Posted by Craig Grobler on Google+ On Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger TidesLook! It doesn't matter what I think or say about Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides you are going to see it anyway and if you enjoyed the previous films in the series you’ll probably enjoy this one.

I should start by saying I really do enjoy a good pirate yarn, unfortunately aside from Roman Polanski’s 1986 Pirates (which I haven’t even seen yet) and The Princess Bride (1987) there hasn’t been a decent one since Burt Lancaster and Nick Cravat folded their Skull and Crossbones and stored it in mothballs.

Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides Trailer

Having said that you probably gather that I’m probably not the target market for Pirates of the Caribbean i.e. I’m not a youngling that needs a chaperone to see a film, or an adult chaperoning a youngling to see a film. I can however see why it could be great family fun.

The real hero of Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides...is

Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides
Geoffrey Rush

The one good thing about Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides who maintains some acting dignity with his performance.

The real villain of Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides...is

Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides

Now, don’t get me wrong I have got nothing against Jerry Bruckheimer, apart from his bad films, that is. Somewhere after producing some brilliant early films, he seems to have struck a Faustian like deal that gave him incredible; talent, success, wealth, power, long life, respect and involvement in every summer blockbuster till the end of time, but as with any bargain of this type - it has a down side, which seems to be his films suck - apart from the surprisingly good & really fun Transformers that is. Which seemed to have slipped through the devil's net unlike Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides.

I really want to enjoy The Pirates of the Caribbean films like everyone else. I see the hype, the sparkly posters, feel the excitement in the air, enticing voiceover on the trailer - it’s going to be the best yet, oh! And look at that funny, Johnny Depp channelling Keith Richards, it’s funny ha, ha, fuses lit, swords clashing and spellbinding cast.

But I haven’t enjoyed any of the Pirates of the Caribbean films, the first one that was mildly entertaining in the absence of any other pirate films, but mainly because it stirred feelings of nostalgia for the entertaining pirate films of my Saturday matinee youth. And apart from the occasional flash of brilliance I find that they rely on a street huckster’s trick of dazzling you with their distracting left hand of spectacle while the empty right hand of convoluted story plunders your wallet. This may sound a bit harsh and the story probably reads quite well on paper and no one is going to complain that the films doesn’t look like a billion dollars, but most of the time I’m just bored and feel like I’m getting fobbed off with another underdeveloped character in lieu of story. The stories themselves should be a catalyst for the imagination with their many rationales, inventive creatures, great devices, awesome sets, incredible locations, cast of 100s - but it just doesn’t come together.

There is just so much going on and too quickly which means that the story is given time to play out in any shape and -
the characters aren’t given time to breathe never mind develop, and they all seem to be shoehorned into being the pirate equivalent of Dirty Harry (the girls too) on a pirate ship in the Caribbean. I’m all for empowerment, liberation, equality etc. my point has got to do with characters and do they all have to have the same goal and motivation?
this devalues the adventure, as it appears that everyone is on a jolly rather than a perilous sea journey from one continent to another.
I don’t know what’s going on or even keep up with who’s doing what. Seriously if you had to ask me what happened in the previous Pirates of the Caribbean films? I could probably rattle off a few points and characters but that is about it.
Unfortunately Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides sails the same water littered with the wrecks of the above points.

Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides 3D Review
We start of with a brief interest building introduction and then catch up with Captain Jack Sparrow serving at His Majesties pleasure (in gaol) and what happens plays out quite well, and it really feels like we are heading in the right direction as Captain Jack plays all the right moves as he swash buckles across the screen. Taking on the King's army pretty soon we know that reaching the mythical Fountain of Youth is going to be the quest for Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides. Apart for an inexplicitly loud banging soundtrack all starts well.

Then Keith Richards pops ups for the most ridiculously inexplicable cameo I have ever seen and I’m including every film the Wayans Brothers have been in and directed (including Scary Movie). It’s too juvenile to be a reference for anyone who actually knows who he is and pretty much everyone is left thinking oh we don’t have time to actually work a story into this, let’s get a bona fide music legend to pop in and explain this part of the film to speed things along.

Unfortunately this only signals the bad wind that will be taken us on our journey down wind as we are introduced to Captain Jack’s double, seriously I think anyone over the age of 4 could see what was coming next. So why was it in the film? Even the introduction of the usually reliable and almost unrecognisable Stephen Graham as Scrum doesn't help as soon he's the token British Baldrick like role previously owned by McKenzie Crook.

Pretty soon we are in a 3 way race to the Fountain of Youth. There is the ship Jack is on, King George’s ship and the Spanish contingent. Each with their own reasons for wanting to get to Ponce de León's Fountain of Youth.

Look it’s not all bad I had a good couple of chuckles, and Geoffrey Rush is beacon and a pleasure to watch as he return as Barbossa, he maintains some acting dignity and gets most of the laughs. Sorry if his return is a spoiler I can’t remember what happened to him last. But he’s all over the marketing for the film so I presume not. Even the indomitable Al Swearengen Ian McShane as the black hearted, Blackbeard feels like he is held back by the role. But I’m glad to see Ian McShane finally getting some respect from Hollywood.

I can’t say Johnny Depp was a big disappointment as he pretty much is integral to the role of Captain Jack for me, but they do seem to have pared his character down and, bringing me to my biggest issue with Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides – I couldn’t work out whose story it is. Much with the previous films it seemed that the characters are all thrown together without a main protagonist and 50 antagonists. With Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides they seem to have refined this ambiguity to the point where showing the characters; grow, develop or have an emotional reaction for anything longer than 6 seconds would mean that we may actually understand them and what's going on - but this in turn would undermine the convoluted narrative and expose the story as lacking any fresh ingenuity. But hey! Maybe that’s what the kids want these days.

There are some really good bits tied into the Mermaids and the part they play in the bigger picture, Captain Jack’s shenanigans at the start of the film and the budding relationship between the Mermaid (Astrid Berges-Frisbey) and the missionary (Sam Claflin), although they seemed to have just swopped out the bland Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley roles .

I guess I have to say something about the use of 3D in the film. It was OK! I love 3D and thought that it definitely added something to the spectacle but 3D is the least of Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides problems.

As I say and if you enjoyed the previous films in the series you’ll probably enjoy this one. And as much as I Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides lacked any substance I’ll be in line to see the next one hoping that Captain Jack finally gets a story befitting of his legend.

Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides will be released on Weds 18 May, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides
Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides Poster

Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides

Rob Marshall
Writers: Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio
Stars: Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush, Ian McShane, Sam Claflin, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Stephen Graham, Keith Richards



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