21 May 2011

[Movie Review] Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides


Pirates of the Caribbean has never been your run of the mill Hollywood movie. Its weird, witty, quirky and disgusting all at the same time. But if you've seen it, you'll agree that its one hell of a joy ride. So how does the fourth installment fare?

The setting of the film is mouth watering. You have three parties, the irreplaceable Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) combined with his ex-flame Angelica (Cruz) and the deadliest pirate on earth, the Black Beard, the English led by Captain Barbosa and their colonial rivals the Spanish - all sailing high waters to reach and claim the mysterious Fountain of the Youth. For all that could have been done with this exciting premise, its almost disappointing to see what they've ended up with.

The film lacks the basics of the pirates franchise - the pirate ships and the sea fights are missing, so are the typically convoluted plot lines. It almost feels like the story writers dumbed down the movie to get a PG13 certificate. The legend of the Fountain of Youth is as simple as finding two chalices, a mermaids tear and drinking the potion filled with the tear. The Spanish, who are given a huge buildup throughout the movie, reach the fountain not to capture it in a topsy-turvy battle royale in the middle of a sea storm, but to simply destroy it in the name of god and justness! The Black Beard and his zombie crew are no match for the menacing Davy Jones and the Flying Dutchman.

The only time the film picks up is during the entire fight sequence with the mermaids (who are now man-eaters by the way). The entire thing is dark and spooky and finally makes you say now we're talking. The stunning little mermaid, Syrena (watch out for this girl) provides much needed respite from the confusing love-hate romance between Sparrow and Angelica. The other high point comes when the pack finally finds the fountain of the youth in a land of reverse gravity as Jack gazes at the drop of water climbing up his hand.

Depp as Sparrow is brilliant as always and provides all the laughs with his quirky ways and mannerisms. He remains at the top of his game throughout, though largely restricted by the uninventive and prolonged fight sequences and a disjointed plot.

The 3D bit is a complete sham, not once do you feel wowed by the extra dimension during the course of the movie. Most of the film is shot at night, so the 3D makes it even more darker.

Not for one Captain Jack Sparrow, this one falls on its face. I won't bet my money on the chances of seeing another installment of this glorious franchise. Unless of course, they find the Fountain of the Youth.

2/5

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