DIR: Rob Marshall • WRI: Ted Elliott Terry Rossio• PRO: Jerry Bruckheimer • DOP: Dariusz Wolski • ED: David Brenner Michael Kahn Wyatt Smith • DES: John Myhre • Cast: Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush
Synonymous with the Pirates of the Caribbean series, the witty dynamic and outrageous Pirate extraordinare, Captain Jack Sparrow returns and sets sail sans Elizabeth and Will (about time I say!) in this apprehensively anticipated fourth movie of the series directed by Rob Marshall. Due to the somewhat customary disappointing second and third films that followed the major hit of the first Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, it could be argued why did they even bother trying again plus significant time has passed since the last attempt; surely interest in the franchise (especially given the choice of blockbuster on offer at the moment) has died. However, if any character or actor in their most infamous role can resurrect a dieing franchise it is Jack Sparrow/Johnny Depp. Depp succeeds in making Sparrow more charming and magnetic then ever.
Audiences fell in love with Jack Sparrow and Pirates in the first one and this film is them coming back and saying I disappointed you twice but this time round I am going to sweep you off your feet on a wild adventure and remind you why you fell for me in the first place! Director Rob Marshall breeds new life into Pirates of the Caribbean taking Gore Verbinskis place, reminding us why we find Pirates so exciting and alluring.
It has just the right blend of action, drama, romance and stunning visuals. Bubbling with larger then life characters, this is pure swashbuckling escapism, sure to satisfy both children and adult alike!
Cruz’s Angelica is intoxicating climbing on board as the one that got away to Depp’s Sparrow with whom she has fiery chemistry. In a milieu, brimming with all shades of manhood (besides the odd mermaid) Angelica provides a female match for Sparrow, showcasing the ferocity of a woman’s sexuality and heart.
The centre piece of the film, is the mysterious fountain of youth that both the now one-legged Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and the menacing Blackbeard (Ian McShane), along with Sparrow, Angelica and co. embark upon a quest to find. This fountain if drunk from is said to grant eternal youth which is something we would all yearn for and seek if thought tangible. Geoffrey Rush is totally on form reprising his role as Barbossa now an officer to the King, totally commanding and charismatic and is granted numerous witty dialogue which he delivers with the class you expect of Rush. Ian McShane is a pleasant ice cool addition to the cast as the notorious ‘I’m a bad man’, Captain Blackbeard, and has great chemistry with Depp and Rush. There is something so endearing about the way McShane plays him. Newcomer Sam Claflin is engaging as the young handsome clergyman, Philip – quite distinct surrounded by tarnished Pirates, who makes falling for a mermaid plausible. Kevin McNally returns as the loveable aged rogue Gibbs, feeding some of Sparrows and Barbossa’s best lines. There are a few other familiar faces thrown into the mix…
The film is visually beautiful and exhilarating without going over the top with special effects (a mistake the second and third films made) and the back and forth between characters is so witty and high-quality yet feels spontaneous. It is overall a tremendous effort and comeback and previous Pirates fans should be extremely satisfied. A synthesis of gripping action aboard ship and on land, dreamy and sensual sequences, laugh-out-loud funny encounters and finally an ending that could leave one a bit emotional at the prospect of saying ‘adieu’ to an iconic character and to such a feast for the imagination that the Pirates of the Caribbean series has been. This is seriously not to be missed and especially in the cinema to truly delight in this epic adventure tale … Savvy?
Rated 12A (see IFCO website for details)
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is released on 20th May 2011