Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Directed by: Rob Marshall Cast: Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Ian McShane, Geoffrey Rush Running Time: 2 hrs 15 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: May 20, 2011
PLOT: Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) gets tangled up with an old flame (Cruz) in the search for the fountain of youth. Blackbeard (McShane), Barbossa (Rush), the Spanish and English are also in pursuit.
WHO'S IT FOR? Did you love Pirates 2 & 3? It's more of the same except for one thing ... there is even less motivation for Captain Jack.
EXPECTATIONS: I caught a couple of headlines and it seemed to be Depp saying, "Look, we know we need to make a tighter story." But then I saw the running time of more than two hours. Uh oh.
ACTORS: Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow: It will always be fun to see Depp put on the wig and drunken slur to portrait Jack, but I think I can already add the word barely. It's barely fun to watch Depp here. The story, the plot ... they have nothing to do with Jack. His motivation is almost undefined. So really, we just get glimpses of what and who he cares about. You could actually remove him and have the exact same plot. Why on earth would you do that? Score: 6
Penélope Cruz as Angelica: She's a woman scorned. From the sound of it, Jack and Angelica were lovers early in her life. Then he broke her heart. Now she's connected with the evil Blackbeard. Does she really not she how evil he is? He's really evil. I've said it three times just to prove my point. Worse than the story line is the lack of chemistry between Depp and Cruz. You never need them together. Score: 3
Geoffrey Rush as Barbossa: Three-fourths into the film, Barbossa tells the tale of how he lost his leg. That should have been a flashback or even started the movie. It also finally gave me a character to feel connected to. Rush and Depp should have been on the same team/boat the whole time. There's joy when they are with each other. Unfortunately they're barely in the same place at the same time. If only Jack hadn't escaped his clutches in the beginning. Score: 7
Ian McShane as Blackbeard: It takes awhile for McShane, his burning beard, his surly presence and booming voice to show up. When he does it's fun at first, but then they just don't give him much to do. Once again, there are powers that are under explained. Blackbeard's ship holds many tricks/spells and his sword controls it, I think. Plus, he's evil. Score: 5
Rest of Cast: God I found the entire story about mermaids boring. It simply got in the way. Trying to replace Will and Elizabeth are now Philip and Syrena. I never cared. Gibbs (Kevin McNally) is back but just expected to be a nondescript pirate. The British and Spanish shouldn't have been in this film at all. Again, it's just a waste of time. Score: 3
TALKING: It's not a pirate's life for me. Barbossa is the only one who revels in "pirate speak." The basic dialogue is about trust, yet everyone lies, and everybody knows everybody lies, so why do they even bother talking about it? This time around, the main motivation for everyone is the fountain of youth. In that regard, they do explain this film a little more than the last. Score: 4
SIGHTS: I hate you 3D. It's finally happening. I'm turning. Four times swords come out at the audience. Two times a familiar monkey comes at you. That's it. Plus, the 3D makes the dark action sequences even darker. It's totally and utterly not worth it. It actually hurts the beauty of Hawaii where most of the movie is shot. They have the look of the ships and pirates down. On that regard the film looks great. Score: 6
SOUNDS: When the mermaids show up, the film decides to slow things down and the men sing to them. It, like many things, feels like it's dragging. Hans Zimmer's musical score is once again beautiful and booming. It isn't enough to make up for what you see on screen. Score: 5
BEST SCENE: Jack and Barbossa are tied up to trees. They're talking, with Barbossa spilling the beans on how he lost the Black Pearl. Plus, they share a drink from Barbossa's leg.
ENDING: Yes, something is after the end credits. I'll choose not to rant about how pointless it is to wait. With the actual ending, Jack decides to leave Angelica and I don't feel like "why" is ever explained. I felt happiest with Barbossa's story, which means he should have had a lot more screen time.
QUESTIONS: Why? I could ask that about so many things with this film. I'll just do it with one ... why squeeze Jack Sparrow into another character's story?
REWATCHABILITY: I was shocked it was only two hours and 15 minutes. Yes, it actually feels longer. So no, no rewatching.
Let's add an "L" to boat. What do we get? Bloat! Oh wait, let's add a "ed" as well. Bloated! There we go. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is bloated. Jack Sparrow is involved in an escape that doesn't matter and a sword fight I'm not nervous about. In fact, they never gave me any reason to care about the "adventure" he was on. I thought the idea was to trim the fat (Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley) and give more to Depp. Instead they slowly keep rolling out new characters we are supposed to fear or care about. It never happened. It's like they decided the audience will be so charmed by Jack Sparrow, sorry CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow, that they're willing to put up with nonsense, long-winded blather, and worst of all, pointless adventure.
Captain Jack Sparrow was dragged into this plot, and you'll feel dragged down by this movie.
FINAL SCORE: 4/10