Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Director: Rob Marshall
Cast: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane
In My Own Words
When I first heard about the fourth instalment for “Pirates of the Caribbean”, I was completely sceptical. I had every reason to be. When the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” was released back in 2003, it was in my top 5 films for years. After the second and third film, I kind of lost interest. I think I was getting annoyed that the makers were milking the concept for all it was worth and using everything that was great about the first movie over and over again. I loved the freshness of the first one and the fact that there had never been a pirate film quite like that one before. There was romance, adventure, surprises and some good laughs in there. Of course, the second one and third one just doubled everything about the first. They were so over the top that it made it all seem so corny and silly.
I can see why Disney would want to get the most out of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” phenomenon though. How good is the character of Captain Jack Sparrow? He is a character like none other and always a joy to watch. Disneyland even redid their “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride to include Sparrow after the huge success of the film, which was based on the ride to begin with. Depp deserved his Academy Award nomination for being the true spirit behind this character that will never be forgotten. There aren’t many characters these days which aren’t superheros that people can see not being forgotten in a hurry, so that makes Sparrow pretty special.
And whether the fourth film is good or not, does it really matter in the eyes of Disney? Of course not! “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” had a $250 million production budget, and since it’s opening on Thursday, it has made $346 million worldwide. According to Box Office Mojo, this film had the highest earnings in its opening weekend in the United States ever. Why stop?
These are my own words and here is my review.
“Pirates of the Caribbean” may not have worn out its welcome just yet. Eight years after the first instalment was released, “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” is the fourth on screen adventure of the beloved Captain Jack Sparrow. “On Stranger Tides” is much like the previous films in many ways, but the good thing is that it has learnt from the biggest mistakes made in the second and third films and has made amends for them in this film.
Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) returns and this time he is in pursuit of the Fountain of Youth. He once again escapes the gallows and is again running from the authorities and the newly reformed Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) who are also after the Fountain of Youth. He runs into his old flame, Angelica (Penelope Cruz) who tricks him into coming along with her and her father, Blackbeard (Ian McShane) on the same quest. It is a race to see who gets there first, and who knows how to get there. Also, who can survive the journey.
“On Stranger Tides” is much like the last two “Pirates of the Caribbean” where there is so much going on at once. There are the two main stories of Barbossa’s journey and Blackbeard’s journey, as well as the romance between Philip (Sam Clafin) and mermaid, Syrena (Astrid Berges-Frisbey). However much there may be going on, it is still not quite as busy as the second and third film proving that the film makers have learnt from their mistakes. Because there is so much going on, the scriptwriting seems a bit all over the place. Many of the characters, besides Sparrow, Blackbeard and Barbossa are not very verbally gifted. There are still some good laughs to be had throughout the film, but no real surprises or suspense.
There are some really thrilling and impressive moments in the film. The scenery and landscape used for various scenes in beautiful and the editing and cinematography is very well done. However, there are some boring and drawn out scenes in the film which wind the film down and make it less enjoyable. There is, of course, the farfetched nature of many of the activities undertaken in the film, such as Sparrow catapulting himself from the top of one palm tree to another which resembles something out of a video game. However, “Pirates of the Caribbean” is supposed to be a fantasy so it can be forgiven. Just don’t try this at home kids.
Once again, Johnny Depp is the star of the show. Even though we are now up to the fourth film in the series, Jack Sparrow is still as funny as ever and he in no way has faltered since his first appearance in “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl”. Geoffrey Rush does well once again as Barbossa and Ian McShane gives a solid performance as Blackbeard. Penelope Cruz doesn’t seem completely comfortable in this film and although she fits the part of the female pirate, she struggles with her relationships in the film. There is no real father daughter relationship between her and McShane and there is really no romantic tension or chemistry between her and Depp.
At the beginning of the film, you do start to feel as though you are missing Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley as Will and Elizabeth and wish they would return. Though Sam Clafin and Astrid Berges-Frisbey do pick up the romantic roles in this film well. Sam Clafin’s character of Philip is really a valuable addition to the series and has a great amount of character to him. Although Berges-Frisbey does not say much, she still makes quite an impression on the screen. Not just with her beauty, but also her innocence and fragility.
It is now a fact that there will not be another “Pirates of the Caribbean” quite like the first film, but this film is an improvement on the last two films in the series. It is still entertaining and enjoyable for the most part, but it’s busyness and drawn out scenes of nothingness let it down.