Yo Ho Ho and a mighty jug of Depp. Commanding every scene in his 4th installment of Pirates of the Caribbean, Depp shows that he hasn’t slowed down. Although the film is lacking in some respects, On Stranger Tides entertains with comedy, action and awesome 3D. Whether you’ve seen the other three or just getting started, you are in for a pirating thrill ride.
In this episode of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), we find him being duped into looking for the Fountain of Youth by his newest sidekick and heartthrob Angelica (Penelope Cruz). It doesn’t take long for Sparrow to find trouble and when he steps on the deck of the ship of his most feared remaining nemeses Blackbeard (Ian McShane), his love life and dreams of a fortune start to turn upside down.
Pirates’ 4 like its predecessors has all the fun chase scenes that find Jack in the thick of things. With addition of Cruz as Angelica the daughter of the infamous Pirate Blackbeard and Jack’s one true love, in the heat of confrontation she challenges Sparrow’s actions at every turn. Does he face up to his arch nemeses or turn away to protect the only woman he ever loved? That’s the quandary we find in this installment. The film has a lot of twists and turns, but in the end there’s always one more following the movie credits.
As for Johnny Depp, like in all the Pirates of the Caribbean films, Jack has to find a way out of the mess he gets himself into, even if the drunken sailor hasn’t a prayer. This is where Depp shows his best bobbing around like he’s filled with rum and avoiding disaster at every turn. He’s the jester of the comedy team, a Dudley Moore, Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel all rolled into one.
But that said, has there been too much of Jack Sparrow? Has the character run its course? He’s fought against ghostly skeletons (The Curse of the Black Pearl), ends up in Davy Jones’s locker (Dead Man’s Chest), sails into battle at the edge of the earth (At World’s End), and in this episode Jack’s headed for a chance at immortality. Anyway, I think Jack’s about to hang up his tattered Pirate Hat for good and grab a case of Pyrat Rum. Let’s hope however, that we won’t have to suffer through any spin offs that would never be the same without Depp.
Rob Marshall does an adequate job of directing this installment bringing a lot of excitement to the screen. Although he didn’t have the full talent pool that included the likes of Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly he still makes good use of the returning Geoffrey Rush (as Barbossa), Kevin McNally (as Gibbs) and even Keith Richards (as Jack’s father). Throwing in some new faces like Ian McShane as Blackbeard, Sam Claflin as clergyman Phillip and a modest Astrid Berges-Frisbey as Syrena a mermaid gives the film a fresh newness but still doesn’t stand up to previous consummate casts.
I liked the film very much and when the Blu-ray comes out it will join the other three in my collection.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action/adventure violence, some frightening images, sensuality and innuendo. The film was viewed in 3D for this review. Although it runs for over two hours, I never found myself nodding off or antsy.
FINAL ANALYSIS: A very good continuation of a slightly worn saga. (B)