Friday, May 20, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - 2 stars

I am officially tired of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Well, I was tired of it three years ago, when the 3rd movie came out. But now it has overstayed its welcome.

The first Pirates movie was a lot of fun. It was a bit too long, but Johnny Depp created a really fun character in Jack Sparrow. Even the black hole of acting that is Orlando Bloom couldn't ruin that movie.

The first movie was such a hit that they decided rather than make a sequel, they would make two more. They would film them back to back and make a trilogy out of it. The first movie was already epic, so Disney figured they could have their own Lord of the Rings type of franchise.

This movie is what we should have got instead of parts 2 and 3. A self contained story that doesn't require you to know much (or remember much) from the previous movies. You could probably go into this movie cold without having seen any of the previous Pirates movies and you would be ok.

The problem is the movie is a bore. It starts with Jack Sparrow on trial. He of course escapes, then is captured again and brought before King George. There is some talk about the fountain of youth, and Jack seems to know the location. Then he escapes again, meets up with a previous lover (Penelope Cruz), gets kidnapped and ends up on Blackbeard's ship. Blackbeard is played by Ian McShane, but unfortunately he is given nothing to do. Blackbeard is also after the fountain of youth.

Another storyline involves Barbosa (Geoffrey Rush). Barbosa lost his leg because of Blackbeard, so he wants revenge. He knows Blackbeard is headed for the fountain of youth, so he wants to go there to kill Blackbeard.

The movie is one set piece after another. Fight scene, exposition, move to another location, fight scene, and repeat. There aren't any characters to care about. As much fun as Jack Sparrow is, he doesn't really work as a main character because we never believe he is in any danger. His motivations also don't make much sense. At first, all he wants is to stay out of jail. Then he wants to keep Penelope Cruz's character safe. Does he want the fountain of youth or not? We get the impression that he is just kind of along for the ride.

Barbosa is the most interesting character in the movie. If he were the main character, it would have been more enjoyable. Unless you are a hard core fan of this franchise, I don't recommend this installment.

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