Review: Pirates of the Caribbean 4

May 21, 2011

Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl is what The Haunted Mansion wasn’t—An awesome film loosely based on an amusement park ride. And if recollection serves well, Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl didn’t end to yield a sequel. Money spoke, however, and two lackluster sequels followed. And if you stuck around to the end of the end credits of the third in the franchise, you might have believed that it was over. Nope. You may now enter Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

Johnny Depp is back as Captain Jack Sparrow with his drunk pirate voice, which Penelope Cruz has a love/hate relationship with. Geoffrey Rush returns with one leg and Ian McShane plays the magical Black Beard. Forbidden love between a missionary (Sam Claflin) and a mermaid (Astrid Berges-Frisbey) is also featured. This isn’t a movie, this is a sitcom! Funnily enough, the audience with me laughed as if it were a sitcom, and with every joke I felt as if a laugh track button was being pushed. Fortunately my aura is viral and the person sitting next to me laughed two times less than I did.

All that said, as the story goes…

Captain Jack Sparrow is either searching for or has given up on searching for the Fountain Of Youth (It isn’t made clear). Due to some unfortunate events, however, Captain Jack is forced into locating the Fountain Of Youth for the legendary Black Beard pirate who can manipulate objects with his hand, sword, or ship (Another thing not made clear) and can level a ship with its crew in a minute. All the while both Spain and England are in pursuit of the Fountain Of Youth, and of course chaos ensues. Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides also features zombie pirates that aren’t really zombies, some pretty wicked mermaids, and Keith Richards sports a very random cameo as Captain Jack’s father.

This film has no focus, which is slightly better than the negative amount of focus in Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End, but still not good. This film wants to be a dozen things it isn’t, and to try and make it so, the runtime is an excruciatingly painful 2 hours and 17 minutes. From start to finish, I wasn’t sure if Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is meant to be an action film, a drama, or a comedy starring Johnny Depp. There is very little action, the romance is forced, and the jokes are only funny to people that will laugh at anything.

Further, most of this film is nothing but dialogue between characters. And Johnny Depp was present in all but maybe one scene. The only reason it isn’t titled Johnny Depp Is A Drunk Pirate is because that would only have niche appeal. More than two hours of Johnny Depp talking in his drunk pirate voice, which we enjoyed in the first film of this franchise, put up with in the second, and endured in the third. Tim Burton even had him carry that voice over into Alice In Wonderland, and I think we’ve had enough of it. Unfortunately, some producers disagree, and Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides features more than two hours of Depp talking to other actors.

Oh dear, must I mention Penelope Cruz? I think the woman has talent, but whatever talent she has is nullified here. And she is the love interest opposite Johnny Depp who, like Depp, makes her way into almost every scene. Her acting is terrible, the dialogue she has to work with is terrible, and her character’s back story is ridiculous at best.

One thing that highly amuses me is one scene, which exists so that Sam Claflin, the bible toting mermaid loving missionary can remove his shirt. I’m not kidding, the rest of the male cast is either too old or too ugly (Johnny Depp is not issued attractive makeup) for a topless scene, so one for Claflin was worked into the script. I have to wonder if a topless male is a requirement for Summer blockbusters. So far this year it’s three for three, and I’m just waiting for boobs to become socially acceptable so us dudes can pull some enjoyment out of PG-13 films. ;-)

(Send a letter to the MPAA asking why Titanic got a free pass.)

Walking out of the movie theatre, I thought to myself that Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is worse than the worst film this year, Red Riding Hood. Dwelling on it, this one is only slightly better, but not by much. If at least thirty minutes were cut, the romance was toned town, and there were more clarity & more action, I might have thoroughly enjoyed it. Until then, wait for the extended cut on DVD + Blu Ray. (It’s gonna happen)

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