Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (PG-13)
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Posted: Tue May 17 2011
The last two installments---not the sly 2003 original, mind you---had a way of making viewers feel like Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow himself, stumbling out of the theater in a stupor. (Rum helped.) Were such virtues as narrative coherence, moments of quiet suspense---blimey, even a hot-blooded smooch or two---antiquated luxuries from the past? You really felt like you were strapped into a theme-park ride, one with a Technicolor vomit rainbow at the end.
On Stranger Tides, the fourth and final migraine, removes franchise director Gore Verbinski (Rango) from the helm, replacing him with Chicago's Rob Marshall---as if we're supposed to forget the hash he made of Bob Fosse's dance numbers. The new movie is simpler plotwise (a race to the Fountain of Youth), while at the same time being somehow more deadening: After a rascally flourish with a bewigged Captain Jack impersonating a judge and dodging execution through the busy streets of 18th-century London, we're shanghaied on board two vessels. One is stewarded by the notorious Blackbeard (McShane, never as ferocious as he can be), the other by turncoat Barbossa (Rush, born to this stuff), now in the service of England and hunting down Jack, Blackbeard and the prize.
Meanwhile, what's the point of being stuck on a sweltering ship with Penlope Cruz (playing Blackbeard's daughter) if she's not going to sidle up to our hero for some international docking? The chemistry is a total wash; even Depp's sauntering shtick feels tired. You have to turn to some unusually vicious mermaids, leaping out of the water and picking off hapless crewmates, for the little zest the adventure contains. After defying the odds with a now-classic character, Disney has finally arrived at ocean's bottom: an automated money-minter that hardly requires its audience to stay awake.
Watch the trailer
Author: Joshua Rothkopf
Fri May 20, 2011
Cast and crew
Ian McShane, Johnny Depp, Richard Griffiths, Keith Richards, Penélope Cruz, Judi Dench, Gemma Ward, Stephen Graham, Geoffrey Rush