“On Stranger Tides” neither sinks nor swims

The latest installment of the beloved “Pirates of the Caribbean” series, “Stranger Tides,” has proven to be much like the others: witty, yet tragically predictable. Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) engages in yet another seemingly impossible mission on the same seas as before, however this time, he sets out to find the Fountain of Youth.

Although his crew is much the same, two of the main characters are missing: Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightly). Despite these missing pieces, Depp’s love interest is replaced by Angelica (Penelope Cruz), who somewhat makes up for the lack in familiar faces. Cruz portrays the feisty character well, but the audience cannot help but wonder where Ms. Swann has gone off to.

It is ironic that this latest episode of “Pirates of the Caribbean” has the crews in search of the Fountain of Youth as the last two films in the series were in desperate need of rejuvenation. Even with this last attempt at renewal, “On Stranger Tides” seemed to sink in the tides themselves. Each and every seen was filled with an overwhelming amount of action and grand settings.

To spice up the newest film, director Rob Marshall introduces his audience to a new group of monsters: ferocious but seductive mermaids who are cruelly hunted and tortured along the way. The actions taken against these mermaids could be argued to be a bit over-the-top for Disney’s common audience of youngsters, but being just about the only other women cast in the film apart from Cruz, Marshall let it slide.

As seen before with films like Shrek and Indiana Jones, successfully coming back with a fourth installment is difficult. However, Marshall makes an admirable attempt. His fourth film, although arguably trying too hard, has both new lines and ideas while at the same time remaining true to the other three’s storylines. Had Marshall completely rewritten the story behind Pirates, the meaning would have been lost.

Throughout the film, Depp continues to play the great Jack Sparrow with his seemingly drunken gait, slurred speech and sarcastic sense of humor. Other familiar faces like Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), Blackbeard (Ian McShane) and Gibbs (Kevin McNally) have remained true to their characters as well.

Although “On Stranger Tides” may have tried a little too hard to revive itself, Marshall has made great headway in setting the stage for possibly a fifth film, hopefully bringing back to life the original Pirates we have all come to know and love.

Laura Masino can be reached at: laura.massino@student.shu.edu

Author: Staff Writer

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