Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean (Rhoades)

“Pirates of the Caribbean”
Drinks from the
Fountain of youth

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Avast, maties! It’s time again to set sail on stranger tides with Captain Jack Sparrow – that mascara-wearing, swashbuckling cinematic alter ego of A-List actor Johnny Depp.

This is the summer blockbuster that will attempt to unseat all those comic book movies. Despite the fact that this pirate adventure is based on a Disneyland theme park ride.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” is the fourth in the film franchise created by Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer (“National Treasure,” “Prince of Persia”). For the next few weeks it will be flying the black flag and plundering audiences at the Tropic Cinema.

This time around Captain Jack (Depp) meets up with a lady from his past – Angelica, the supposed daughter of Blackbeard (Penelope Cruz). Before he knows it, he finds himself aboard Queen Anne’s Revenge, sailing off with Blackbeard himself (Ian McShane) in search of the Fountain of Youth. The ship is crewed by despicable pirates and hulking zombies, so you can count on plenty of swordfights.

Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom didn’t make it this trip, but you won’t miss them. Penélope Cruz (Academy Award-winner for “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”) freshens up the storyline and Ian McShane’s ferocious Blackbeard drives the nail-biting action. Plus you’ll find Geoffrey Rush (“The King’s Speech”) and Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones) along for the adventure. Sam Claflin provides an interesting footnote as a studly priest. And watch for a surprise cameo by Dame Judi Dench.

Blackbeard is driven in his quest by a prophecy that he will be killed by a one-legged man. And Captain Barbossa (Rush) is now limping along on a peg leg like an ersatz Long John Silver. Can Jack Sparrow intercede?

Along the way our seafarers encounter mermaids (Gemma Ward and Astrid Berges-Frisbey, in
particular) and assorted sea monsters as Blackbeard races to beat the English and Spanish armadas to the miraculous Fountain of Youth.

Shucks, all they had to do was drive up A1A to St. Augustine.

Directed by Rob Marshall (“Academy Award-winner for “Chicago”), this fun-filled outing was shot in 3-D. Fans are hailing “On Stranger Tides” as better than “Pirates 2 and 3,” and I have to agree in that this telling is not so bogged down with sub plots and interweaving stories.
Johnny Depp is in rare form, his Captain Jack Sparrow full of vim and vigor. But Rush’s Captain Barbossa has many of the good lines. Nonetheless, we’re back to the tongue-in-cheek, half-con-man half-fierce-pirate that Depp does so well.

Feisty Penélope Cruz’s Angelica is a good foil for Depp’s Sparrow (He tells her, “If you had a sister and a dog ... I’d choose the dog”) despite the fact that she was preggers during the filming – hence those full-flounced dresses.

Moviegoer Alert: Stay on till after the credits for a bonus scene. And Hans Zimmer's marvelous score must be noted, particularly worth hearing in Dolby 7.1 surround sound.

Johnny Depp has it made as an actor: There’s sure to be another sequel or two in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series. And Tim Burton can’t seem to make a movie without Depp as its star (witness: “Edward Scissorhands,” “Sleepy Hollow,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Alice in Wonderland,” et al.). So we can forgive him the occasional side trip like “The Tourist.” The guy deserves a little variety.

As for “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” you’ll have to see the movie to discover whether Blackbeard drinks from the fountain of Youth or not. But this fourth film in the franchise seems to have taken a sip.
[from Solares Hill]

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