Part four and counting, Walt Disney Pictures continues its one time trilogy into a, for now, quartet of a film franchise. PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES returns to the screen with basically some of its original, cheery-eyed cast intact. Usuals and choice favorites, Orland Bloom & Keira Knightley, chose not to reprise their roles. But everyone’s lovable and normally deceitful captain sailed his way back onto the theater. Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow, excuse me, Captain Jack Sparrow is with new direction this time. Rob Marshall picks up directing duties from the franchises normal head, Gore Verbinksi.
When we last found Captain Sparrow (Johnny Depp) he had set sail in a tiny dinghy in the direction of the Fountain of Youth. By now, four years later, you would think that maybe he has found it. You would be incorrect because movie time has never quite equaled real-life time. Not only has he not yet found these legendary waters but we find his first mate, Mr. Gibbs (Kevin McNally), on trial with the court believing that he is in fact Sparrow. After exchanging some dazzling pleasantries with the King of England’s superior guards, with them in pursuit of him, Sparrow crosses paths with someone from his past. Enter the still very beautiful Penelope Cruz as Angelica, yet another female that the womanizing Sparrow has “loved and left”.
After having some very choice words for him, Angelica sort of recruits Jack for her ship to help her crew and captain search for the Fountain so that they may claim it as their own. Her captain proves to be no ordinary pirate as Jack discovers that the ship he has been attached to is headed by none other than the infamous evil pirate Black Beard (Ian McShane). They then all find themselves in a race against the English as well as the Spanish, who were the first ones to learn of the whereabouts of the Fountain, to delight in the wonders that the mystical waters from the Fountain will bring them.
Writing duo, Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio, also make a return to pen the screenplay for this latest chapter as they did the first three. Disney has got a real franchise here on their hands and Elliot and Rossio among others get to reap the benefits. I think it’s safe to say that it is time for me to sit down and write out some kind of a screenplay. Before going to see this film, I felt that the absence of Bloom and Knightley’s characters would yield a hole in the story and provide a lack of screen presence. I find my theory to be both right and wrong after seeing it.
The movie and story packs enough substance to carry it all the way through without losing the audience’s attention. But at times, the lack of their appearances might be missed. The other characters did receive plenty of time on screen due to this. Some points felt like it was too much but it did a good job of turning your attention to some other aspect within the plot as not to over saturate the film with just one dimension.
As usual, the action and stunt sequences were enjoyable. Packed with quick movements, sword fights, plenty of banter and that famous PIRATES score that I enjoy so much. Depp did pull plenty of action duty where it would have normally gone to Orlando Bloom attempting to fight his way out of a jam wielding his sword. Even Cruz had her stunt and sword play moments. I couldn’t really complain about the film in that department. Can’t complain about any of the films in that department now that I think about it. They’ve done a pretty good job being consistent in that aspect.
Black Beard played the film’s main antagonist, showing no mercy where normal men would. With his steady hand and control of his ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, you can tell that he is definitely one pirate that you do not want to mess with. This PIRATES was different in the fact that it was filmed primarily in Hawaiian waters as opposed to the usual Caribbean where the previous three were shot. Still, the tropical back drop and clear waters served their purpose providing an ideal environment for pirating all the same.
I did not see this one in 3D, it being the first PIRATES film that I’ve actually seen in theaters, but still enjoyed it nonetheless. It is reported that there is a fifth one which already has a script finished in the works. This last one, as the others have, definitely left a medium sized window open for another sequel. I give PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES “8 zombie-fied pirates & killer mermaids out of 10”
“I wish to agree with the missionary’s position”