I found myself sipping coffee outside of an AMC theater in downtown Disneyland at 5:30 AM yesterday morning, surrounded by grown men and women dressed as the pirates of lore. Had I stumbled upon the last stragglers from an all night swashbuckling shindig? No. This was Disney's "Pirates Fans First" event - a morning devoted to whetting the appetites of only the most ardent Jack Sparrow devotees with the world premiere of the Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides trailer in vivid, jump-out-at-you-and-pull-you-back-in 3D.
The 2D trailer was released online yesterday afternoon, but the winners of the 'Fans First' contest had the opportunity to catch the first glimpse of the 3D footage that theater goers will be able to see later this week. The trailer will screen at the head of TRON: Legacy beginning this Friday, December 17th.
After the trailer, participants were invited to ride the inspirational Pirates ride; swear and oath to the scandalous and seafaring way of life, enjoy breakfast at Disneyland, and take photos with "Jack" and his crew. We will have footage from the event, and the fans response to the trailer soon.
In the interim, we have some thoughts on the look of the film, as well as the short chat that we were able to participate in with On Stranger Tides director, Rob Marshall.
The 3D format of the trailer differed a bit from the more subtle, immersive 3D of TRON: Legacy and Avatar. It felt like a more finely-tuned version of classic 3D - the type that was originally created to pop out at the audience at opportune moments, giving them the sense that they are witnessing a cinematic pop-up book; something with all of the elements of the standard, and a little something extra.
The lush mountains and jungles all but surround you; swords thrust and parry towards the audience, and Jack all but sits in your lap to deliver his genuinely pithy one-liners.
Marshall himself introduced the trailer, much to the fans' delight, and gave an insider's look at the production and everyone's favorite thief with a heart of gold and tongue of silver -- Captain Jack Sparrow. When he was later asked to fill in the blank of the following sentence "Johnny Depp is___" Marshall replied simply "the best."
The director had already assured fans of the popular actor's virtues, citing his kindness, humor and wit, saying "Johnny Depp is, exactly everything that you would hope he would be" as a fan - going so far as to say the reason he did this film can be summed up in two words: "Johnny -- Depp."
It was Depp who approached Marshall to direct the film. When asked what method he used to direct the actor in a role that is already so solid and flushed out, Marshall said that Depp, "like any actor is looking for guidance, and is a real collaborator in that way." Though the director did emphasize that he (Marshall) "is smart enough to let him (Depp) do his thing."
Marshall described the filmmaking process for Pirates as an adventure unto itself - particularly in terms of their use of 3D in the exotic locations that serve as the backdrop for the film.
We were actually pretty pioneering in that way; because not many movies have actually taken 3D equipment into real locations. You know, stages, and green screen and that kind of thing. We were taking them into caves and into waterfalls, and jungles and swamps…. Some pretty amazing places. So we were experiencing an adventure, while we were also making an adventure.
For Marshall, 3D needs to be restricted to stories that depict and rely on "a world you need to enter." In the case of this film, the director feels that the 3D serves to transport the viewer "inside the world of the Pirates, and there's nothing like that, you get to actually get to experience the journey of the adventure with Jack Sparrow, with him. So it's really cool for this movie, specifically, to be in 3D."
There is a whole new element added to the adventure with the introduction of Penelope Cruz as "the first female pirate" who serves as both "fierce competitor" and violently inclined romantic interest for Jack. Marshall says "there is a real love hate thing between them; you know, they try and kill each other the whole time."
The film is rounded out with what the director describes as "the most evil villain" yet in the series, Blackbeard (played by Ian Mcshane) and a Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) that is now playing on the other side of the law, which is, as Marshall says "really, really shady."
When asked if the film would make any further nods to the ride, he replied simply, “there are two… but I’m not going to tell you which ones."
Though he did admit that is is becoming fairly challenging to find ride references that have not already been utilized in the films.
Take a look at the full video of the conversation with Rob Marshall below:
Pirates fans hope for a more streamlined story in this, the fourth instillation of the franchise; something that comes closer to the original Pirates tale. From what the director is saying, this film will be sweeping and expansive, epic in scale both visually and in terms of the story. We only hope that the characters do not get lost against all that visual majesty.
Header Image Source: Film O Filla