By Jonathan Smalls, Film Critic
Pirates of the Carribean has been a massively profitable franchise for Disney, and it looks like they have no plans to stop now. The latest in the series, On Stranger Tides is a weak installment after much the strength of the early episodes, but it leaves teasers for ( you guessed it! ) more Pirates of the Carribean movies.
The film franchise has managed to successfully revived the pirate / naval adventure genre with its popularity, but the issue is now that we are too accustomed to its formula. What initially was a welcome world of wacky hijinks, and surprises on the high seas has turned into routine trips from points A to B to treasure with a few explosions,
and dramatic falls mixed in. Writers Terry Rossio, and Ted Elliott manage to inject some entertainment value into this latest film, but not enough to call it an entertaining film. In fact audiences may find difficulty in remaining invested in the story, because the good guys always get a happy ending, and there are no consequences for any
When there is no investment from the audience, no amount of mythology, and special effects from Jerry Bruckheimer, and Rob Marshall will engage an audience. Sure, every thing looks great, but who cares when there is no thing interesting on screen? The producer, and director need to do more to ensure that the audience never beats the movie to that next punch line, that next daring escape. Once we do, we tune out.
Johnny Depp is as eccentric as ever with four films as the same character under his belt. The adventures of captain Jack Sparrow drive the series more than any thing of its other elements, and he delivers his familiar mix of caricature, and gravity. He falls prey to the same issue though: yes, we know that Jack Sparrow will get away, get the
gold, survive a dangerous situation. There is some cuteness in seeing how it all goes down, but it is only worth our time within the frame work of a larger, more engaging plot.
Yes, I am still stuck on the poor writing. Their desire to produce some thing was greater than their desire to produce some thing good, and it crippled the rest of the production.
The exception to this is the Blackbeard subplot with Ian McShane. McShane manages to keep all of his scenes interesting, and sinister. Gemma Ward also gets an interesting moment as the queen of the mermaids, and the few scenes with Spaniards have interesting moments, but these are not enough to keep Pirates afloat.