The original Pirate of the Caribbean was an unexpected treat, who would of though a film based on a Disney ride could capture the imagination as it did. The second and third instalment diminished in fun and grew in complexity; but does the fourth recapture the swashbuckling ways?
Well if you’re a Pirates fan, then you will enjoy On Stranger Tides! It’s better than the former sequels but still can’t capture the thrill of the first. If you’re not a fan, then you can rest assured you’ve seen all this before and there’s no need to fork out the cash, let alone the extra dollars to see it in 3D.
The ever brilliant Jonny Depp reprises his role of Jack Sparrow in search of the Fountain of Youth, or is he? Well we don’t really ever find out what he’s up to but regardless he’s caught up in a race to find the fountain and capture the life it can grant.
While Depp is as good as ever there does appear to be something missing. Perhaps the fourth trip to celluloid is starting to tire me, but it felt like the character didn’t move anywhere, didn’t develop, and really didn’t do anything.
The same can be said for Geoffrey Rush returning as Captain Barbosa. He’s still as good as ever, but maybe the bland and stale plot really doesn’t give these actors much to stretch their talents.
I welcome the absence of Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightley, but I loathe the superfluous characters that have replaced them (not literally, merely new characters that may of well been them). There is a lot of stuff in this film that feels like it’s building to a fifth in the franchise, so much is left untold at the end. Perhaps that’s why Sparrow doesn’t seem to care much, his eye is on another prize and that is a story yet to be told.
Newcomers Ian McShane as Blackbeard and Penelope Cruz as his daughter Angelica hold their own, but there just as hamstring by the plot as everyone else. There are some strange and seemingly pointless scenes littered throughout this tale and it can be annoying, it’s not that short a film.
In the end there is enough action and adventure here to quench your thirst, and a few genuine moments of thrilling fun. But I can’t help but feel I’ve seen all this before and too much time is spent setting up plot points for a movie yet to come.