Friday, May 20, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, is the much anticipated latest installment for the Capt. Jack Sparrow franchise.  This edition does not return all of the cast from the previous films, but it does bring back Johnny Depp, whom without, their would be a meager enthusiasm, at least for this movie-goer.

Johnny Depp reprises his role as Sparrow, who is, in typical POTC fashion, getting himself in early trouble, this time with England.  But in typically Sparrow improvisation, he swings, kicks, stumbles and leverages his way out of one troublesome scenario into another, that may be deadlier still.  Also returning is Sparrow's on-going battle between selfish behavior and his feelings for others.  I won't spoil the how's or the what happens though, as these moments are firmly entwined into the enjoyment experience of watching Depp do Sparrow.

This type of big budget, summer blockbuster is an event, in and of itself.  It has the high theatrics of any Bruckheimer produced far.  It has gained much hype from the various media outlets, possibly due to a seemingly ever expanding marketing budget that is typical for any expected blockbuster.

I for one do not buy into the hype these blockbusters garner. However, I do buy into Depp.  He may be the best male lead in the business, but that of course is subjective.  Regardless of coronation, Depp is easily in this type of conversation.  Most of these big budget blockbusters have some sort of punch in terms of star power.  Yet, most also leave you disappointed, in one way or another.  Not the case for Pirates.  Depp is perfect in the roles he takes on and Captain Jack is the epitome of an actor nailing their role.  And to think Depp never watches any of his own films.

Aside from acting prowess, if you enjoyed the first editions of POTC, you will enjoy this chapter as well.  Beautiful cinematography, wonderful costumes and detail orientated settings combine with a decent storyline and the expected special effects to satisfy most moviegoers.

I'm not going to blindly compare the different POTC films, it wouldn't seem fair.  I've but seen On Stranger Tides once, and the others at least a half dozen times each. But in honesty, I can say, the acting is what you should expect from a Geoffrey Rush, Johnny Depp offering.  Penelope Cruz, a big name, but underrated still, did a nice job as the female lead in Tides.  I would be remiss if I didn't mention the terrific job of, the almost incomparable, Ian McShane, as the legendary Blackbeard.

What was missing?  If I had to, off the cusp style, pick something, anything, I'd have to dig a little, but would eventually arrive at storyline.  Although I did enjoy the story, I found it wasn't as layered as perhaps The Curse.., but there could be numerous explanations for this.  Possibilities ranging from scripting to editing or perhaps simply something attributable to me as a viewer.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides was not the film I was most looking forward to seeing this summer.  It was clearly behind Larry Crowne, Green Lantern, Super 8 and The Hangover 2, but it just seems appropriate for Pirates to kick the summer movie-going season off. Doesn't it. Aye.

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