Review – Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

                   Rating = ★★½     Tagline = Low Matinee

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is the fourth installment in the Pirates series. Honestly, I see no reason why they wanted to go and make a fourth. The original trilogy was good – not great – but still good. The first one was really unsuspected, I didn’t think that type of movie would have been any good. The second and third were shot back to back and were good as well. Yes, even the third. The third one is underrated. It is no masterpiece, but it was still a good entry. Everything was wrapped up nicely, so I didn’t think there was going to be any more. Since Hollywood made so much money on the other pirates movies, they just couldn’t let the series end(I mean Harry Potter just ended; they can’t have two series run out at the same time). That is my theory anyway. I have to admit that the characters have grown on me a lot throughout those three movies. So I wouldn’t have minded another pirates movie if it was done right. Here, it disappoints a bit – not in ever aspect however.

 They drop the more complicated plot of the lat one and go for a simpler one here. Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is after the fountain of youth, so are the Spanish and English crowns. Also on the hunt is Blackbeard (Ian McShane) and his daughter Angelica (Penelope Cruz). As it turns out Jack and Angelica have a history, so he decides to help them beat the English and the Spanish to the fountain. The English are led by Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush); now with a wooden leg, he has decided to leave the pirates side. Before they get to the fountain, Blackbeard’s crew must capture a mermaid. A mermaid tear is needed to complete the ceremony at the fountain. While they are on their way, Philip (Sam Claflin), a young missionary, falls for the mermaid they capture.

Now the movie actually starts off pretty well. You even get a cameo from Keith Richards; he totally rocks that scene. The beginning is the best part of the movie, but after they set sail for the fountain the movie starts to worsen quickly. The set-up was intersting and fun. Watching Jack and Barbossa team up is all great fun as well. But the movie constantly goes back to the romance with the mermaid. Sam Claflin is clearly the replacement for Orlando Bloom. He just isn’t that good of an actor, and the romance was written poorly. The romance that was written well was the one for Jack and Angelica. They should have focused on that one more instead. So every time there is something you like, something bad will follow it. I can’t even say the mermaid thing is a subplot becuase it is given tons of attention. Some of things you want to see are pushed to the side for not the best of reasons.

Great duo.

 Rob Marshall is the new pirates director. While the directing wasn’t the biggest problem, it really wasn’t anything special.  In the ned it was a non factor What this movie really needed was a good script. A few parts were done good. Like some of the dialog when Jack was interacting with Angelica and Barbossa; they borderlined great actually. The rest just seemed lazy, like the movie stopped trying to worry about quality. It feels like a completely different screenwriter wrote everything else besides those scenes. Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio did passable job, but it would be nice to know who worked most on the parts I mentioned. Just like all the other Pirates movies, there are some good special effects here that are great to look at. Not as great as some of the ones in the third one, but still some pretty darn good stuff. I don’t like when movies use speical effects to hide the script; like makeup. It’s not entrily the case here though.

All in all the acting was great. Ian McShane and Penelope Cruz were nice additions. McShane does play Blackbeard over the top, but it is great fun to watch. He really nails the voice of Blackbeard. Cruz is also good, she was a nice choice for the role and had good chemistry with Depp. Kevin McNally is back reprising his role as Gibbs. He is just as good as he is in the others, and I am glad he returned. Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush steal the show though. Granted, Depp is doing most of the same here, but he does it so well. Rush is fantastic. You can tell he loves playing his character. The one weak link is Claflin. Every time he is on screen the movies fun stops. Granted the materal isn’t in his favor, but he could have given it somthing extra .Most of the character in the previous three are gone. The two they do keep though were the right choices, Gibbs and Barbossa. Of course they had to have Depp playing Jack again. Without him there would be no more Pirates movies.

Aside all it’s flaws it can still be entertaining to watch. It is not unwatchable by any means. Don’t see this in the theater though, there is just not enough here for you to go and do that. It will make a nice enough rental. The ending is obviously setting up a sequel. I am pretty sure that there will be two more shot back to back just like before. All they need to make that happen is Johnny Depp saying he will do it. I just hope that those two are made with greater care than this one. I have some faith. They have great chracthers people love to work with. All they really need to do is make sure the script is given more ambition. It would make me sad if the sequels were just like this, or worse. My big hope is that Jack and Barbossa are given amble time together on screen. The two of them together will make good things happen.

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