Alright, America: Ready...Set...Decipher!
As you lug your notebooks, spreadsheets and Venn Diagram paper with you to see Pirates o' Caribbean: Retroactively Kinda Irrelevant Title this holiday weekend, be prepared to consider the following on your way out:
Is Pirates 3 the most confusing movie in history (yes, even moreso than the cinema of Alain Robbe-Grillet and Syriana) because
a) it's stacked wall-to-wall with impenetrable and arbitrary exposition, with characters literally explaining the plot to eachother in a fashion that winds up making things more confusing still?; or
b) screenwriters Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio are simply inept at storytelling, akin to someone who stretches out a simple anecdote with endless diversions, corrections and irrelevant explanations?
I ask because, like many who've seen it, and even moreso than with number two (which I still sorta liked), I had no clue what was going on from moment to moment. I'd written it off as an immense latticework of tedious backstabbings, reversals, abrupt-changes-of-heart, tedious re-backstabbings, re-reversals, double whammies, re-double re-whammies and triple backstand quadruple gainers. But then Slate's Dana Stevens somehow managed to coherently summarize at least part of it (while intentionally leaving out at least half of the plot, that is). So I'm not sure what to think, and really have no desire to ever set eyes on that fucker again. (Had there been a triple fight on a runaway water wheel, that would be another thing.)
In any case, have fun, America! You've sure got your work cut out for you!