Pirates of the Caribbean 4
On Stranger Tides
So where to now for this iconic Disney franchise? Over the past three
instalments we’ve been treated to outrageous CGI action, inventive
set-piece stunts and loads of charm and humour. But after the conclusion
of ‘At World’s End,’ do we really need another go-around? Or has Mr
Bruckheimer’s cash cow been asked to produce too much?
The story starts off in London, with Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp)
attempting to rescue his first mate from the law. The pair are captured
and Jack is brought before the King, who wants Jack’s help to attain the
mythical fountain of youth. Jack escapes to the seedier part of town,
where he learns that someone is impersonating him and recruiting sailors
for a voyage. This impostor turns out to be Angelica (Penelope Cruz), an
old flame of Jack’s, and none other than the daughter of the infamous
Blackbeard (played by Ian McShane). The trio set sail for the fountain,
in a three-way race with the Spanish and a ship of the Royal Navy,
commanded by none other than Jack’s old nemesis Barbossa (Geoffrey
The fantasy elements and humour that made the previous movies so
successful are still here. What’s lacking is any chemistry between the
actors; the absence of Keira Knightly and Orlando Bloom hurts. Without
them Depp is adrift, having lost two parts of the trio that gave the
movies their fun dynamic. Ian McShane and Geoffrey Rush do their best,
but their talents are criminally wasted here.
Rather than act as the showcase scenes, I found the sword fights in ‘On
Stranger Tides’ held up an already slow story. A few of the big
set-piece stunts are entertaining, but they’re too few and far between.
You feel like the storytelling has really gone awry here. The brief
seems to have been ‘epic,’ which has translated into ‘long.’ I’m not
sure why the characters needed to stand around debating who was going to
jump off the cliff in search of the silver goblets for quite so long.
The purpose of this scene seems to be to set Blackbeard up as a
treacherous scoundrel, which we already know anyway.
The musical score groans, rather than inspires. There are trickles of
the irreverent and swashbuckling tracks from previous outings, but
they’re kept to a minimum and never really set loose. The soundtrack
this time around is mostly overpowering, and feels detached from what’s
happening on screen.
As well as the blooper reel, there is a two-part Featurette called ‘Lego
Pirates of the Caribbean- Captain Jack’s brick tales.’ This isn’t nearly
as funny as it sounds, just a CGI promo.
While it still has moments of witty humour and exciting action, this
’Pirates’ doesn’t match the standards set by what has come before it.
Maybe it’s time for Mr Bruckheimer to stop yanking those teats, because
this old girl can only give up a trickle of what she once could.