Pirates of the Caribbean finally walks the plank

By Wren Culp

Staff Writer/Webmaster

Johnny Depp reprises his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," from Disney. (MCT)

Is two hours and 16 minutes a short runtime for a film? For the Pirates of the Caribbean series, it is. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the fourth and shortest installment in the very successful Disney franchise, I hate to say is boring and repetitive.

Basically, Jack Sparrow needs to find a new career, the Black Pearl needs to sink already and executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer needs to find something else to get excited about. There was nothing special about this film.

We once again, find ourselves sailing along with Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) as he sets out in a race against time, the British and the Spanish, to find the mythical Fountain of Youth. This time, Sparrow must face zombies, mermaids and the most deadly pirate of them all, Blackbeard (Ian McShane).

Sparrow finds himself in London, slipping past arrests and patrolmen almost everywhere he goes, and of course doing it in his clever ways. He is then tricked into joining Blackbeard’s crew by his former love Angelica (Penelope Cruz), who we later find out is the long lost daughter of Blackbeard. Blackbeard then orders Sparrow to find the Fountain so Blackbeard can live even longer.

Yawn.

Like other financially successful franchises such as Scream and The Final Destination, by the time they roll around to their fourth or fifth film, they begin to show their age. In the case of Pirates, I think it is time to hang up the sword.

The plot is the most basic and straightforward of the series, which helps the film to be more enjoyable, but it also makes me feel as if the unique complexity of the stories in previous ones were just tossed out the window.

The action and sword fighting scenes are there, but really, how much different can they all be from each other? The choreography of the battle scenes is the same it has always been; somehow Sparrow still gets away, the British guards are still horrible shots with rifles and no one can fling a sword to save their life. Jason Bourne could beat these guys with his bear fists.

The film is directed by Rob Marshall (Chicago, Nine), but even his new and fresh take on the franchise can’t save the film from its lack of depth or originality.

Depp does a satisfactory job reprising his role as the clever and witty pirate, but the lame jokes and lack of overall laughs is just too overwhelming for Depp to bring some uniqueness to his character. This is the same Jack Sparrow we have seen in every film in the series, and he gets rather annoying after awhile.

The score by Hans Zimmer (Inception, Rango) is nothing different from the previous films. I would not be shocked if they used the same tracks from the previous films in this one. It did not enhance the tone and pacing of the film, which is very rare for Zimmer.

Something I really enjoyed, although, was the cinematography by Dariusz Wolski (All Pirates films, Eagle Eye).  Whether flying over the tops of a jungle or sneaking around on an eerie island, every shot is breathtaking. The visuals throughout are really fantastic.

Like most films today, the film is in 3-D and was completely pointless. Like most moviegoers, I periodically took my glasses off for a quick second to see what the film looked like without them. The only difference is the clarity. This is once again a case of making a 3-D movie just to charge more money.

Overall, the series is getting old.  The jokes and one-liners have been recycled back in while the plot got thrown out. You would have to make me walk the plank to watch this film again.

D+

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