20 may. 2011

My Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (8/10)

¨What can I say Gibbs? It`s a pirate`s life for me. Savvy! ¨

The fourth film of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has finally arrived and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. I was reminded why I had grown to love Jack Sparrow so much after the previous two sequels had lowered my expectations a bit. I`ve enjoyed all four movies, although none has topped the original one. The good thing about On Stranger Tides (the title taken from Tim Powers’ novel which this film is loosely based on) is that it’s the closest and most similar to Gore Verbinski`s first film The Curse of the Black Pearl. The following sequels seemed to get more complicated and loose some of the focus of what made the first film so great: the characters. On Stranger Tides goes back to the basics and has a much simpler story reminding us that there is no need to complicate the plot when the truly entertaining thing about these movies are the characters. One may argue that two of the most important characters are missing in this film: Elizabeth Swan and Will Turner, but in my opinion Jack Sparrow and Barbosa are truly the central characters. This film lets us focus entirely on Sparrow and that is fine enough with me, while Barbosa takes an interesting and comical approach in this movie. Screenwriters Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio are back for the fourth time and I´m glad they decided to keep things much simpler and entertaining. This time around the man that was missing was the captain of the original three Pirate movies, Gore Verbinski, who was replaced by Rob Marshall (director of Nine and Chicago). I must admit this is my favorite Rob Marshall film now and the second best in the franchise.

Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is back again for another adventure. When his friend Gibbs (Kevin McNally) is about to be hung in London, Jack shows up to rescue him, and in his possession he has the map to the fountain of youth. While in London he hears a rumor that Jack Sparrow is looking for a crew for his new ship. But that can`t possibly be true because he is Jack Sparrow and he doesn`t even own a ship. It appears a woman from Jack`s past is behind this, Angelica (Penelope Cruz), a con-artist who will do anything to get Sparrow to take her and her father, Blackbeard (Ian McShane), to the fountain. Sparrow apparently still has feelings for her, but he doesn’t really want to take them, so he is forced on board the Queen Anne`s Revenge anyway. The ship is protected by zombies who obey Blackbeard`s every command, but that isn`t Sparrow`s only worry: the waters are infested by dangerous mermaids who lure the sailors into the deep sea to be eaten. Blackbeard is an evil man, as one of his Christian missionary prisoners, Phillip (Sam Claflin) points out to him. Angelica is worried about a prophecy that her father will soon be killed by a one legged man, and that`s why she`s in such a rush to get to the fountain before anything happens to him. Sparrow has no intention in saving Blackbeard. Barbosa (Geoffrey Rush) is also after the fountain of youth, although he isn`t a pirate any more. Now he is working for King George and his men. So the race to the fountain of youth begins with several dangers on its way.

This film is character driven, the story really doesn`t have to be all that complicated and that is fine with me. It`s purely entertaining and fun. Jack Sparrow is his usual self again and I just couldn’t get enough of him; he is always great and funny. Out of the four films this is probably the least funniest. I didn’t laugh a whole lot like I remember laughing in the other movies, but I still had a great time with the action and adventure. Geoffrey Rush is probably the funniest character in this movie showing a different side of Barbosa. Newcomers Sam Claflin as Phillip and Astrid Berges-Frisbey as Syrena seem to be the next Will and Elizabeth for the franchise, although they didn’t get too much screen time. My least favorite character was probably Angelica, I didn`t like her character at all. Ian McShane played a decent villain. The best thing about On Stranger Tides is that the film centers on Jack Sparrow and we get to see plenty of him. The action sequences are really well choreographed and the visuals are great. The scenery is also beautiful. Before this film I wasn’t so excited about seeing another Pirates movie, but this one left me wanting more. This is not one of those intellectual films, but it is what a summer popcorn movie should be like. It`s not perfect at all, but it is entertaining and reminded me a lot of the original.

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