Updated: 10/18/2011 (Released to DVD)
Originally Posted: 5/24/2011 (In Theaters)
I was fortunate enough to make it into the year 2011 without having ever seen a “Pirates of the Caribbean” film. Last night, against my better judgment and with little other options at the box office, I trudged to my local megaplex to view “On Stranger Tides”, the fourth installment of the franchise.
“Endure” is not an word that should ever be used to describe the viewing experience of a feature film. It’s rare that a movie is a full hour longer than it should be, but the good folks at Disney managed to pull it off.
This time around, Captain Jack (Johnny Depp) is back and headed to London to find out who’s been impersonating him. It’s no shocker that it’s actually his ex-flame Angelica (Penelope Cruz), using his name for a reason that’s not quite clear. I think she claimed to be trying to gather a crew for her next voyage, though as Blackbeard’s daughter and first mate, I have no idea why she needed this angle in the first place.
From there, I could try to describe what happens, but it’s far to convoluted to even attempt. A bunch of people set sail in search of the Fountain of Youth. Why? I have no fucking clue. Cap’t Jack Sparrow is on one of the boats, but seems more along for the ride than anything else.
Do you like fighting with swords? Well, get ready for 90 minutes worth. There’s an action sequence delivered every 5 minutes or less, and after two or three, they all blend together. It’s fighting for the sake of fighting, with little at stake and little for the audience to care about. After an hour, I had the haunting feeling that I could leave the theater now and miss nothing.
I believe these films are marketed towards children, so I’m sure parents will be thrilled with the onslaught of humor based in sexual innuendo. My favorite kid-friendly moment comes when Philip Swift, a “stalwart missionary”, has his throat graphically slashed from behind “al-Qaeda style”. Though he falls to the ground dead, he shows up alive and well a scene later, so I guess that means no harm done! Right, Disney?
Watching “Pirates” was tedious to say the least. The fact that I even considered watching the other three films before this one seems absolutely insane in hindsight. Where was the outstanding, beloved Johnny Depp performance that everyone raves about? Where was the spectacular visuals and the exciting story? None of that “magic” is present in the latest installment of the film.
“On Stranger Tides” should’ve been 90 minutes or less. At almost 2-1/2 hours, it’s unbearably long. The plot twists and turns almost without thought, and the obstacles overcome seem unnecessary and insignificant. Even if Cap’t Jack finds the Fountain of Youth, what does he intend to do with it?
I’m sure we are going to see another sequel to this cash cow. COUNT ME OUT.
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