Sunday, March 8, 2009

Film Review: THE PIRATE MOVIE (1982, Ken Annakin)

Stars: 5 of 5.
Running Time: 99 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Kristy McNichol, Christopher Atkins (QUIGLEY), Ted Hamilton, William S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan (kind of).
Tag-lines: " Buckle Your Swash and Jolly Your Roger for the Funniest Rock 'N Rollickin' Adventure Ever!"
Best one-liner(s): (sung) "Man, I'm older than the Beatles, but I'm younger than the Rolling Stones!"

One could certainly go the lowbrow route in assembling their thoughts on THE PIRATE MOVIE. I will concede that the "Pumpin' and Blowin" sequence is one of the most outrageous, inappropriate, and unexpected sequences in the history of the movie musical, but there's a lot of surprising facets to consider in the gem that is THE PIRATE MOVIE.

If cinema itself is an ouroboros (the snake eating its own tail), THE PIRATE MOVIE provides us with one of the more fascinating examples. Let me explain: the director, Ken Annakin, created some of the original swashbucklers that inspired George Lucas to pursue filmmaking. As one of his heroes, Lucas even named a character after Annakin- Anakin Skywalker. Fastforward to 1982, when Annakin inserts one of the most abrupt and hamfisted parody jokes ever to appear on celluloid when in the midst of a pirate duel, a lightsaber shows up.

Ehhhh. Hence, the ouroboros. Possibly more than any other, this movie is akin to one enormous non-sequitur. Trying to pin it down is pointless. Hey, it's a kid's movie. No, it isn't, it's ridiculously dirty with vaguely stomach-turning innuendo. Maybe it's an adaptation of "The Pirates of Penzance." Wait, why are they making overt, unfunny allusions to "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "The Rolling Stones?"

Hey, could it be a summer blockbuster trying to cash in on the success of the surprisingly charming and living-up-to-the-hype Kristy McNichol and the completely worthless and embarrassing Christopher Atkins?

No, it bombed terribly.

Well, I don't suppose it matters. And keep your ears peeled for the sonic sensation "We are the Pirates," and look out for producer Ted Hamilton, acting as the "Pirate King," in a performance that recalls both Sir Richard Burton and Captain Manzini from THE GARBAGE PAIL KIDS.

I am so perplexed I must award you five stars. You may resume pumpin' and blowin', ya dirty sea dogs.

-Sean Gill

1 comment:

Patrick said...

The Lasting Tribute website has updated its memorial pages to include Ken Annakin.

It's a respectful memorial to Ken and somewhere to pay tribute to his family's fortitude at this difficult time.

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