Saturday, May 20, 2017

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Spoiler Free Review

Pirates of the Caribbean, 5/20/17, 4 Stars.
Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s movie for me to endure while thinking “ugh, this doesn’t need to be there,” or “get to the bleedin’ fountain of youth!” We open with the Spanish discovering a way to the fountain of youth when a fisherman fishes out some rambling guy who knows the way. We then see Joshamee Gibbs (Kevin McNally) be put on trial as Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) who poses as the judge who commutes the sentence to life in prison. Long story short, they seemingly escape, get captured, then Jack escapes on his own in a fun chase scene, ending with him in some tavern where he meets the woman posing as him to assemble a crew to get to the fountain of youth: Angelica (Penelope Cruz), a former lover of his who gets him captured by Blackbeard (Ian McShane) aboard the Queen Anne’s Revenge. What follows is Gibbs getting the pro-crown Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) to take him on the search for the fountain of youth. What follows is a bloated parody of Tim Powers’ novel “On Stranger Tides” using Pirates of the Caribbean.  (Fun fact: Disney bought the rights of the novel so they could make this) I call it bloated because it wastes our time with man-on-mermaid romance between missionary Philip Swift (Sam Claflin) and Serena the mermaid (Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey) that really didn’t need to be there, as well as maybe a few crazy chase scenes too many, but mostly the most boring romance since Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala, without the necessity of being the parents of two children who will save the galaxy. There are also a few shots that were definitely pushing the 3D this film was released in, but just feels painfully obvious in 2D. The semi-awkward humor actually feels in perfect place for this movie when you look at the series as a whole, so I’ll only penalize the bad romance for slowing down the plot and wasting our time when the only romance of any interest is between Jack and Angelica. Otherwise, the visual effects are top notch, and Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack captures the thrill of the chase scenes, the intensity of the villain, and appropriately includes some more Spanish instruments with the inclusion of Angelica and the Spaniards. Johnny Depp’s fourth outing as Captain Jack Sparrow is bogged down with a whole romance subplot between two characters who didn’t really need to be featured like that. Either take it away completely, or put the screen time towards Jack and Angelica’s relationship, that one would have been more interesting. Aside from pacing issues and excessive big action with maybe a few too many moments of dumb luck, it’s not a bad voyage to take.

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