Reviews

Reviews of all sorts of stuff, from books to movies to rum and clothing.

Review: Foam Rum Barrel

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy it Now
Let me set a scene for you. You and your mates are at a glorious pirate festival, bedecked in your swashbuckling finery. And then, as so often happens in these dark times, a gaggle of steampunks approach you and ask something like, “Pardon me, good sirs, indubitably, do you happen to know the location of the afternoon tea party, as it were? Harumph, pip pip?”

What exactly is the best response to this dreadful occurrence? Some might opt for the “stab first” option, but this often leads to trouble as it requires violating the festival’s peace-tie policy. Others might instead launch a small barrage of profanity, but in truth a cursing pirate sometimes comes across more like Yosemite Sam than we care to admit, which could leave you vulnerable to heckling (believe me, nothing is more painful than watching a steampunk do his Yosemite Sam impression at your expense). And so I would offer a third, wholly superior option – club the steampunk commander upside the head with a five gallon rum barrel. Pretty sweet, eh? (more…)

Review: Lego Pirates of the Caribbean Game

Rating: ★★★★½
When I saw that Lego was making a Pirates of the Caribbean Video Game, I had two immediate concerns. First, games based on movies frighten me – I’ve already seen the movie, and I don’t need to act it out again in video game fashion. And second, Legos to me are a tactile experience – I’ve never for the live of me understood why I’d want to play with Legos on a console.

Well, in this case I needn’t have worried on either account, and this fact is made clear right from the opening sequence. Yes, it starts with a Lego reenactment of the first scene from Curse of the Black Pearl. But then, just when the viewer thinks he knows what’s going to happen next, the Lego figures pull a fast one and do a little pirate dance – and it’s AWESOME. This is the key to this game – playing along with the audience’s expectations, and then suddenly shifting course for comedic effect. And as to the Lego thing? Well, it’s LEGOS!!! Everything is cuter/awesomer/more piratey when Legos are involved. I wouldn’t have believed it, but it’s true.  (more…)

Review: The DonQ Collection

In my years of writing rum reviews at Bilgemunky.com, I’ve tasted all sorts – top shelf, bottom shelf, aged, white, spiced… but one common sort of rum that I’ve mostly avoided commenting on has been flavored rum. Not that such rum is unworthy of note, but because so much of its magic is dependent on the skills of the bartender. Flavored rums, by and large, are meant to be paired with fruit juice and such, and rarely would a pirate sit back with a large mug of Malibu.

But when DonQ kindly granted me the opportunity to taste their entire line of standard and mixing rums, seriously, how could I decline? And thus we venture forth in what I believe is a Bilgemunky first – flavored rums! (more…)

Review: Pirates of the Caribbean – On Stranger Tides

Rating: ★★☆☆☆
In 2003, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl came to theaters. It was, far, far better than we had any right to expect, and pirate fever soon struck the world. Any movie based on an amusement park ride (no matter how well loved) is almost certain to be one-dimensional, half-assed, and forgettable, and yet we got a piece of genius that redefined a generation or more’s view of pirates. That’s the good news. The bad news is that with 2011’s On Stranger Tides, we finally got the pirate movie we probably should have gotten in the first place: one-dimensional, half-assed, and forgettable.

Now, that last statement is bound to ruffle some, and I’m not saying On Stranger Tides was a bad movie exactly. It was just dull. Predictable, dull, and more of a cartoon than a live action adventure. It was only truely bad when considering the talent onhand, and comparing it to what this movie *could* have been. (more…)

Review: Ron de Jeremy

Rating: ★★★½☆

www.rondejeremy.com

I’ve reviewed many a rum over the years – and sampled far more than even that. But Ron de Jeremy is most certainly my first experience with a rum made in honor of an adult film star. Ron Jeremy is a legend far beyond his work within the adult film industry – indeed, he’s one of those people who are famous simply for *being*. You don’t need to be a fan of his work to recognize him in the street, nor, I’d wager, to enjoy his rum.

Reviewing Ron de Jeremy invites all sorts of temptation at juevenille humor. But I’m going to try a different tack – let’s talk about the rum itself. In the bottle, Ron de Jeremy is a class act. A short rotund package (god help me, the jokes aren’t so easy to avoid after all… strength…) (more…)

Review: Kraken Up

Rating: ★★★½☆
www.boundingmain.com

Genre: Traditional and traditional-style sea shanteys
Rating: PG
Target Audience: Grownups, older kids, folks who prefer sugar and lime in their grog rather than sand and gunpowder

As a fan of pirate music, I often find myself amongst the villainous and off-key. Pirate music is commonly gritty, sinister, and more concerned with setting a swashbuckling mood than achieving musical perfection – and God love ’em for it! That said, once in a while it’s good to rise up from the bilges, sober up, maybe take a bath, and listen to some artists that have opted for a different, more polished musical endeavor. And that’s where Bounding Main is time and again a favorite amongst so many shanty-fans. (more…)

Review: The Invisible Hook

Rating: ★★★★½
ECONOMICS

Did your eyes just glaze over?

ECONOMICS

Did they do it again?

Seriously, most pirate enthusiasts are all psyched about swashbuckling adventure and high-seas glory – words like “economics” are often considered a fast-track to a coma. And yet, economics is something we’ve likely thought about – and discussed with each other – in excruciating detail time and again without even realizing it. Economics, despite popular conception, isn’t a pile of dry mathematical formulas and bland theories, but rather it’s the science of determining why people do what they do. And when economical theory is aimed at our beloved subject of piracy, it’s rather amazing the sort of things that come to light. (more…)

Review: Fish

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Fish
by Gregory Mone

I’ve said it before; reviewing pirate books geared at young adults is always a treat. The reason for this is twofold – first, it’s a noble effort to induct the young into an early appreciation of piracy. And second, it’s often a refreshing change of pace from reading material aimed at adults, which tends to be far denser, and at times daunting.

Fish is the story of Maurice Reidy, a boy who’s rather unremarkable save for his apparently inborn talent for swimming. Swimming comes as natural as walking for Maurice (who’s of course nicknamed ‘Fish’ by friends and family alike), but it’s a talent that’s of little use on a farm, and even less use when life finds Fish working for his uncle as a courier in the city. And so it would have continued, had young Fish not run afoul of some mischief during one of his routine runs. Not so routine, actually, as Fish had been tasked with a package of extreme import – so extreme, in fact, that pirates (and worse) seemed to spring from nowhere in an effort to acquire it at any cost. (more…)

Review: Pirate Haiku

Rating: ★★★★☆
www.piratehaiku.com
It’s a book called “Pirate Haiku” – do you really need an explanation? Ok, it’s also calls itself “Bilge-sucking Poems of Booty, Grog, and Wenches for Scurvy Sea Dogs.” Clear now?

Pirate Haiku is exactly that – 185 pages of haikus (one per page) about pirates doing piratey things. And while haiku purists might point out that while the 5-7-5 format remains intact, very few of these poems exhibit the meditative qualities or the kigo generally required in Japanese hai… (more…)

Review: The Book of Pirates

Rating: ★★★★☆
www.thebookofpirates.com
I guess I never really thought about it, but it largely seems that pirate non-fiction is mostly available for two audiences – children and adults. But what about the inbetweeners? The adolescents who are beyond picturebooks, but not yet ready for the heavy, sometimes dry historical accounts found in historical novels? Enter The Book of Pirates: A Guide to Plundering, Pillaging and Other Pursuits.

Authors Jamaica Rose and Captain Michael MacLeod are no strangers to sharing their piratical wisdom. Indeed, they’ve been the primary forces behind the pirate trade publication No Quarter Given for, what, 17 years now? That’s a long floggin’ time, and the sheer volume of their pirate travels alone makes them well suited to the task of ushering our young adults into a wider world of swashbuckling adventure. (more…)