Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Pirates of the Caribbean on Stranger Tides

Peter Mountain/Disney Enterprises

Will the next Pirates Of The Caribbean movie suck as badly as the last two? Let's hope not.
—AliGan, via the inbox

Yes. Let's. But first we need to establish which potential hackery you mean. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides—in which a pregnant Penélope Cruz gads about with a very not gay Jack Sparrow—is coming up in May. Or do you mean the two other pirate movies that seem to be in the works?

It matters. Here's why...

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...because, while Stranger Tides is a known quantity, with an experienced director and highly praised source material (shooting has wrapped, after all), we don't know much about five and six, other than they're probably happening.

Here's what we can tell you about Tides:

It did not involve original trilogy director Gore Verbinski. This sounds bad, until you realize that this is the same Verbinski behind the terrible At World's End and Dead Man's Chest. Critics loathed both of those installments. So did I.

The new director is Rob Marshall, who prefers his ladies all-singing and all-dancing. He directed Chicago and Nine, as well as a TV version of Annie. Chicago was fine, as musicals go. But many folks had a hard time enjoying Nine. (Nine got even poorer reviews than the last two Pirates flicks.)

That does give Pirates fans reason to worry about Tides. I don't know about you, but I prefer that my pirates refrain from spontaneously bursting into song.

Marshall's only other movie of note: The forgettable big-screen adaptation of Memoirs of a Geisha.

Add all that up, and I don't have a heaping helping of hope for this latest installment. Yes, Johnny Depp is great and all, and the book on which it is based, On Stranger Tides, is supposed to be fabulous. It has won awards.

But then again, so did The Lovely Bones.

There is one ray of hope: Disney apparently thinks audiences will love the movie. Otherwise, we wouldn't be fielding reports that the Mouse House already has plans for a fifth and sixth installment of the franchise. And according to Hitfix, that's exactly what's happening.

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