Friday, August 24, 2012

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Directed by Rob Marshall.

2011. Rated PG-13, 136 minutes.

Astrid Bergès-Frisbey
Stephen Graham
Keith Richards
Richard Griffiths
Sam Claflin

Cpt. Jack Sparrow (Depp) is back for another adventure on the high seas. This time he is in search of the original fountain of youth. More accurately, he’s a reluctant guide for Blackbeard (McShane) and his daughter Angelica (Cruz) who need to find it for selfish reasons. Cpt. Barbossa (Rush) is hot on their tail. He wants to catch up with Blackbeard to settle an old score. Lots of swashbuckling, wisecracking and Cpt. Sparrow prancing about ensues.

As usual, Depp and his cast mates have a grand time hamming it up. Nearly every role is merely an excuse to mug for the camera. Our performers willingly dive over the top. The movie, even the entire franchise is better for it. Played straight this would likely be a dreadful affair. Played as it is, with a wink and a smile, allows both the viewer and the movie itself to revel in its absurdities. Like the best moments of the series: On Stranger Tides functions as much like a vaguely risqué comedy as it does an adventure film about pirates.

Wisely, this fourth installment in the “PotC” series sticks with a few easy to follow storylines. This is a welcome regression from the hyper-convoluted abyss that is At World’s End. While that movie is an incoherent jumble of parts, On Stranger Tides is a cohesive unit that moves forward at a brisk pace without leaving us behind. For some the entire franchise has lost its luster and will want nothing to do with this movie. For me, it’s a gleeful return to what we love about the PotC world. That said, I wouldn’t mind if they didn’t make any more of these. The time has come for Cpt. Sparrow to flitter away. This would be going out on a solid note.

MY SCORE: 6.5/10

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