Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Captain Jack Sparrow has become one of the most famous characters since PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL sailed into theaters (pun intended) in 2003. Audiences fell in love with Sparrow and Johnny Depp so much that Disney had to go on and make several more films based on this premise. Sadly, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES relied too much on Captain Jack Sparrow and although Johnny Depp gave it his all, even he could not make it worthwhile.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES (which from here on out will be referred to as POTC4) follows our favorite rum drinking and swashbuckling hero as he embarks on a journey to find the elusive fountain of youth. However he’s not the only one looking for this treasure as he has to contend with Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), Blackbeard (Ian McShane) and his daughter Angelica,(Penelope Cruz) as well as a group of Spaniards which were quite unnecessary.
To get myself prepared for POTC4 I revisited the first films in the franchise to reacquaint myself with the characters and tone of the films. As a general rule one should never try to compare one movie with another because each film should be able to stand on its own accord. However, if a film is part of a franchise that has been established, it’s nice if the action, tone and characters stay pretty much the same but with slight variations. Sadly, only about half of those traits were present in this particular installment. Sure there was Sparrow, Barbossa and Gibbs (he’s that crusty looking first mate to Sparrow) but aside from those three, all the characters were new and not terribly interesting.
Let’s start with the strange relationship between Angelica and Sparrow. The writers and director were obviously trying to make these two out to be former lovers but it was tough to believe since they didn’t have any real chemistry. All of their encounters seemed forced and at times uncomfortable so it was difficult to have any real attachment to Angelica at all. Then there’s the character of Blackbeard. In the film the pirates talk about his supernatural powers and ability to raise the dead and make zombies but this was never furthered and left the audience wanting more. And by the way, if that is what Disney has in mind for a zombie then I’m extremely disappointed. A Disney zombie is apparently a big guy with a bunch of scars and tattoos on his faces with white contacts. In an age where zombie stories are so common and popular, they needed to do a better job. Then there’s the unnecessary “love story” between the clergyman and mermaid, that would have been fifteen minutes of the film we could have lived without. Finally, we have Barbossa which is a character that has run its course and if he is in the next two films his part needs to be cut down dramatically.
To sum up, POTC4 was extremely underwhelming and I was disappointed, no wait, I was just plain bored. The world may hate me for saying this but here goes- Captain Jack Sparrow is a great character, but even this great character can’t make a film with so many problems even bearable to watch.