Black Sails

Black Sails

I have never been particularly fond of pirate films.  Generally, there are too many things about them that are slightly out-of-whack for the time period.  For instance, every character, no matter what, has really good teeth (you’d always have one guy that had virtually none in his head, but that tended to be the exception).

Supposedly mouthwash (in one form or another) has been around significantly longer, so at least I can understand how they could talk to each other without wincing.

Though tooth floss wasn’t invented before the 1800′s (“Black Sails” takes place in 1715).  Prior to that, toothpicks were all the vogue, but you don’t see them using those, either.

My own peculiarities aside, in 1995 Renny Harlin’s “Cutthroat Island” tanked at the box office and pirates pretty much fell out of vogue.  Eighteeen years later came “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl” and suddenly, since the price of success is slavish imitation, everyone had a pirate project in development.

NBC has “Crossbones,” though Starz beat them out the gate with “Black Sails.”

Truth be told, I am not quite sure why it is that the Starz cable network is showing this free preview because I can’t see someone watching this and being so blown away that they had to rush out and get cable (though perhaps it’s done with the purpose of getting people who already have cable, but perhaps don’t have Starz).

‘Sails’ is directed by Neil Marshall, who’s known for his action fair, having done “Dog Soldiers,” “The Descent,” and “Doomsday,” among others.  The series is beautiful, though the pirates seem a bit too well-spoken and mannered for me, though if they were speaking in a patois that no one understood I suspect that it wouldn’t last long.

The series seems to revolve around Captain Flynn (Toby Stephens) and the crew of his ship, The Walrus, as well as the citizens of Providence Island, which is under the jurisdiction of no nation, and as close to a home as the lawless will ever have.  What’s interesting is that Marshall as a director often features strong women in major roles, and “Black Sails” appears to continue that trend.

There’s a sense of massiveness, of scale, that particular appealing as demonstrated by the opening sea battle.  There’s quite a bit of CGI at play–the ships look particularly “light” for some reason–but that’s to be expected.

So, besides issues of dentistry, “Black Sails” looks like a promising destination for Starz subscribers.

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