Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: Recently, famous film critic Mark Kermode twittered that he was going to see this fourth installment of Pirates of the Caribbean and indicated he was going to keep an open mind.
Having heard his previous rants about the franchise, I commented that Jack Sparrow and his mates had no chance of changing his mind. I have to say I am now a fully fledged crew member of Kermode’s boat.
On Stranger Tides is a pitiful attempt to eek yet more cash out of a long faded idea. For reason best known to the ticket-buying public it will no doubt make pots of money again. I wonder if that’s because, like me, they believe that, at some point, Pirates will return to the huge fun and excitement of the original. Unfortunately, the feelgood factor of that movie has vastly overshadowed by the mess of the last two. The worst thing I can say about On Stranger Tides is that it is dull.
I watched it late morning but was fighting to stay awake. Its plot is virtually incomprehensible and some of the world’s best actors (Johnny Depp is my favourite alive today) are reduced to performing like they are hamming it up for a pantomime aimed at six-year-olds. Richard Griffiths‘ King George particularly reminded me of something the Chuckle Brothers could have come up with. Also, the movie is so misty and dark that a lot of the time, particularly in the early stages it is quite difficult to work out what is going on.
The plot, for what its worth, surrounds a race to find the fountain of youth. Involved are Captain Jack (Depp), Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), Blackbeard (Ian McShane), some Spaniards and Penelope Cruz.
I was never really certain of why the race even existed because we learn, very early on, that Jack has a map – so why hadn’t he just gone on his own? Anyway, the water of the fountain has to be mixed with a mermaid’s tear. These mermaids, however, are more vampire than Darryl Hannah.
To be honest, the opening few minutes made me realise I was never going to like On Stranger Tides. Jack Sparrow escapes, as usual, from the shackles of authority with what would have seemed the most intrepid of manoeuvres had we not witnessed them a dozen times before. Even the familiar Pirates’ brass soundtrack seems to have lost its umph. Familiarity does, indeed, breed contempt.
Of course, this is not a movie that can be called one of the worst of the year. There are a couple of good points – Stephen Graham‘s star continues to rise with his role as a cheeky shipmate and the battle with the mermaids is good big screen knockabout. But it surely cannot be rated better than 4.5/10 and for a movie of this scale and cast of this calibre that is bordering on a crime.
Oh, and don’t get me on the 3D again – it is utterly pointless. If you have to watch it, go for 2D, you’ll miss nothing.
Check out: everyfilmin2011.blogspot.com
Running time: 137 minutes
Released: May 18th 2011
Director: Rob Marshall
Producer: Jerry Bruckheimer
Screenplay: Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio
Music: Hans Zimmer
Jack Sparrow: Johnny Depp
Angelica Malon: Penélope Cruz
Barbossa: Geoffrey Rush
Blackbeard: Ian McShane
Gibbs: Kevin McNally
Philip: Sam Claflin
Syrena: Astrid Berges-Frisbey
Scrum: Stephen Graham
Captain Teague: Keith Richards
King George: Richard Griffiths
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.