“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”, is the fourth installment of the popular film franchise and the first among them which doesn’t include the characters, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley). It is also without the presence Gore Verbinski who directed the first three films. “On Stranger Tides”, helmed by Rob Marshall (Memoirs of a Geisha, Chicago and Nine) has a dull back-story that clogs up the film’s first 30 minutes, too many characters and a sense of tiredness. With running time of almost 140 minutes Pirates 4 offers convincing proof that this franchise has lost its sea legs.
It kicks off in 18th century London with Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) cheating the gallows only to be saved by former love Angelica (Penélope Cruz )
Forming an uneasy alliance with her and her dad Blackbeard (Ian McShane), they sail off to find The Fountain Of Youth. Not surprisingly, everyone also wants a piece of the action. Thrown in the adventures along the way are ethereal mermaids with nasty bites, zombie crew and the Spaniards who show up early for everything. Sparrow also reunites with Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) who is carrying an old grudge. Most of the film's two-plus hours is taken up by the hunt for the legendary Fountain of Youth
Cruz and Depp lack chemistry and the relationship of Sparrow with Angelica as the love interest is also so simplistic and devoid of spark. Another problem of the film is that it primarily relies almost entirely on Depp’s Jack Sparrow to carry it. Unfortunately, Sparrow character antics wears thin too quickly and fails to sustain any of the excitement that made him so much fun to watch before.
The fight sequences and action scenes felt very tamped down when compared to ones showcased in the previous films with exception of the one involving the mermaid attack. The part involving the mermaids were suspenseful and fresh.
In comparison with Pirates of the Carribean 1 to 3 the skits are a little less funny. There were some memorable lines though from Sparrow, Sparrow’s dad and Barbossa. It also lack visual spectacle that the fist three films offered and the action is a little less gripping. In fact, this is the weakest of the series. The production design is also a let-down. It was strangely unattractive and not impressive enough.
There was a hopeful buzz about the fourth film, focusing primarily on the beloved character Jack Sparrow and keeping the story somewhat simpler. It has the potential to become the fun summer movie that it promised to be for it’s audience.Unfortunately, I think it is sinking under the weight of it’s own bloat.