THE PLOT THUS FAR
Jack Sparrow and Barbossa embark on a quest to find the elusive fountain of youth, only to discover that Blackbeard and his daughter are after it too.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
“On Stranger Tides” follows a variety of people searching for the fabled Fountain of Youth. Unfortunately for us, its not just Jack Sparrow. We have Blackbeard, the Spanish, the British, Angelica, and more doing the same thing. Subplots pertaining to this quest include Jack’s past with Angelica, Barbossa’s questionable change in character, some random guy falling for some random girl and the pointless Spanish people that flock in and out of the movie.
This is by far the weakest part of the movie, the script. For some odd reason, they borrowed far too much from the novel and forgot that sometimes simplicity is best—which is what made Curse of the Black Pearl such a great film. It was the easiest to follow, and On Stranger Tides didn’t learn from the previous two installments. To add to that, the script utterly separated everyone, even those with the best on-screen chemistry. Barbossa was barely with Jack Sparrow, Sparrow was rarely with his ex-lover, and worst of all reliable Gibbs spent minimal time with Sparrow. When they are together, the humor, the banter, tension, and the charm works well. When they aren’t, well, the movie drags a bit.
There really isn’t a need to get to the fountain of youth. There probably wasn’t any need for mermaids that can suck your blood, nor, all that stuff about voodoo and shrinking massive ships until you can fit them into bottles. Yet, what I have learned about this series is that the plot really doesn’t matter. These films are constructed more as a series of set pieces rather than a narrative plot. I appreciated the mermaids but, this being a Disney film, the all-out boob-fest that should have ensued sadly never materializes.
While not perhaps original, and not among his best, I did very much like Hans Zimmer’s score, which was rousing and brought some much-needed energy. The characters are not the best developed, but they are fun and there aren’t too many of them to interrupt the flow of the story, a big problem I found with At World’s End, while the action sequences are both exciting and nail-biting on the whole.
I wasn’t so sure about Rob Marshall as director, but he does a far better job than expected, and the film is livelier in pace than Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End. The acting is good enough for what it was. Johnny Depp plays lovable rogue Jack Sparrow with a voluptuous swagger and sly humour and nails it again, while the idea to omit Kiera Knightley and Orlando Bloom here proved a good one, without them for my money the whole adventure carried less of a dead weight.
The Blu-Ray comes with the Second Screen application that doesn’t seem to work in the way they anticipated. While I appreciate having a digital copy, the efforts to download extra supplemental material via my MAC or PC is very flawed. The kind of stuff that I was able to pull down worked only half of the time and most of it was just EPK material. There’s also a director’s commentary and blooper reel. The LEGO featurette is fun, but I still feel like I’m missing our on more substantial special features. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase.
RELEASE DATE: 10/18/2011