Jack Sparrow is back in Disney’s fourth instalment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. The lively pirate finds himself once again without his beloved ship, The Black Pearl and in search of a paranormal wealth. This time it is The Fountain of Youth, but of course he is not the only one that is interested. Jack is up against his thought to be ex lover Angelica and her father the notorious Black Beard, as well as his old nemesis Captain Barossa.
The film begins by throwing the audience into a complicated escape attempt, as Jack and his right hand man Gibbs played by Kevin McNally disappear from a court room only to wind up in front of the King of England. Jack’s escape from the King’s home is choreographed to the second, and it does give the audience the same feeling as watching an opening number in a musical. The set design of the King’s home i
s also pulsating with colour and beauty in a way unlike the rest of the film that compete. The opening sequences are visual spick and span with faultless detail, both in the darker scenes on the pirate ships, as well as the more flamboyant decoration of the King’s quarters. However, these days you would expect nothing less from the latest Disney live-action blockbuster.
After the initial introduction of Jack and his quest for The Fountain of Youth, the audience is once again led down a recognisable plot pathway, with Jack encountering numerous sword fights and deadly and beautiful ship encounters at intervals and weaving each character into his web so he can find his happy ending which he so badly desires.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is in many ways a disconnected film from the former trilogy. Jack Sparrow has been released from previous characters, and should be able to give the audience something different. Strangely, Marshall, the director of the film, has clearly looked to the first film, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl when making decisions about Jack’s most recent adventure. The opening set up is similar to the first film, with the sword fight between Jack and Angelica mirroring the original fight between Jack and Will played by Orlando Bloom. It appears that Marshall wants to insert the charm back into the series that was slightly lost in the previous two sequels. As a result, by doing this other significant aspects of the film have been neglected.
The charming elements of the first Pirates film were mainly its light-hearted approach and its ability to embrace the fact it was based on a ride at a Disney theme park. Not only this, but the three significant details were well-drawn and the audience was invested in their journey. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides introduced three new characters into the mix, along with the never ending immortal Jack Sparrow. His love attention, Angelica is given the most development, but without a back story or real emotional drive to what she is doing. More mystifying, however, is the introduction of Syrena the mermaid played by Berges Frisbey and the religious Christian pirate, Philip Caflin. It is explained that a mermaid is needed in order to activate the powers of The Fountain of Youth, but other than that neither character is given any background or even basic explanation, they’re just there to give a reason to what the Fountain Of Youth is and what you need to do to activate it, and give the movie a little twist.
The bigger problem here is that there is no room in the film for characterisations to be explored no character got explored in deeply; they had a little time in the movie, as Depp is on screen from most of the time. I believe that it’s strange that Disney didn’t ditch the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise all together and just start a Captain Jack Sparrow based movie instead, but they didn’t. On top of this, the screenplay is written almost entirely for Depp, including moments when he will step in front of camera to say something completely unnecessary only because he can.
The voyage is not all bad though, in particular the sequence which sees the arrival of the mermaids is an exciting sight. Hans Zimmer’s score is as wonderful as ever, and will keep you in the pirate mood long after you have watched the film, meaning overall this movie was excellent well in my perspective anyways.
Some scenes which put Depp alongside the other long station members of the cast are very funny, with both sides being able to bring out the best in their characters. Although, to make the most of the experience. Overall, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is not on strange tides at all it’s mostly just as the other pirates of the Caribbean, mostly about having fun, voyages and anything in between. It is another enjoyable dance around for Captain Jack Sparrow and his pirate mates, but nothing we haven’t seen before. If you have been a fan of the films so far, it is bound to bring a smile to your face as it’s got new plots and twists, including new casts that are just brilliant, I hope you like the movie as much as I did.