The Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
I know these movies have made a gazillion dollars, but I was still kind of surprised when I heard a fourth Pirates of the Caribbean was announced. After all, everything was wrapped up at the end of the third. But I underestimated Hollywood’s ability to keep on flogging that horse.
On Stranger Tides sees Captain Jack Sparrow on a search for the fountain of youth. However, so is everyone else at the same time, inexplicably enough. I didn’t really understand why there was a sudden race to the fountain other than just to add some complications to the film. And perhaps because of this (but perhaps because of other reasons too), Pirates 4 appears to be missing a lot of the high drama which was present in the original three films. There’s no real sense of urgency and no real reason for me to care whether they make it to the fountain of youth or not.
But forget about all that. There is one reason and one reason alone that this film was made, and why people went to see this film: Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. But, even though he had his moments, this character is really starting to feel old and tiring. When the first pirates was released in 2003, people couldn’t seem to get enough of Jack Sparrow. Well, I think we’ve had enough now.
As for the rest of the characters, the only two from the other films we see are Gibbs, who has a bit of a bigger role, and Barbossa, another character who is starting to wear thin. For new characters we get Blackbeard, a menacing enough villain played by Ian McShane, and Angelica, a love interest for Jack played by Penelope Cruz who is a decent enough fit. We also get a love story between a mermaid and a young missionary which goes absolutely nowhere and has nothing to do with the rest of the film whatsoever. It feels completely disconnected and out of place. I never really understood that.
Alright, with all that negativity out of the way, I do have to start giving it some credit. The production values here are really good. The locations and st designs really are top notch and give a great adventure film feel. And I really liked the mermaid design as well. The moment where the first mermaid arrives is really stirring; its wonderfully eerie and surreal. And as an adventure film, there are a lot of action pieces to keep most people interested, and there is still some wit left in these scripts to retain a healthy chuckle throughout. But I do think they really should end the franchise here; the well is running noticeably dry.