REVIEW: Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Having loved the Pirates Of The Caribbean series up until the release of At World’s End, the announcement of a fourth installment was perhaps a bad idea in my opinion to start off with. However, it could have been a film to have truly made up for the disappointing third installment but you know what? It really didn’t and it really was a disappointment! In fact, it was worse than the third film (even though more was expected out of third so that is more of a disappointment). Why? Well, first of all, the amount of plot holes and confusions were huge. If you read the plot synopsis, it is actually a basic story but when you watch the film itself, the plot just went almost totally different and took us somewhere different. The fourth installment had a lot of what At World’s End had: quite a lot of unnecessary stops and rather irrelevant scenes. For example, there are action scenes but then like *that*, it stops and there are a couple of lines and then *bang* goes back to action again. In some ways, On Stranger Tides had some of the weaknesses that Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen had was there was too much noise (as in too many action scenes) but not enough story or character development and it just didn’t feel like a true magical film from Disney Pictures like we did previously see in the first two installments.

To be honest, it had the plot where it just felt flat very quickly and didn’t make it very exciting to watch. It isn’t the first time that this has happened in Pirates Of The Caribbean series but unfortunately like At World’s End, despite that the fourth instalment is in fact the duration is almost the same as Curse Of The Black Pearl and that the sequels are longer, the story in this one just dragged and got quite boring with some rather unnecessary scenes so they could have cut the film short by at least 15 minutes. However, despite these many flaws thatPirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the qualities within the film are obviously the breathtaking effects and the way it was filmed just like the first three films in the series. It certainly is a well-directed film and was handled well but even that didn’t make the film entirely convincing to enjoy.

‘Captain’ Jack Sparrow (Depp) crosses paths with a woman from his past Angelica (Cruz), and he’s not sure if it’s love — or if she’s a ruthless con artist who’s using him to find the fabled Fountain of Youth. When she forces him aboard the Queen Anne’s Revenge, the ship of the formidable pirate Blackbeard (McShane), Jack finds himself on an unexpected adventure in which he doesn’t know who to fear more: Blackbeard or the woman from his past.

‘Captain’ Jack Sparrow was already Johnny Depp’s public favourite character and is his favourite character to play but a fourth instalment seeing ‘Captain’ Jack return again was a really exciting one. However, despite that Johnny once again proves that he IS Jack Sparrow, Jack was almost like a different character and wasn’t the usual cowardly, humorous and rather dirty character that we saw in the previous three films. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t entirely convinced that Jack was even the protagonist of the story. Think it was both him and that priest who falls in love with the mermaid and there are two separate stories going on. I mean, two protagonists simply do not work in a film like this! It is a leading character with a supporting character so, yeah Johnny was good once again but think the character was in a word; muddle. After the announcement of no Orlando Bloom nor Keira Knightley in On Stranger Tides and that Penelope Cruz was going to be in it, that became quite exciting. Penelope starring in it as the sidekick of Jack instead of Orlando Bloom was certainly better but the on-off romantic scenes between Angelica and Jack did get on my nerves. I’ll tell you one thing, though: you will probably drool watching Penelope Cruz as Angelica throughout every second she is in the film and that only happened once or twice with Keira Knightley in all three predecessors so yeah, Penelope made up for Keira and Orlando not being in this one so made it slightly better! Also, Johnny and Penelope looked great on-screen together and would make a great real-life couple!

Another villain has arrived in the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise: Blackbeard. First of all, expectations were high on Ian McShane’s performance and the involvement of the character after how disappointing and annoying of a villain that Bill Nighy was as Davy Jones was inDead Man’s Chest and At World’s End but the Blackbeard character was really, and I mean really weak! Before Blackbeard appeared on-screen, he sounded like a very terrifying and destructive villain but as we got to know the character as the film progressed, he went less evil and villainous and began to have a soft side. In fact, I don’t even think there was one character who was the antagonist, so I don’t think there has been a powerful and evil villain in the series since Captain Barbossa in Curse Of The Black Pearl despite he appears in all three sequels to that film. Speaking of Barbossa, seriously what has happened to him?! How did he get there after losing the Pearl and knowing that he is deep-down a pirate? He was once an evil pirate captain who could kill, torture and make others suffer (like we saw inCurse Of The Black Pearl) but now he has become a suck-up and is now the King’s captain so to speak. Also, the soft heart-to-heart conversations he has with Jack in On Stranger Tides got annoying because they were once enemies who hated each other and tried to kill each other but now they’re almost like friends and allies. Seriously, wouldn’t you have thought that either of them would’ve wanted to kill each other again by now after what has happened? I’m sorry but Barbossa appearing in this was a huge mistake!

Rob Marshall was a rather unique yet a very good choice to direct On Stranger Tides after original director Gore Verbinski. The unique side was that he hasn’t really had any experience directing an action fantasy film or even a film for children’s eyes but has only really had recognition for directing musicals (director of 2002 Best Picture winner Chicago and 2009 musical Nine which starred Penelope Cruz so he reunites with her again. And he was also the director of Memoirs Of A Geisha). Marshall bought us something slightly different but didn’t really make On Stranger Tides a follow-up to the previous trilogy. It felt a lot like it was one on its own, it perhaps looked like it could be called a reboot in the series just featuring 3 of the original characters (Jack, Barbossa and Gibbs), and it seemed like a prequel in some ways (although I would like to see that) or it is simply just totally unnecessary. So I have a mixed opinion about Rob Marshall as director of this one.

Overall, Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is a huge disappointment that I think is the worst of the series when I really did not expect it to be especially after how At World’s End turned out. There were some good qualities that this had so I wouldn’t go as far as to call it awful and that I hated it but it still is a bad film that I might not even watch again. If there is anything that this film has taught us, it is that the more sequels that come out, the worse the series is going to get. In Johnny Depp’s words about returning as ‘Captain’ Jack in a fifth instalment: ”If we can get all the pieces in the puzzle together (as in the story), I would most definitely consider it” so if they are planning a fifth or maybe even sixth instalment, they seriously need to do that or else the series is going to die very slowly. To revive it, I might even consider wanting Orlando and Keira to return in a fifth instalment (if there will be one) and we need the old ‘Captain’ Jack Sparrow back! After two weak films in the series, the ship is now very close to sinking completely.

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~ by SJMJ91 on 18/05/2012.

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