Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Directed by: Rob Marshall
Written by: Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio
Starring: Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane, Geoffrey Rush
The third film never exactly left the franchise concluded and satisfied. With a small cliffhanger, another billion in the bank and a chance to make swords swing out at audiences in 3D, Disney brings back the beloved peculiar swashbuckling pirate saga with Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
Whether there is an audience demand or a creative reason to refuel the franchise or not is not a concern to the studio that is likely to pocket another billion for the fourth installment after worldwide box office gets boosted by 3D. Taking the title from a the 1988 Tim Powers’ novel which shares plot elements with the film, Disney plucks Rob Marshall to take over the Gore Verbinski directed franchise. After coming off of last year’s overhyped flop Nine, Marshall uses his expertise in stylization and glamour seen in Chicagoand Memoirs of Geisha to add a splash to the series.
The trailer, however, gives little evidence of him accomplishing this. What is apparent of his success are the grandeur scenic views that made the franchise so escaping. Rocky cliffs in the Caribbean, waters of the Atlantic and even the gloomy streets of London look ever so vivid and real. Perhaps too real, a failure on a part to filmmakers. The beauty of the art direction in the first and second films was that they scenes were so elegant and mystical that they still seemed, well… mystical. On Stranger Tides does a poor job convincing these aren’t our favorite actors dressed in costumes, walking around movie sets, playing with big budget gadgets or playing pirate games from something they saw on Curse of the Black Pearl.
The loss of that ability really ruins the rest. The plot might look unclear or muddled and messy from little is given from the trailer, but hasn’t the franchise always been that way?
What information can be taken away looks somewhat interesting. On a quest for the Fountain of Youth, Jack Sparrow and company encounter zombies, mermaids, new villains, old villains and a trip to London. Adventurous and timely indeed.
Of course all these adventures go on without the Elizabeth Swan and Will Turner’s three film, sea-sickening love story arc that managed to go nowhere after the first film. Reasons for their absence of corset -Queen Keira Knightly and lady-locks Orlando Bloom are a part of a mutual decision between the actors who want to explore other career options and the studio who doesn’t want to meet their unnecessary asking price. But no worries, taking their place are the firey Penelope Cruz as a con artist equal to Sparrow and Deadwood’s potty mouth Ian McShane playing legendary Blackbeard who may be a bit more talented anyway.
After watching the trailer to On Stranger Tides, it is even more apparent that the movie was made for money. Many will still see the film, out of love the for the original and the charm of our Captain, who hopefully won’t have let Disney’s marketing machine succeed in jumping ship and ensuring that this franchise is forever sunken at the bottom of Disney Jones Locker.
Highs: For being a scaled down, budget reduced film, the still $200 million budget looks just as grand and epic as ever. We never needed a kraken anyway. Others include Depp’s always hilarious turn as Sparrow and hopefully Cruz’s bilingual rage and chemistry with Sparrow.
Lows: Though enough cannot be said about how grand and adventurous the Hans Zimmer score is in Curse of the Black Pearl orDead Man’s Chest, by the third and now fourth film it has definitely lost the once-loved-luster and Jack Sparrow spirit due to overplay.