Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Review

I'm having a difficult time finding the right words for this movie.  So I guess I'll just start by saying I liked it.  And not just because they finally removed Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightley from the equation.  But I would be lying if I said that wasn't a factor.  Overall, I thought this movie was really well done.  The acting was strong all the way through.  The effects and action were right up there with all the other movies in the franchise as well.  I especially liked the chase through the streets of London.  Depp's antics weren't quite as insane as they have been in the past but his reactions and dialogue was still enough to make me laugh; especially right at the end but I won't spoil this one for you.

Still, there is something else about this movie that just makes it feel different.  I'll chalk that up to the fact that it is the first one not directed by Gore Verbinski.  That in itself is probably enough to explain the difference in Depp's performance.  But I will admit that I don't know enough about the nuances of directing to really tell a difference.  There are only a handful of directors whose work I could discern from anyone else (eg. John Woo).  But the subtleties in the difference between Verbinski and Rob Marshall are probably just enough to make the difference.  I think the writing was also better.  This was the first in the franchise where the exposition did not confuse me.  As a result, I was able to enjoy it more.

That all being said, here's a few bullets I noticed regarding On Stranger Tides that I feel are worth mentioning:
  • I am normally not an Ian McShane fan.  I don't mind him but he's not a favourite.  However, in this film, he is gold.  He made Blackbeard a really believable and human character.  Blackbeard had some of the supernatural quality that the other villains have had but he just seemed more human evil rather than cartoon evil.
  • Penelope Cruz is much pointier in 3D than in 2D.
  • I could do without a King that makes me want to gag.  The rest of the movie came away from the caricature tone from the previous three except for that.  It just didn't fit.
  • You should not drink pop during a 2.25 hour movie.  I missed a little bit.
  • Mermaids in this one are WAY different than those portrayed in 'Splash.'
  • The Missionary character was unnecessary save for one Jack Sparrow zinger opportunity.
Taking everything into consideration, see this movie.  While it is different from the first three, it is still true to the franchise in action, scenery and general tomfoolery.  It is worth your time and money.  You don't even need to see the third one to know what's going on.  It's all explained enough.

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