Sunday, May 22, 2011


Written by Ted Eliott and Terry Rossio
Directed by Rob Marshall
Starring Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush and Ian McShane

Barbosa: You haven't changed.
Jack Sparrow: Implying the need.

It’s fitting really that the fourth installment in Disney’s PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN series, ON STRANGER TIDES, finds everyone’s favourite captain, Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) searching frantically for the fountain of youth. The franchise itself has not exuded any true vigor since the first time it sent sail and, now serving under the new direction of Rob Marshall (CHICAGO), it simply drifts aimlessly at sea while trying to recapture its former glory. Drastic changes were made to the format, most notably a major cast overhaul, to rejuvenate it and allow it to stand alone as a one-off story in hopes of keeping Disney’s treasure chest plentiful. The only strange thing about these tides though is that anyone is still watching and waiting for them to come in.

Some of the aforementioned drastic changes include the shedding of previous series regulars, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly, to make room for fresh blood, Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane. Also gone are the overly complicated plot lines incorporated into the second and third installments to justify their existence. All they managed to do was infuriate audiences and suck all the fun out of the franchise anyway so that’s no loss. Instead, this adventure is meant to exist unto itself and it most certainly does this. It just doesn’t bother having any fun in the process. Depp returns as the character he has brought nothing new to for years now and he joins a bunch of other pirates, including Cruz, whom he had some sort of sordid affair with way back when, as they search for the location of the fountain of youth. Aside from an encounter with some of the most vicious mermaids I’ve ever seen, this amounts to little more than a lot of walking and talking in the jungle.

The truth is there is nothing strange about these tides really and this is why the film doesn’t work. A new director and a new approach were supposed to thrust some fresh gusts of wind into the aging franchise’s sails but all it truly manages is to raise this sunken ship to the surface again and leave it there to rock monotonously back and forth, in unnecessary 3D no less. (This by no means applies to McShane, who is the only point of interest past those scary mermaids.) Considering previous pirate complaints centered around how confusing it all got, I am surprised that Marshall leaves us with more confusion this time around too – more specifically, why is this series still going? Oh right, treasure.


Ronan said...

Nice review Joseph, definitely fun to read. Someone asked me recently would I review Stranger Tides for them. This of course would necessitate actually having to go down to the Moviehouse, pay in, and sit there and watch it. Judging by your review this is not something you would recommend. However, like our Hollywood studio impresarios, I too have treasure to consider.

Employment Experts said...

First review that I actually agree with. Firstly, more exposition needed with regards to Blackbeard, his use of the vodun, and how that applies to the zombies. Secondly, gratuitous side-plot romance is gratuitous.

Apart from both those things, this movie was definitely better than par for the course. It truly does not deserve the hatred and vitriol that so many are slinging at it.

Free Online Astrology said...

well well well..despite extremely negative reviews, absence of orlando and keira still managed very good collections and a decent 90.2 million dollars in U.S..although 3d prices helped itz cause one cant deny johnnydepp’s box office pull..this shows there’s no pirates without jacksparrow..:)

Atlanta Roofing said...

I really love the movie pirates of the Caribbean especially Johnny Depp. Congats to the team, they always entertain the audience. They deserve to be the box office movie.

Great Outdoors said...

The movie was great. I saw it Friday, and I liked it. It seemed to be missing something or had too much of something but I really liked it. I loved the Mermaids!! Johnny is wonderful of course!

Learn To Sing said...

Definitely not the cream of the crop as the Pirates films go, with the 1st and 2nd one (in my opinion) being the best of the best. The film had its moments but they were few and far between and some parts were just far-fetched (more so than normal) – like Jack masquerading as a judge…
The film was not the worst of 2011 but it was far from the best