Female Led ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ “Reboot” Moving Forward At Disney


BY: Amanda Guarragi 

The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has been a staple in the Disney library since Curse of the Black Pearl was released in 2003. Audiences were introduced to the fearless Elizabeth Swan (Keira Knightley), the blacksmith Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and the drunken pirate himself, CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) all three actors were at their peak and brought their characters to life. The franchise was financially successful at the box office, the five films in the saga have grossed over $4.5 billion at the worldwide box office.

The Pirates of the Caribbean films were nothing short of iconic. CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow gained Johnny Depp his first Oscar nomination in 2004, proving that he will forever be defined as that character. The love story between Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann is more than just Disney pirate lore, it’s a story that will be remembered by all forever because of how fun and adventurous their journey was. Orlando Bloom solidified his action adventure status with Pirates of the Caribbean and Keira Knightley truly outshined them all as Elizabeth Swann sailed towards her destiny as Pirate King.

These films ruled the high seas of the box office in the early 2000s and it’s one of Disney’s greatest franchises. So, here’s the question we’re all asking… “Why are you giving a beloved classic a reboot?” It doesn’t really make sense, since the last film Dead Men Tell No Tales fizzled with the storyline, even though it made $794.1 million at the box office. The original trilogy had a full story arc and they knew they story they wanted to tell. A Pirates of the Caribbean film without CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow, Elizabeth Swann or Will Turner is just not the same movie.

Earlier today it was reported by Disnsider that there would be a full on reboot with a female lead. Sources say that Karen Gillan is eyed to be the lead, but they are also looking for women of colour to be at the forefront in the film. According to Daniel Richtman, the story could possibly be centred around the Disney Parks attraction character, Redd, who is a meet-and-greet character. Jerry Bruckheimer is also set to return as producer on the project and Ted Elliot is as well to write the screenplay. The budget of the film, according to Disnsider, is $100 million and is being made for  theatrical release, instead of heading to Disney+ as a series.

Here’s the thing, Disney needs more original content involving a female lead that isn’t a princess. Their library is getting stale and making these reboots of their earlier films is just playing it safe at the box office. Instead of rebooting or remaking beloved classics that people grew up with, why not create an entirely new story with a female lead that could add to the Disney library? That’s the issue with reboots or remakes, there’s always going to be a predecessor that it will be compared to, even if it is a spinoff.

The time of CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow has come and gone. Everyone knows there’s no Pirates of the Caribbean franchise without him, and it’s extremely obvious that he won’t be involved in the reboot. So for the sake of clarifying what “reboot” actually means in this specific situation, it doesn’t actually mean a reboot, but a spin-off with an entirely new characters. I also don’t think a theatrical release would be beneficial to the pirate world, a series for this theme park character, would add some more family friendly content to the Disney+ streaming service.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire Review

Portrait of a Lady on Fire by Céline Sciamma is a beautiful film from beginning to end. Sciamma makes you feel everything at once through her delicate framing. From the opening scene, the audience is brought into the psyche of Marianne and her memories of Heloise. 

Sciamma introduces the audience to Marianne, an artist and teacher, who is in the middle of instructing her students how to sketch a portrait. I absolutely loved every close up shot in this film because Sciamma captured the beauty in the eyes of the artist. The eyes were constantly searching for every detail in the subject’s face and it was powerful. Marianne then sees an old portrait of hers, out in the open and questions how it got there. Sciamma then tells us the simple, romantic tale of the lady in the portrait. 

As the story travels back into the memory of Marianne, the tones in the frame become softer, warmer and almost dreamlike. The entire film felt like we were entering this alternate timeline of another place entirely, with these characters, as if it were a fragment that was repressed. The screenplay was lovely as well, Heloise’s mother, The Countess advised Marianne to sketch a portrait without Heloise knowing. By doing so, Marianne went on walks with her and attempted to draw from memory. 

The tension begins to build as Sciamma captures stolen looks, intense eye contact, short breaths and subtle touches as their relationship flourishes. The pacing of their love affair was perfect and their intimacy was shown in the best possible way.

“Do all lovers feel like they are inventing something?” that entire scene set me ablaze. If you’ve been in love or even infatuated with anyone, you know that feeling, the burning the wells up inside you, whenever they’re near you. The overwhelming sensation of having them near you, looking at you or even speaking to you lights your entire body and that’s why the flame in the portrait, symbolically means all of this at once. 

Along with this burning flame, comes heartbreak and pain because this type of raw, passionate, all consuming love, which is also forbidden, comes with a cost. Their love, so pure, beautiful, natural and free of restrictions, soon has reality come knocking at their doorstep. 

The line that made me sob uncontrollably was “Don’t regret, remember.” How can such a beautiful experience be forgotten? That type of love is beautiful and the build up to the relationship is something to always cherish. The way Marianne and Heloise communicated their initial thoughts of each other and at what moments they fell for each other, was intimate and necessary. 

The parallel to Eurydice and Orpheus had genius placement in the third act of the film. The concept of looking at someone for the last time can be hard to understand and Sciamma makes sure to vividly have the image of Heloise etched in Marianne’s mind, for the rest of her life.