102 / 365 – ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ – 137 mins
Cinema Challenge #40 / 115
Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) crosses paths with a woman from his past (Penelope Cruz), and he’s not sure if it’s love — or if she’s a ruthless con artist who’s using him to find the fabled Fountain of Youth. When she forces him aboard the Queen Anne’s Revenge, the ship of the formidable pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane), Jack finds himself on an unexpected adventure in which he doesn’t know who to fear more: Blackbeard or the woman from his past.
‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ is infinitely better than its disappointing predecessor ‘At Worlds End’ but this fourth voyage doesn’t capture that same essence of true adventure that was shining brightly in the first two outings. Plot-wise its a simpler affair this time around – everyone is racing for the fabled Fountain of Youth. We are treated to some great action set pieces from a thrilling London chase scene to a stunning mermaid attack sequence, again the 3D element on display is pointless (I spent 3/4 of the film with the glasses off) in its trying to add value.
Once again and showing he has lost no enthusiasm for the role, Depp plays Captain Jack with a polished performance that is a constant source of pleasure, and there’s no denying he has introduced one of the greatest movie characters of recent years. Unfortunately director Rob Marshall struggles to maintain a level of interest in its overlong runtime of 137 minutes where the story becomes a bit tedious at times.
‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ is far from being the perfect adventure and with Disney intending to shoot parts five and six back-to-back, in terms of plot they need to get back to basics, otherwise this ship could be sinking without a trace.