1715 - The Golden Age of Piracy. New Providence Island is a lawless territory, controlled by history's most notorious pirate captains. The most feared is Captain Flint. As the British Navy returns to redeem their land and exterminate Flint and his crew, another side of him emerges. He allies himself with Eleanor Guthrie, daughter of the local kingpin, to hunt the ultimate prize and ensure their survival. Many opponents stand in their way: rival captains, jealous of Flint's power; Eleanor's ambitious and intrusive father; and a young sailor recently recruited onto Flint's crew, John Silver, who constantly undermines his captain s agenda.
Yo Ho Hum
- Black Sails: Series 1 review by Count Otto Black
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You rated this film: 2
Given the subject-matter, I was expecting this to be a sort of "Pirates of the Caribbean" for grown-ups. Which I suppose technically it is. Unfortunately, along with the mythical creatures and general silliness, they seem to have cut all the action. Makers of this kind of serial traditionally put the most exciting bits in episode one to get you hooked, and the season finale to leave you wanting more. Since the first disc left me with no desire whatsoever to watch the remaining two, I can't comment on how it ends (though seeing as the character names imply that it's a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island", I assume treasure is left on an island, and young John Silver probably loses a leg), but judging by the first three hours, the fact that it does eventually end must come as a blessed relief.
The opening episode begins promisingly enough, with exactly what most viewers will have tuned in to see - a merchant ship under attack from pirates. Unfortunately, after the most desultory of naval battles and a brief, confusingly-filmed fight which the pirates win almost without trying, it settles down to business as usual, meaning nearly an hour of dreary plot exposition. By the end of episode three, having spent most of the intervening time looking for a vitally important piece of paper which is temporarily the Macguffin until no further mileage can be squeezed out of it, our heroes are kinda sorta thinking they might actually set sail on the high seas and do some of the pirating which is allegedly the entire point of the story, but which has been conspicuously absent for the previous three hours, possibly because having them all twiddle their thumbs in port is cheaper to film.
And while we're waiting for something to happen, we're treated to acting, much of it dreadful, from people who seem to have been left to make up their own minds whether this is a serious period drama or some kind of zany spoof (one character in particular obviously thinks he's Jack Sparrow), tiny smidgins of underwhelming action which is oddly coy about showing us anything seriously violent, frequent soft-core female nudity to remind us that this is adult entertainment, including a totally gratuitous lesbian couple who exist purely to increase the ratio of female as opposed to male nudity and sexy behavior, and lots of tediously repetitive and woodenly delivered Very Strong Language to prove that this really, really is for grown-ups.
The sets look nice, and the production team were obviously attempting to take a mature approach to what is traditionally a childish genre, but they simply didn't know how (possibly because Michael Bay was an executive producer), and the cardboard characters are completely incapable of keeping things interesting while enough plot for one feature film is dragged out over the length of several. Maybe it suddenly becomes an action-packed thrill-a-minute roller-coaster ride from episode four onwards, but given the leaden pace of the first three, I won't be sticking around to find out.