Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean : On Stranger Tides [2011]

Director: Rob Marshall
Cast: Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush, Ian McShane, Kevin McNally
Genre: Adventure/Fantasy
Rating: General
Comment: "It's Pirates of the Caribbean, with the novelty value worn off..."

At the dawn of the age of pirates, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) struggles to make a living without his ship or his crew. A reunion with his loyal first in command, Gibbs (Kevin McNally) reveals that Jack has something up his sleeve after all. They set on their quest to search for the fountain of youth, only to learn that the most vicious pirate of them all, Blackbeard is also after it along with his daughter, an old flame of Jack's, Angelica (Penelope Cruz).

What to Expect
1. An adventure that feels a bit dragged out
2. Gorgeous mermaids
3. Cool new characters
4. A "forced" Pirates of the Caribbean feel to it
5. An obvious set up for a sequel (or a new trilogy, perhaps?)

What NOT to Expect
1. A complete absence of a romantic subplot
2. Characterisations

I'm not going to sugar-coat anything, I think this installment to the series was a bit of a letdown. Some of the fault is probably mine, because I went in with some expectations of my own. But the fault couldn't have been mine entirely because this movie, while very entertaining and not at all bad, it feels a lot like Disney's just milking out the franchise while Johnny Depp is still in show business.

Frankly, we could never get tired of Johnny Depp. I'm just unsure if the same can be said of Pirates...
Proof of this - well, I couldn't really "prove" anything. Just my two cents - is the noticeable "forced" Pirates of the Caribbean feel to the movie. Sure, there's no more effete Will Turner and bitchy Elizabeth Swan, but they were replaced with another budding couple who we couldn't care less about even more; a God-fearing young man and a mermaid. The only saving grace here was the fact that the mermaid is super-adorable.

Sans shell-bikini...
The romantic subplot was just one example. Simply put, the whole movie felt like the first movie was rewritten, with a different time frame, and the characters having a different motivation this time. The reason the formula didn't work as well this time around is because the novelty value had worn off by now.

However, that is not to say I hated the movie. I enjoyed it, I did. Despite the unbelievably shallow character developments, the movie did feature a bunch of new, cool characters. Jack Sparrow is still as lovable as ever, and I had a great time watching good ol' Jack interact with all these new characters in his creepy-but-strangely-charming way of doing things.

Should you go see it?
Well, considering that there isn't much else going on in cinemas as of this moment, I'd say why not. The movie had many setbacks like introducing many characters with little or no development. The movie also had an odd balancing issue, like it wanted to be taken seriously but comedic at the same time. As a result, it still makes for a good escapism, though you're not missing out on much should you miss its screening.

Disney seemed to have made this movie with the mindset that they are going for a new trilogy, hence why the movie explored several new things, but fell short on most of them.

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