Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

  • 2011-06-01
  • By Laurence Boyce

Director: Rob Marshall

Captain Jack Sparrow. With his funny drunken ways, slurred speech and (at least according to Johnny Depp) raging syphilis, he’s hardly the first character you’d think would catch on like he did. But, as screenwriter William Goldman said about Hollywood, “Nobody knows anything” and he’s currently more popular than the 2011 Swedish Eurovision entry (which, for those of you who aren’t music fans / have good taste, was called ‘Popular’). So when the original trilogy of films finished, it’s unsurprising that the movie bosses would try and bring him back so they could earn millions and millions… erm, I mean entertain the cinema going audience. But is there a chance that even Captain Jack’s laconic charm will begin to wear thin?

After an encounter with the English King and his old enemy Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush, who does his usual dignified job), Captain Jack Sparrow finds himself on a quest for the fountain of youth. Meeting up with old flame Angelica (Penelope Cruz), he soon finds himself on board the ship of infamous pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane, who is delightfully immoral and sadistic), who is also searching for eternal youth. An uneasy partnership is forged, but with the British and Spanish hot on their heels, will anyone grab everlasting life?

This is all what you’d expect with some nice set-pieces, including an impressive mermaid attack, expensive special effects (though the 3D version of the film seems slightly redundant never using the format very much) and numerous star players who are enjoying dressing up. But it lacks a spark of originality and – at just over two hours – even Jack’s antics begin to wear a bit thin.

If it had been cut to about 90 minutes, this could have been a bright and breezy adventure that zipped along at a cracking pace. As it is, it’s a rather bloated actioner that has one or two great moments. 


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