May 21, 2011

REVIEW: On Stranger Tides

On Stranger Tides brings back the colorful Jack Sparrow and pirate lore with the fourth installment. The film follows where At World's End alluded to with the search for the fountain of youth. Now with the British/Spanish navy along with Blackbeard on the hunt for the fountain the adventure continues. While we see familiar supporting characters with Gibbs and Barbarossa returning. So does this sequel live up to the original film or is just another lifeless entry?

As many problems as Dead Man's Chest and At World's End had On Stranger Tides has it's own. Some of them are glaring like the terrible miscasting of a very pregnant Penelope Cruz in the role of Angelica. Odd casting since her pregnancy seemed to have hindered her involvement in the action scenes. She also doesn't do a convincing job of playing along with the fun world this franchise is set as she's not able to carry off comedic lines. I would have found someone like Gemma Arterton who was rumored for the role a better fit. An other problem I had was a lot of rehashing from the Curse of The Black Pearl. A bunch of swashbuckling scenes seem to have been retooled from the first film with slight changes. Not to mention the tear/fountain combination was too similar to the blood/gold elements in Curse. Also the undead crew members seemed to be another cue from the original. With a film that had zero sea battles it would have been nice to see the Barbarossa/Blackbeard backstory.

That being said there were a few things I did like about the film. Mainly it was the mermaids that won me over. To be more specific Gemma Ward (blond mermaid) singing "My Jolly Sailor Bold" who pretty much had the best scene in the film. Yet I did enjoy all the scenes with them attacking sailors and pirates. The Queen Anne's Revenge was a nice change from the usual Black Pearl setting and it's design was interesting enough. Even if they were some what distracting and campy I loved the scenes of Sparrow trotting around London. On Stranger Tides misses the mark of the original but it is a fun adventure that seemed not as reliant on CGI which made for a better experience.

Of course Disney is moving forward with Pirates 5 with the box office already doing very well so far with this one. I really hope the studio chooses their script a little better and they replace Rob Marshall who seemed not able to keep pace with the other films. As some of the scenes dragged on and could have been cut down. I'd also like to see a true Jack Sparrow solo adventure that doesn't have Barbarossa for at least one film. Along with some original villains that aren't apart of lore or legend.


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