‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ DVD Review
Director: Rob Marshall
Starring: Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane, Geoffrey Rush
Plot: The misadventures of Capt. Jack Sparrow continue as he is recruited by Blackbeard to seek the Fountain of Youth.
Review: Pointless. An entire movie summed up in one word. The original Pirates… film defied expectations upon release and cemented it’s characters as pop-culture icons in the same way that The Matrix had done years earlier. Like The Matrix it also hurried into production over-the-top back to back sequels that diluted the perception of the original. Turning up at this stage with a new movie with a new director and cast couldn’t be more pointless unless they filled the movie with pointless scenes of pointless characters doing pointless things. Which, conversely, is what they do.
Johnny Depp is still entertaining as Jack Sparrow though one gets the sense he was left to his own devices this time around. Large chunks of script must’ve read ‘act like Jack Sparrow’ while the director goes and gets a coffee. Most of the actors seem to be lost – their characters are already without any personality and distinctive characteristics as it is and none of them seem sure of how they should be behaving at a given time. Half the cast don’t seem to serve any purpose whatsoever, especially the young priest who, after two and a half hours, I still don’t know his name even though he has almost as much screen time as the leads. Geoffrey Rush looks downright bored throughout the proceedings, even when involved in a sword fight.
Whilst there is the few and far between set pieces that work, such as the mermaid attack, the movie is littered with leaps in logic that make it difficult to let suspension of disbelief settle in. It doesn’t make sense that Blackbeard needs to recruit a crew if his boat can do everything itself, it doesn’t make sense for the mermaids to lure people into the water when they can lasso them off the beach, how can Sparrow anticipate where everyone is going to run during his escape from King George…the list goes on. The viewer is constantly sitting through tedious scenarios that serve no purpose, such as Blackbeard going to a whole routine of getting six guns to play a complicated Russian Roulette with in order to convince Sparrow to jump of a cliff when a well placed boot would suffice.
Finally, whilst the previous films featured some decent and imaginative camera work, Marshall seems to have settled with pointing a tripod at the characters and nipping out for an early lunch. The same flat, uninspired wide shot is used again and again no matter what is happening on screen. It feels as though everyone saw how pointless the movie was and just gave up trying.
THREE outta TEN