Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, fails to sail into new territory as it simply treads the water of the previous installments. Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow was initially rivaled by Captain Barbossa the undead pirate, then came Davy Jones the undead pirate, and now we have Captain Blackbeard the (yeah, you guessed it) undead pirate. With so many undead menaces lurking around, is there a chance that the fourth go around has breathed new life into the franchise?
This time around Jack Sparrow is off to find the Fountain of Youth at the behest of Captain Blackbeard, played by the amazingly ingenious Ian McShane, and his daughter Angelica played by the resplendent Penélope Cruz. The voyage faces perils such as zombie pirates, mermaid infested waters (which actually doesn’t sound that bad), British and Spanish naval crews, and a couple of other plot-like devices. Sounds just about right for the fourth installment in an already waning film series, right?
As is the case with most Bruckheimer produced films, the movie starts out with a modicum of promise and then slowly degrades into a nonsensical action fest with little entertainment value. As the movie progresses the action sequences become repetitive and outlandish, while the story is so immemorable that it essentially takes a backseat to everything else. Each outing with this pirate crew leads to less and less story and character development, and more and more ridiculousness, especially in the area of humorous content. One trite sexual innuendo after another does not a funny movie make.
Depp perfects the scenery chewing necessary to play Sparrow, while actors like Geoffrey Rush and Ian McShane attempt to perform miracles with a 12¢ script. Cruz is also a breath of fresh air compared to the stale, passionless performances Keira Knightly gave in the first three. But, despite their valiant efforts and moments of near brilliance, there was nothing they could do to keep this ship from sinking.
POTC 4, has a few mildly redeeming moments, in the form of action and storytelling, but ultimately falls short. The acting is admirable, regardless of the banal verbiage spilling forth from these talented performers. While subpar on so many levels, the franchise as a whole is a giant metal detector that manages to strike gold each time. This of course means we all need to brace ourselves for a fifth outing, entitled, Pirates of the Caribbean: Mo’ Booty Mo’ Problems, giving us the perfect double entendre, since that seems to be what the franchise has turned into.