Our Flag Means Death Premiere Episodes On HBO Max Introduces Taika Waititi’s New Show
Taika Waititi’s new show is a subversion of the massively successful Pirates franchise from a certain Mouse House studios. Although, are ‘pirate movies’ a sub-genre of movies and television? I mean, we’ve got Black Sails, Master & Commander, and obviously the Pirates of the Caribbean movies from Disney. But are there enough of them to be a sub-genre? Well, regardless, Taika Waititi has gone and skipped ahead to make a parody and subverted that potential genre. Our Flag Means Death on HBO Max is a hilarious new show with Waititi’s brand of humour that sees pirates in an entirely new light. It’s a pirate-comedy, which is something I just coined right now and we’re going to go with it. Read on for more details on this new HBO Max original series in our review of the Our Flag Means Death premiere episode.
Taika Waititi’s New Show Is Unexpectedly Hilarious
Image via HBO Max.
Our Flag Means Death on HBO max is all about Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby) a wealthy landowner from the 1700s, who decides to become a pirate. All the while having absolutely no experience, being grossly underqualified and not posessing any of the traits needed for piracy. Why Bonnet decides to go down this route is unclear, but regardless, it’s a hilarious premise. Bonnet decides to bring a cordial and polite approach to an industry where murdering and ravaging is the norm. That idea of mashing up these two contrasting worlds is where most of the comedy comes from.
Waititi is also seemingly everywhere. This new series is only happening after production on Waititi’s next Marvel project, Thor: Love & Thunder wrapped. Love & Thunder will see the return of Natalie Portman to the Thor franchise, reportedly as Lady Thor. It’s the first movie in the MCU, post-Avengers: Endgame featuring one of the MCU’s founding heroes. So all eyes are on Waititi to see how he handles where Thor and the characters from the franchise are now in this post-snap world.
Waititi was also involved in the recent hit series Reservation Dogs. His Star Wars movie is still reportedly coming, although we have no details on who and what kind of story it will feature. And on top of it all, the acclaimed Oscar-nominated director is also involved in genre projects like Flash Gordon and the live-action Akira. The man could be one of the busiest creators in Hollywood right now.
Premiere Episode Introduces The Show’s Premise
Image via HBO Max.
The Our Flag Means Death premiere episode kick starts with a tour of the ship. Bonnet brags about his gentlemanly approach to piracy. Paying his crew steady wages, introducing an indoor tennis court in the bowels of the ship, a jam room for musical creative expression and a fully stocked library. All things too ridiculous to be on a pirate ship. So of course, the crew doesn’t respect him at all and plans a mutiny.
Even though that means they’ll never find out the ending of Pinocchio, something Bonnet reads to them during bedtime every night. He even does the voices. It’s a comedy that shouldn’t work because it feels too silly. But it works wonderfully given the unique setting of a pirate ship with a dastardly crew who are distracted with the task of creating their ship flag. The Our Flag Means Death premiere episode mostly deals with how Bonnet has to earn the respect of his crew. At least, for the time being.
Our Flag Means Death On HBO Max Is A True Story
Image via HBO Max.
Believe it or not, while the above premise seems silly, it’s based on a totally true story. Stede Bonnet was a real man from the early 18th Century, who really left behind his comfortable life to become a pirate. Not only that, but he even tangled with, fought against, and eventually teamed up with the infamous pirate Blackbeard. And for the version of events portrayed in Taika Waititi’s new show, Waititi himself is playing Blackbeard. While the premiere episode of Our Flag Means Death doesn’t have a lot of the guest appearances the trailer teased, the cast shown so far, and their importance to the story is pretty funny.
Playing the submissive minstrel is Joel Fry of Cruella fame. Ewan Bremmer from Wonder Woman and Trainspotting plays buttons, Stede’s confidante with a thick Scottish accent that’s hard to understand without subtitles. The later episodes will include appearances by Fred Armisen, Leslie Jones and Waititi himself, as mentioned earlier.
Our Flag Means Death Premiere Episode Review
Image via HBO Max.
The premiere episode of Our Flag Means Death features the typical comedy from Darby and Waititi that we’ve seen before in What We Do In The Shadows. Well thought out, dry and sarcastic humour, mixed in with some bumbling physical comedy. Darby sells it as a polished and preppy gentleman somehow trying to lead a group of murderers and pillagers. It’s unexpectedly funny.
But on top of all that, the jokes really have fun with the usual depictions of pirates. It’s the same type of humour when they take supposedly tough guys and put them in everyday mundane situations. Seeing burly and sour-faced men trying to channel their creativity to stitch an intimidating pirate flag is all the right kinds of comedy. And in many ways, Our Flag Means Death is almost a workplace comedy taking place on a pirate ship with a new manager whose way of doing things is upsetting the status quo. Oh, and mutiny is seemingly a constant thought on everyone’s mind as a result.
Our Flag Means Death premiere episode debuts on HBO Max on March 3, 2022.
Are you down for yet another new potential franchise from Taika Waititi? Especially one that is a Pirate comedy? Let me know in the comments below.
Featured image via HBO Max.
Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.