Sunday, May 22, 2011

Pirates Of The Caribbean 4 - On Stranger Tides

One would be forgiven for not even wanting to see the forth installment in any franchise. 'Shrek 4' anyone? One evening last winter I watched the first three parts of this pirate series and found myself marvelously entertained. I had high hopes for "On Stranger Tides" and was happy to see that I was right.

There is no better pirate Captain than Jack Sparrow. His effete Kieth 'Richardisms' never grows tired on me and I wait for that moment in each picture when instead of doing the selfish thing, he does the right thing and we see him have his cake while eating it too.

I was glad that Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightley were left out of the story this time. I find him to be too handsome and honest for his own good and she is just annoying. Like Wendy in 'Peter Pan' she is just around to spoil the fun. She was just one more female that needed rescuing and since her performances are on the edge of working my last nerve, I would rather not see her rescued if it can at all be avoided.

So this story begins with Captain Jack in London where, to his surprise, he has heard a rumor that he is in London to get a ship and take on a crew. They will be searching for the legendary 'Fountain of Youth'. Explorer Ponce de Leon went mad searching for those youth giving waters. He never found them and if anything like miracle healing waters ever existed, they have been lost to time.

Late one night, Jack does meet the pirate who has been impersonating him. She is played by Penelope Cruise who I admit I can watch do this pirate cosplay all day long. She is the perfect centerpiece for the warm tropical colors.

It wouldn't be so bad to have her around if the price of her admission didn't come with her father, the legendary ladykiller, Blackbeard. Ian McShane is one of those actors who I like in anything and he does a fair bit of scene chewing here.

Add Geoffrey Rush returning as the villainous Captain Barbossa and we have all the elements we need for a pirate adventure - which is, can we agree, a glorious thing to have in the summer? No one does 'pirate talk' quite like Rush does. The story he tells about the loss of the Black Pearl and why he's really on this expedition is supporting character acting of the highest calibre.

One of the best parts of the movie occur while the pirates hunt for a mermaid's tear. The creature are the embodiment of the danger inherent in beauty but I found myself falling in love with the young mermaid despite all the warnings the movie gave me not too.

This version of the 'Pirates' story seem lighter and more fun. Jack doesn't so much run from danger but dances around it. Four times he has played this character and I get the impression that Jack Sparrow is who Johnny Depp wishes he could be deep down. Sure the actor has the power to do anything in this world but he will never be a free as Jack Sparrow. Jack may often get captured but he never is 'caged'.

I was happy to see the last ten minutes devoted to setting up any possible sequels that might come down the pipe. However, if this really is the end of the Adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow, I can say I got up from the table fully satisfied.



Kelly Sedinger said...

Thank God, a positive review...I haven't seen it yet, but I've read a lot of negative reviews, and what gets me is how every one of those reviews, without exception, starts off with some variant of "I liked the first one even though it was too long but the next two were crap on toast so I'm sick of pirates anyway." I'm thinking, if you've got that much of a chip on your shoulder about the whole thing, why bother seeing it?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Saw it Friday. Not the best of the four, but a vast improvement over the last two. I was glad Bloom and Knightley didn't return.

Paradox Al said...
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Jeff said...

If you can find it, read Tim Powers' original novel "On Stranger Tides." It is brilliant.

Belle said...

Thanks for the review. When I saw the trailer on TV I thought it looked like a good one. I just might drag my sorry ass to the theatre and see it.

Anonymous said...

That's the only complaint I had with the movie, Jeff. I wished it followed the novel a little better. But it was still a fun film. I enjoyed it.

Cruella Collett said...

Why did I have a feeling you'd like the mermaid...? I actually did too - I'd like to be one, a kick-ass mermaid, how awesome is that!?!!! I've never felt any particular attachment to these half-human creatures, but POTC4 certainly made me change my mind about that.

And Jack = awesome as ever.

Tempo said...

Im looking forward to seeing this one...but living in OZ it will probably be months before we get the chance