Today: February 22, 2024

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

The Pirates of the Caribbean series has, at times, been difficult to get through. The first film was a fun ride with twists, turns and zombie pirates with the second and third bringing convoluted plots, poor characterization and stunning visual effects.

The Pirates of the Caribbean series has, at times, been
difficult to get through. The
first film was a fun ride with twists, turns and zombie pirates with the second
and third bringing convoluted plots, poor characterization and stunning visual
effects.
Now we arrive at the
fourth instalment with a new director, Rob
Marshall
, Johnny Depp playing
the lead rather than the wacky support and a potential love interest for
Captain Jack Sparrow in the form of Penelope
Cruz
.

On Stranger Tides sees Captain Jack go on an expedition to
find the fountain of youth with ex-girlfriend Angelica (Cruz) and her infamous
pirate father, Blackbeard (Ian McShane). It has been foretold that Blackbeard
will meet his death at the hands of a one-legged man, a description that Jack’s
old enemy Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush)
now fits.

The journey to the fountain of youth entails a search for
items required to make use of the power of the magical waters: two silver
chalices from a famous pirate and the tear of a mermaid. After an impressive siege of a known
mermaid hangout, Blackbeard captures mermaid Syrena (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey) who develops a connection with young cleric
aboard the ship, Philip (Sam Claflin).

Sounds exciting doesn’t it? Mermaids, Blackbeard and the fountain of youth! I hate to break it to you but this is
by far the most tedious, the most meandering film of the series and the trouble
begins with the script. Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio still haven’t been able to avoid the problems which
also plagued the previous films, namely zero character development, tedious
romances and too many double crosses to bear. Captain Jack simply isn’t equipped to take on the leading
man’s role – he’s an unreliable scoundrel yet he’s the one taking us through
this movie and even Johnny Depp can’t pull it off. Phillip, whose name you don’t learn until the last twenty
minutes, is a wet blanket with no personality and his mermaid love interest,
even less so. Blackbeard is
apparently the only one who showed up when the writer’s were handing out
interesting character traits.

On the other hand, there are some interesting scenes in the
film but unfortunately they’re spectacle pieces involving heavy CGI. The attack on the mermaids is tense and
exciting with a fresh look at mermaids and the fact that they can shoot seaweed
from their arms. In place of the
Black Pearl we’re now aboard the Queen Anne’s Revenge, Blackbeard’s infamous
ship which has a few tricks up its rigging, including flamethrowers and a
sentience which only the Captain can control.

In terms of the 3D, by this time I’m sure you will have made
up your mind about how you feel about this technology in the cinema but the
Blu-Ray 3D is quite a different experience. The picture quality is spectacular with perfect clarity,
letting the 3D really shine. The
home viewing environment is a far more intoxicating experience than what you
get at the local multiplex but this of course relies on whether or not you have
the best quality 3D player available.
If you’re a hardcore Pirates fan, a plain old Blu-Ray will suffice but no
matter how high the quality of the image is, it won’t make this poorly written instalment
any better.

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