’s brain the morning after her latest “I’m not Hanna!” party. It’s awful. Lining the theatre aisles were dizzy patrons, crawling toward exits, convulsing as stray popcorn stuck to their sweating faces. Some kid was selling Dramamine. I paid $300 for one hit. Totally worth it.
Garrett Hedlund plays James Hook—soon to be Captain Hook—who at this stage is a good guy. Thus, we must endure a second film to see him turn to the Dark Side. I’ll pass. Dressed like Indiana Jones, Hook is the much overused “Not interested in being a hero”—hero. Yeesh. Formulaic to the core, this reluctant hunk comes through when we need him most—the big lug!
Assisting Hook is Mr. Smee (Adeel Akhtar), a comedic character who isn’t remotely funny; like today’s Whoopi Goldberg.
Peter and Hook are captured by a painted tribe which dances about in similar fashion to those cuddly Ewoks from Star Wars’ Forest Moon of Endor. No one says why this tribe is celebrating or dancing about; they’re just a thinly sketched group of morons. Their warrior princess, Tiger Lily (ably played by Rooney Mara) fights with the skill of Marvel’s Black Widow. Honestly, I don’t know why Peter Pan is needed, since Tiger Lily pummels Blackbeard just fine on her own.
But hey, Hook needs a love interest, and his romance with Lily carries all the chemistry of an “It’s Just Lunch” pairing. He's a dashing rogue. She's a lovely spitfire. Together, they're an ultra-predictable cliché. In our wrath-filled auditorium, even teen girls gagged at this pairing.
The mermaids are electric…like eels. No, seriously. This makes zero sense, except that every new film with mermaids seems driven to change them. The next attempt will probably make them puff up like blowfish, complete with spikes. If they can grow legs, they’ll each get four, retaining tails as they first slither onto land (this approach might have hurt Ariel’s chances with the Prince). Well, at least the next batch won’t be electric. That’s taken.
The fairies are so tiny, they display neither expressions nor compassion. But there are millions of them! Echoing The Ten Commandments, Peter unleashes these little shimmering hoards upon hapless Egyptians—er, pirates—like swarms of locusts. Simultaneously horrifying and sparkly (words I’ve never before combined), the fairies overrun defenseless prey, plunging men to the depths below…or above...or staggering into theatre aisles…wait, that was me. Honestly, I don’t know what became of the screaming villains…wait, the screaming was me too.
I’m lost. I’m just lost. Please make the film stop spinning. Now the Dramamine kid is selling maps to the exit. $200 a pop.
Totally worth it.