Sunday, May 22, 2011

Review - On Stranger Tides

Whoa. It’s the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie already? Wow.

The first Pirates of the Caribbean movie was phenomenal. The Curse of the Black Pearl propelled its three stars to superstardom. Okay, okay, Johnny Depp has always been a superstar but his performance as Captain Jack Sparrow actually earned him his first Oscar nomination and solidified his career. Orlando Bloom was already famous as Legolas from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but this movie proved he could be a swashbuckling hero without the pointy ears. Keira Knightley went on to earn an Oscar nomination for her work in Pride and Prejudice.

So yes, it was a phenomenal movie. The right amount of humor, the right amount of action, the right amount of romance.

You would think that there’s no more storylines and that they would leave the series alone right? No. At World’s End left it open-ended.

Fast forward to this year. On Stranger Tides opens. I was first turned off by it because I thought the other two Pirates of the Caribbean movies were not as good as the first one. And then I read Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom were not coming back. Not really a good sign.

Penelope Cruz was then cast as the female lead. Guess they really haven’t had a Spanish influence on Pirates of the Caribbean yet. I like Penelope Cruz. She was the single best thing about Nine. I love musicals but there was no saving that. Okay, maybe Marion Cotillard was good as well.

Anyway, I saw the trailer. But it did not really excite me still. But it is a Pirates of the Caribbean movie and it is Johnny Depp… so I went to watch it anyway.

On Stranger Tides starts with Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) attempting to rescue one of his crew. Then he hears a rumor about him recruiting people to go to the Fountain of Youth. Which peaked his interest because he was not the one recruiting. Turns out, it was Angelica (Penelope Cruz) who was recruiting in his name/disguise. Angelica wants to go to the Fountain of Youth to help her father, the infamous Black Beard, who is dying. Hot on their trails is Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), who has a score to settle with Black Beard… and the Spanish fleet, who are also seeking out the legendary fountain.

So there you have it. This movie is about the adventure to go find the Fountain of Youth. And what an adventure it is. Seriously. I thought the movie might have lost its magic and/or spark but I was wrong. It still got it. Johnny Depp did not phone in his performance and Penelope Cruz is a fine addition to the series.

However, the movie did get off to a slow start. Like the first few minutes for example. It’s classic Jack Sparrow. Has a ‘been there, done that’ vibe. But as soon as they get off sailing the high seas, then the movie starts to take on top form. I’m talking about zombies and mermaids and ghost ships.

Is this movie any better than the first three movies? It is definitely in a class of its own. In a good way. Nothing can touch the first movie though. Not even the second and third movie. But this one comes quite close to equaling the amount of thrills from the first movie. I guess the second movie suffered greatly because the ending was a set-up for the third movie and that turned off most people. Just like the second Matrix movie… felt like an unfinished movie...

But I am not saying they were bad movies… just not as good…

So I guess if there were a fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie, then I’ll go watch it and it will probably be good as well. Or they could pull a Fast & Furious and have the next movie with Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom… but Johnny Depp/Jack Sparrow is essentially the movie so not sure if it would work…


phat_lee said...

totally agree with you. i've watched On Stranger Tides and like u said, it cannot beat The Curse Of The Black Pearl...but we still can enjoy the movie rite?