Monday, May 23, 2011

Review - Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)

“I thought I should give you warning. We're taking the ship. It's nothing personal.”

Starring: Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane, Geoffrey Rush
Directed: Rob Marshall
Writers: Ted Elliot, Terry Rossio

So the forth Pirates is upon us and the question on everyone’s mind is if we should set sail with this movie, or make it walk the plank into Davy Jones locker. I can remember the first movie and really enjoying it. Looking back on the first movie, Captain Jack Sparrow had one of the best entrances I can remember for a character, there was a sense of fun, and while it was a long movie it didn’t feel as bad as parts 2 & 3. Both sequels were over long, over complicated and the charisma on display from Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly were lacking. So all in all, it seemed like a good idea to get a new movie going free from the previous sequels. Right?

Wrong. Oh man was this movie a big disappointed. While I was a bit put off that it would be all Jack Sparrow, I at least thought that the movie would be fun to suit its lead hero. The problem is while Jack is front and centre he’s not completely the focus. The story is yet again too complicated for its own good, and so very very very long. It doesn’t need to be, as there are plenty of mini sub plots that could have been cut. I’m not sure why the makers of these pirate movies seem to think that they need to cram the movie with story. Anyway it becomes a boring mess, because whatever momentum could be gained is wrecked when we have to wander off to the side plots.

However story issues aside I was hoping that the acting would make up for the plot. Yet again I was disappointed. Look Johnny Depp may have breathed life into the role of Captain Jack Sparrow but in this movie I got the distinct feeling that Johnny was just going through the motions and was almost bored sometimes. I honestly I think the gold that was Captain Jack Sparrow as been mined away and there is nothing left. So it was up to Geoffrey Rush and Ian McShane to keep my interest. Rush’s character of Barbossa was given some major focus and yet not much screen focus. This is ridiculous considering his story arc. You actually make a character more important to the plot than Jack Sparrow but then don’t give him that much time to fully get the audience hooked into his arc. As for McShane his performance was great, yet what he was given was pathetic and I just didn’t give two hoots about him as the major villain Blackbeard. Everyone else I just didn’t care and no one had the charisma to make them memorable.

Look wise the movie didn’t skimp and it was here that I got most of my enjoyment. It’s a shame that the plot and acting of the movie really does bore me to the extent that while it’s pretty, I’m just not drawn into the world. This is a big shame in my mind. This is a world that I want to explore, and a light and breezy adventure with Captain Jack could of really worked, its just every bit of myth and legend this world weaves is so laboured with back story it just makes my brain hurt.

This movie is supposed to be a fun, swashbuckling tale but it fails at the basic agenda. Most of the actors seem bored, and if they aren’t then they are let down by the script. Visual the movie does look good but without the foundation of a good plot and characters it becomes nothing more than a ride. And there is the thing. The first movie managed to catch lightning in the bottle, but these sequels just can’t do it. If you did enjoy parts 2 & 3 of the pirate movies then go and see it, but if you’re anyone else just avoid it till it comes out on television.


  1. Y'know, the 3rd movie is my favourite because it's so complex. Which is to say, based on most of the reviews of the 4th one, I might like that one too because it has too many subplots.

  2. Out of the sequels number 3 is my favourite. Geoffrey Rush is at his finest. I think the third one works the best because at least there is a lot of pay off.

  3. I would say that I like 3 even more than 1. 2 was entertaining enough I guess, but doesn't really rank.

    What I liked about 3 is the layers of stories and the fact that, to me, all the characters really came into their own. I really liked both Bloom and Knightley in it, up until the end where SPOILER she decides to forgo swashbuckling to sit around having babies and waiting for him to come back once every 10 years. That seemed like a cop-out to me.

    Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing the fourth one...eventually. Probably when it hits DVD since I don't see that many movies in the theater these days.