Peter Bart made the comment that something like Pirates 3 was "incomprehensible," "a mess" and a mere "pastiche" (jumble) of it's previous parts.
I agree wholeheartedly and have since I saw it (and I only saw it once. Considering I saw Pirates 2 7 times in the theaters alone, my distaste is obvious).
The problem is that I have many friends who loved it and thought it was great.
Last night, I saw Transformers, which was decent and entertaining, but there were obvious flaws in plot, though I didn't care much about those. The main problems I had were the things that made it a bad movie, cinematically: poor pacing, tangled mess of characters, jumbled storylines, confused dialogue...the list goes on.
My niece, on the other hand, loved it.
The point is that Transformers and Pirates 3 shared many of their flaws and both ended up being incomprehensible messes (in my opinion). They relied on individual scenes to be funny or cool or merely worthwhile so that the picture as a whole didn't need a fluid, well-constructed story arc. And despite all this, audiences flock to these movies and spend so much money on tickets and popcorn and candy that the studios will keep making sub-par crap that theaters will continue to show. The people making money win, and the audiences lose...but only 25% know that they are losing.
There is something to be said for Transformers, though. I didn't know the characters ahead of time and the only thing I really cared about was Shia LeBeouf being hot, so my let down was not nearly as great as seeing Pirates 3, which pretty much broke my heart. I am really hoping for a director's cut to come out so that Gore can do his magic and make it all better.
I hope that things go in a different direction. I hope that production companies stop pressing for set-in-stone release dates while films are still in production so that the filmmakers can take time to produce a quality work before sending it to theaters. I hope that they stop deciding on making sequels without finding a good story first, one that leads to a climax and has a definite beginning, middle, and end. I hope they realize that throwing money at a movie does not make a good film. I hope that originality will reign again in films.
Until then, I lament not having a Landmark (or other indie theater) near me and anxiously anticipate Harry Potter 5 with hopes that it will not fall flat (I seriously doubt it can, since it's based on a book...it's got the plot, character development, climax, and resolution built right in).
As a final note, "Pirates 3" can be replaced by "Shrek 3" and probably every other sequel or major blockbuster this summer (I haven't yet seen Spidey 3 or Live Free or Die Hard).