I talked to a critic friend yesterday who said he had a great time with the new Pirates, although he admitted it’s a bit of slog during the first act or hour (whichever comes first). And now here’s David Poland saying that “like Superman Returns, Pirates 2 is too long by about 30 minutes, and the script tends to bog down every time the story gets a bit complex for its own good….it gets too confusing.” On top of which critic #1 said it’s an adventure fantasy “on steroids.” I know what “steroids” means and it doesn’t mean seductive or enticing. It means bigger, louder, crankier…a heavy boot. (Poland says one of the film’s charms is about Johnny Depp “pushing the envelope a little further.”) Anyone who felt un-levitated by the original Pirates should probably keep this Poland passage in mind: “Pirates 2 will never be as fresh” as the original…”that first film was expected to be a complete disaster in the mold of Kangaroo Jack and Treasure Planet…and then it turned out not only to be good, but a wonderful film .” Amazing…a movie that had me loudly exhaling, shifting positions in my seat, leaning forward with my hands covering my face, and escaping out to the lobby three times — one bathroom break, one soda refill, and one just to get the hell out of the theatre for a couple of minutes — was a “wonderful” film. Poland and I live on the same planet but the Pirates disconnect couldn’t be more profound. “Like the best of Spielberg (which this is one small step behind), [Pirates 2] really speaks to children of all ages,” Poland continues. “If your inner child died in a mine shaft disaster a few years back, you are part of the small group that won’t enjoy this movie.” Could that last statement possibly be amended to, “If you’re one of those who was theoretically into and wanted very much to drink the Verbinski-Bruckheimer Kool-Aid but found yourself involuntarily choking and gagging, you may find yourselves deja-viewing”? I love Poland’s admission that Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio‘s script “has none of the suspense of The Empire Strikes Back…the difference between this film and, say, Star Wars, is that there is not the big picture driving the emotional weight of the middle movie. The world is not about to fall to the evil empire. The lives and happiness of our heroes is really what drives these films and it isn’t as powerful.” And yet Pirates 2 “sends you out of the theater smiling, laughing, and applauding.” Everyone I’ve spoken to has said more or less the same thing and you can’t fight City Hall, I guess. But in the rascally spirit of Jack Sparrow