Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides has finally been released, and although it’s not the first summer blockbuster movie to be released I’d argue that it’s the first big family franchise to hit cinemas in 2011!
First off I’m going to say that “controversially” Dead Man’s Chest is my favourite of the previous Pirates films, not because I think it’s a better film than the original, but I just enjoyed it a lot more due to the over-abundance of creativity, fun and use of special effects in it. The third was ok, but never lived up to its potential based on all the story points that had been set-up in the second one and for a film that was almost 3 hours long it didn’t feel like a lot that happened really mattered.
So has number 4 got back on course?
The marketing has focused heavily on Depp’s Jack Sparrow (not unexpected as he has always been the series strongest asset), the adventure aspect of the film and gave the vibe of more of the same. And it really is more of the same, just with a few less characters and a few less special effects (more about that later).
As the trailers alluded to, the film is focused primarily on Jack and this is kind of a weakness... I find Captain Sparrow worked best when he was interacting or re-acting to other characters who were playing it straight (namely the absent Mr Bloom and Miss Knightley) and with them missing in Part 4 he doesn’t quite have the same charm (either that or the act just isn’t that funny anymore). I probably only laughed out loud once during the whole film and this involved an accident with some extras when they first enter the caves to find the Fountain of Youth.
As Captain Jack is the main protagonist we see the film mainly from his perspective and herein lies another problem, he’s not particularly that bothered about finding the Fountain of Youth so how can we as an audience be expected to really get into the story either.
Jack’s just going along for the ride and therefore so are we, characters talk a lot then there’s an action sequence, they talk again and repeat. The film isn’t terrible but it’s definitely feels like they’re just going through the motions.
One thing that did surprise me however was the lack of CGI (considering how much was used in Parts 2 & 3). There is very little use of “obvious” CGI (by that I mean no Davy Jones, Giant Krakens, Maelstorms, etc) and this is a shame, as the one sequence which uses a lot of CG is the highlight of the film. This is the mermaid scene and is really when the film comes alive, unfortunately there is nothing else in the film that reaches the same heights.
So to sum it up...
It's okay, not bad, but not particularly spectacular or memorable either. It doesn't make a joke of or piss all over it's prequels (like the fourth Indy or Star Wars did) but it doesn't add anything new or exciting to justify it's need to be made in the first place (outside of making some money for Disney).
Movie Review – 7/10
Marketing Review – 7/10
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