***So there are no spoilers here, feel free to read if you haven’t seen the newest installment in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise.***
If you have any connection to Disney or a television you are aware that Disney has released the fifth movie based on the park attraction, “The Pirates of the Caribbean”. If you have been thinking, “Wow, it seems like five movies worth of plot is a lot to squeeze out of a 10-15 minute ride.” You would be right. At this point, there is little to no resemblance to the original ride in the movies other than an occasional quote from the ride narration or its theme song. Honestly, there is no reason this movie (or at least 3 of its predecessors) should have been made. But for some reason it works and the newest movie is an enjoyable addition to the series.
Both before and after “Pirates of the Caribbean” Disney tried several times to create a successful movie adaptation of a park ride. Let’s just say the results were disappointing
Tower of Terror (1997)
Disney’s first attempt to create an independent narrative around a ride. This made for TV movie was disappointing to many. Of all the rides available, one would think that an attraction with a Twilight Zone connection would be the most engaging to move to the screen.
Mission to Mars (2000)
Did you remember that there was once an attraction of this name? Neither did I. It’s a pizza restaurant now. The movie is about as memorable. Critics hailed the special effects, but the plot, dialog, and pacing were all considered mediocre at best.
The Country Bears (2002)
This one definitely goes in the the ‘what were they thinking?’ category. Disneyland’s version of this was already closed before the movie was even released. The attraction is cute and a fun way to get off your feet for 15 minutes, but honestly they don’t need a backstory.
The Haunted Mansion (2003)
Of all the movies on the list, this one was the only one that really disappoints me. The movie isn’t good, however there are glimpses of a better movie that occasionally peeks through. Perhaps that’s why this one is rumored to be getting a second chance.
With this mixed bag of movies, one would think Disney would give up on the idea of great rides becoming great movies, but no. We have several more rumored to be in the works including movies based on The Matterhorn, Jungle Cruise, and (God help us all) Small World. Will anything ever be able to match the success of the Pirates? I guess we will have to wait and see.