I’ve got to be honest and admit I approached # 4 in Disney’s ‘PIRATES’ franchise with apprehension.
It’s no secret that Johnny Depp’s 3rd outing PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END four years back disappointed many fans. Though financially it was hugely successful.
So how to rectify the sitation?
Producer Jerry Bruckheimer performed a housecleaning. Gone from POC: ON STRANGER TIDES is longtime director Gore Verbinski in favor of Rob Marshall (best known for such hits as the Oscar winning CHICAGO and NINE.)
Also missing in action: Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom.
Instead Captain Jack Sparrow encounters an impostor who turns out to be ‘Angelica’ (Penelope Cruz) daughter of Captain Blackbeard (Ian McShane).
Seems Jack and Angelica have a history. They were past aquaintances until she dumped him.
But is this chance meeting for real? Is it love at second sighting? Or is it a con job to get him aboard the ‘Queen Anne’s Revenge’ for an unexpected journey to the fabled Fountain Of Youth?
Speaking of the fountain, one of the best lines in the entire movie comes from Rolling Stone Keith Richards who again makes a brief appearance as Sparrow’s father. When Depp asks Richards whether HE’s ever encountered the fountain of youth, Richards replies: "……."
(No, I’m not going to give it away, but you can imagine his response.)
POC: ON STRANGER TIDES is a 2:21 hour long ride—make that a race full of action, betrayal, youth and demise. Not to mention sexual tension and mascara between Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz and all fueled by another exceptional performance from Geoffrey Rush as the indistructable Captain Barbossa.
Visually speaking the film’s most exciting scene involves an attack by (hot) mermaids. It’s something to behold even though the sequence was kept to PG-13 standards.
As for the 3-D, a first for the franchise? Above average and definitely better than current tentpole hit, THOR!
All in all PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES takes a fresh and lighter approach to the proceedings, yet delivers the adventure and action expected by its fan base.
That’s why I’m raising 4 out of 5 swashbuckling fingers for this 3-way scallowagging race to the ultimate fountain!
FAN ADVISORY! If you’ve got the patience to sit through almost 5 minutes of end-credits, you’ll be rewarded with one final Penelope Cruz plus ? scene!
JACK GOES TO THE MOVIES On Radio: Friday mornings on NewsRadio KMBZ AM FM and RADIO BACH, Kansas City’s HD Classical station. Also Friday afternoon’s with Tanna on the new 99.7 THE POINT.
And anytime on Time-Warner Cable’s K.C. ON DEMAND, Channel 411.