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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Darkmatters Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (12)

Director: Rob Marshall

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“I hear a rumour... Jack Sparrow is in London, hellbent to find the Fountain of Youth.”

That’s ‘Captain’ Jack Sparrow (or Johnny Depp) to you and the loveable rascal pirate lord is back for more high nefarious adventures. On Stranger Tides is the fourth of the series and sees Jack battling his way through many challenges including zombified enemies, beautiful but deadly mermaids and new master baddie ‘Blackbeard’ (Ian McShane).

Despite having a new director in Rob ‘Chicago’ Marshall, it’s basically swashbuckling business as usual – just not a quite as good as the last one… Some will certainly lament that the filmmakers have jettisoned several of the main characters from the first films of this big bucks series. Gone without a trace are Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) and Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), but along with Jack there are a couple of other returners such as Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and Gibbs (Kevin McNally).

New faces brought in include the feisty daughter of Blackbeard ‘Angelica’ (Penélope Cruz), sexy mermaid ‘Syrena’ (Astrid Berges-Frisbey) and devout man of God ‘Philip’ (Sam Claflin) but they don’t add a great deal to the overall excitement levels.

The fourth of Pirates of the Caribbean series aims to bring back the fun romp feel of the original ‘Curse of the Black Pearl’ but it is very hit and miss. Filmed in entirely unnecessary 3D, the 18th-century setting of On Stranger Tides feels creaky as the plot lumbers from one set piece to another with little thought as to how it all fits together. The Fountain of Youth element is mildly diverting and the special effects are still top notch but somehow the ‘magic’ has been lost at sea along the way.

I have enjoyed the Pirates films and spending cinematic time with Captain Jack is always worthwhile – but where Fast and Furious managed to bring something cool and new to the party with Fast 5, ‘One Stranger Tides’ seems to be desperately scratching around to try and extend the series. Perhaps it’s time to bid a permanent farewell to the Caribbean pirates before they burn through the good will of fans (although if this makes big money at box office they’ll almost certainly be some sort part 5 made).

Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(3 - stranger but not better tides)...

Awesomeness ööö – Jack is great, the others? Not so much

Laughs öö – Not amusing enough
Horror öö – Nothing too grim

Babes öö – Cruz is no Knightley

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö – Pirates will do anything for money

"rent a babe Cruz?"

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