(Published on Rushes Online Film Magazine)
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, directed by Rob Marshall, is the fourth installment to Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) returns for another adventure, this time to find the Fountain of Youth. But he isn’t the only one. During his first, inevitable mission of having to find a ship, Jack bumps into a woman from his past, Angelica Malon (Penélope Cruz), who is trying to find the fountain for herself. Angelica forces Jack aboard the Queen Anne’s Revenge, Captained by her father, the fearsome Blackbeard (Ian McShane) where he is forced to cooperate, finding himself on an unexpected quest. Overseas, Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) is setting off with a different plan in mind.
On Stranger Tides is a typical Pirates film, drawing on aspects of the previous films to remind us of why they were so successful. You’ve got Johnny Depp prancing around in his usual camp demeanor jumping from one lengthy sword fight to another, but even though you know what to expect from a bunch of conflicting pirates, the film isn’t repetitive at all. Of course it’s not as good as the first Pirates film – it’s hard to name any film that gets better in its sequels – but unlike most, this fourth installment wasn’t just made for the sake of it. It has a decent storyline, a couple of great new characters and a number of even more bizarre ways of escaping the many troubling situations that Jack often finds himself in.
After reading the constant negative reviews that this film received beforehand, I wasn’t overly excited to see it and sat fairly pessimistically in my seat. But after two and half hours of pirate-filled humour, I’m not sure what I had to worry about. With the addition of a sea full of naked mermaids and, this time, a very sexual love interest who Jack actually has a chance with, you can’t not like this latest installment if you like the Pirates franchise. For some, it even has the advantage of the loss of Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightley, but for me it made no effect at all. William and Elizabeth who? It’s always been about Captain Jack Sparrow anyway.