Tales from a time when the toughest of transvestites ruled the seas.
Cunningly clumsy Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) meets his match when mysterious beauty Angelica (Penélope Cruz) forces the pirate to join her in search of the Fountain of Youth. Sparrow tries to determine whether Angelica is friend or foe while the riotous adventure sets him aboard a vessel belonging to the fearsome pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane).
This is the fourth “Pirates” film and features director Rob Marshall replacing Gore Verbinski, and I have to say that I was kind of missing him.
Now for this one, this goes back to the basics and focuses more on Captain Jack Sparrow, rather than 500 other character story-lines. However, although this isn’t as epic as the other ones have been, i actually kind of missed that. The first three featured all these sub-plots, all these kinds of things going on, all these minor characters, all the little jokes, and when they have to get to one place they have to stop at 10 places before it, and what this franchise does not need is a leaner Pirates film. This is the shortest film out of the four, and I have to say it kind of bummed me out considering that this was a lot more simpler than the others, and what made the others so damn enjoyable I thought, were the fact that they had so much going on and kept the energy going.
Despite this I still had a fun time while I was watching this. The script surely isn’t as funny as it would like to think it is, but there are a lot of nice little jokes and puns that we have all come to know and love from this series by now. Marshall also does a great job with giving a lot of great stylized action sequences that work so well, and will have you watching throughout the whole scene. There’s just this type of energy that Marshall keeps going during these sequences that just glue you in, and keep you on hold.
Everybody loves Johnny Depp as the iconic Captain Jack Sparrow, probably because he’s so good at playing him and here is no different. Depp hasn’t lost that comedic timing and that utter strangeness that just makes Sparrow a character to stand behind and laugh at. The writing for him wasn’t that good this time around because there are some escapes that Depp pulls off and plans he executes that are really just nonsensical and would never happen, but I felt that the writers got to lazy and just said to hell with it, because it’s Captain Jack. I wasn’t expecting much from Penélope Cruz here but she actually saves the film from being too much of a sausage-fest, and is spot-on as that funny and quirky, high-voiced, Spaniard. Ian McShane is also amazing as the evil, scary, and soul-congering Blackbeard. He really nails the combination of villianry and comedy that this role requires and he’s also got the voice like something that would come from the depths of hell. Geoffrey Rush is also here as Captain Barabosa, and does a great job of keeping his character funny, but also just a little bit menacing.
My main problem with this film is that it doesn’t feel like this had any real reason to be made at all, other than just a cash-grab at the summer blockbuster audience that this was made for. The first three all had significance and reasons to be made to continue the story, this one was just to see how much money a film could make with Captain Jack as the head-liner. I didn’t mind this but it just didn’t seem like anything fun, or as original as the first three did, and for once I actually have to say that I missed Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley for once. I don’t know why I would ever say that, but I feel that it’s as much as their films, as it is Depp’s. Maybe I’m just ranting like a crazy man, but this just didn’t do too much for me like I would have hoped.
Consensus: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides provides a lot of fun entertainment, and great performances from the cast to make this an enjoyable Summer blockbuster, but it just didn’t feel the same as the first three have, and although it’s a lot shorter than all three, the story felt a little too stretched for it’s own good.