Johnny Depp steps back into the boots of the iconic character Captain Jack Sparrow in this best of the sequels to 2003’s Curse of the Black Pearl. On Stranger Tides is a fun trip centering around the quest for the Fountain of Youth by Spain, England and pirates. Naturally Jack gets caught up in the middle, but not without want or cause, for he too has been searching for the fountain. All the entertaining stunts and Hans Zimmer’s smile inducing score are brought back to form a rather lengthy, but worth it ride.
Returning characters include Geoffrey Rush as Barbossa, now working for the English having lost the Black Pearl. Kevin McNally as Jack’s ever forgiving sidekick Gibbs. Keith Richards, in a small part, returning as Jack’s father Captain Teague. Newcomers Penelope Cruz, Sam Claflin, Stephen Graham and Astrid Berges-Frisbey fit well with the established look and dynamic set forth in the original films. But it’s Ian McShane, best known as Deadwood’s Al Swearengen, as Black Beard that really stands out. He plays the character with slight disinterest and impatience, making the disapproving looks he gives to his foolish crew just enough humor. The cast proves that if it’s one thing the Pirates movies have going for them, it’s the ability to fill roles with great talent.
The film plays like a mash-up of the first Pirates and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. This is especially true of the ending. Tides never stands still, with constant action on screen, yet somehow manages to drag on many occasions, which in the end makes for a very good, but not a great, film. It also suffers, albeit slightly, from the too many characters, too many side-plot lines syndrome that sunk the last two sequels. Probably the biggest complaint though would be the under-utilized and unnecessary 3d in the film. Personally I wish I had seen it in 2d, there’s a lot of beautiful artwork up on that screen and the 3d effect seems to wash it away. While these missteps and trip-ups do weigh the film down, and ultimately cutting out around half an hour would really have helped this, director Rob Marshall and scribes Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio deliver a wonderful adventure you shouldn’t miss.
Director: Rob Marshall
Stars: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Kevin McNally, Penelope Cruz, Sam Claflin, Stephen Graham, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Ian McShane
Buy It On Amazon