Directed by Rob Marshall. Starring Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush.
Eagerly awaited for Depp and Cruz and some crazier pirate antics, On Stranger Tides sinks below expectations on many levels. The IMAX 3-D is such a dismal let down, the story is so long and pedantic, the action scenes only buoyed by a wonderful score and the chemistry between the protagonists as insipid as the film. It’ll still do well at the BO though.
You know how when you go for a Pirates movie you expect lots of entertainment? Well apart from some witty one-liners delivered with alacrity by Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp), you won’t find much in this instalment of Disney’s only movie money spinner right now.
This time the much-reduced cast (no Keira Knightley or Orlando Bloom) have to go off in search of the Fountain of Youth. They all have their reasons and some don’t have anything to do with eternal youth. And of course there’s some convoluted formula for drinking the water — you need the tear from a mermaid’s eye, two silver chalices and a willing sacrifice. I think I need the water since I grew old just watching them try to procure these elements.
Actions and stunts fall flat if you remove the thumping and infamous background score by Hans Zimmer. There’s none of the antics and cartwheels of the previous films. It’s almost like watching a B-movie. New director to the franchise Rob Marshall brings no magic or mystery to the set-pieces, some of which look like they’re part of a theatrical production (note the fountain scene at the end). The plot is so thick and riddled with side angles like Captain Barbossa’s (Rush) revenge on Captain Blackbeard (Ian McShane) and a very silly love story between a priest (Sam Claflin) and a mermaid that still has more oomph than the purported love between Captain Sparrow and Angelica (Cruz). Penelope Cruz has zero sex appeal here and mouths her lines like an eighth grader in a school play.
You’ll still have a chuckle at Depp’s dialogue but even he seems a bit jaded with the tired old routine. The only glimmer of treasure in this film is the love/hate bond between Captain Sparrow and Barbossa. Their camaraderie at the end keeps you from falling asleep but alas, it isn’t enough.
The trailer is infinitely more creative than the film…