Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Friday, May 20, 2011

Seeing as Pirates of the Caribbean was ranked high on my most anticipated movies of 2011, I went to the cinema with high expectations.

I remember loving the first one, liking the second and frowning at the third of the POTC series. One of the main reasons for that was the Elizabeth/Will storyline. It got old fast and when it did, boredom was all there was left. So when Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom walked the plank, I couldn't be happier. Especially when another actress was added to the cast in the form of Penelope Cruz. She may have been added merely for the "babe-factor", but I liked the idea very much.

The fourth of the POTC series evolves around the search for 'the Fountain of Youth', which obvious function is the gift of more life. Captain Jack Sparrow is back as his funny, silly self and got quite a few laughs out of me and the rest of the audience (no surprises there). Somehow he ends up a prisoner on 'The Queen's Revenge' with new villain Blackbeard (Ian McShane) as well as "old friend", Angelica (Cruz). Basically, the begin, middle and end of the film is the journey to the Fountain, but not only Jack and co. want to get there; the Spanish, British navies and good ol' Captain Barbossa are in the race too. What's next is a fun ride filled with mermaids, good action scenes and mixed encounters between Jack and Angelica.

Visually, the film couldn't be better. The setting starts out in beautiful London, and gets even better along the coast of Hawaii. The 3D effect was, once agin, highly unneccesary, but I hadn't been expecting anything else. If there's one thing POTC masters at, it's the well-choreographed action scenes. Whether it was between two pirates, a pirate and a mermaid or between Blackbeard and a one-legged Barbossa; the action never failed.

In the beginning I felt the movie slip to the wrong side. The overdone comedic moments of Barbossa and the lenghty escape plans on Jack's part were just about to tire me when the actual story started. But towards the end, it again started to lean a little. The oversimplified elements were achy at times. Though I didn't adore the third POTC, it had a nice plot with some issues that required half a brain. I felt as if this one was made with less intellligence and wit. It may have to do with the fresh take on things by new (to POTC that is) director Rob Marshall.
Better character development wouldn't have hurt either. Though I see Penelope as a valuable addition to the cast, a little more complexity would've been nice. On the other hand, we do have Jack showing some feelings of love, which ultimately are more cute than smart, but still nice.
One thing I did thoroughly enjoy was the performance of Sam Clafin, a young, hunky missionary taken on board. His sub-plot with co-star Astrid Berges-Frisbey was pretty interesting to watch and I expect them to return may there be a fifth installment (just as long as they don't become Will and Elizabeth part 2).

Did the film meet my expectations? Yes and no. Though it lacks the complex matters of the previous films, it gains new elements and powers through. It contain some of the classic POTC elements; funny dialogue, good action, gorgeous setting. As well as new ones; romance for Jack (which is pretty much superior to any other).
All in all, I enjoyed the movie very much and don't regret going to the cinemas to see it. It's what we call a "guilty pleasure" and that's good enough for me!


Nebular said...

I liked it more than I thought I would, and I didn't find anything boring or dull about it. Glad you enjoyed it too. Nice review! :)

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

How refreshing to read a positive review amid the derision that's being heaped upon On Stranger Tides by serious critics and pseudo-intellectual movie bloggers alike.
It might be a while before I watch this film but if I do I'll take your advice; switch off, sit back and enjoy it for what it is!

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