By Charly SHELTON
For those of you who eagerly awaited the release of “Pirates” 2 and 3 only to be disappointed: Rejoice! For a “Pirates” movie worth watching has been found again. Captain Jack is back in full glory without any whiny sidekicks in love or be-tentacled digital villains trying to find a jar of dirt with a heart. Just Jack being Jack.
When we last saw Captain Jack Sparrow he was in a dinghy boat, sailing for the fountain of youth – the mystical spring that gives its drinkers unending life. But when a rival gets wind of it, Jack is taken aboard the famous ship Queen Anne’s Revenge to sail under Captain Edward Teach, a.k.a. Blackbeard, the pirate all pirates fear. Mermaid waters be the course on the journey to the fountain, where they must collect a fresh mermaid’s tear and drink from the fountain before Captain Hector Barbossa, now of the King’s Royal Navy, catches up to them and takes drastic measures against Blackbeard and his crew.
It is a great movie that is not to be missed. For those of you who gave up on the “Pirates” franchise after the last two (like this reporter) – come back to it. You won’t be disappointed.
Jack Sparrow is back as part of a cast of many in “On Stranger Tides” for the fourth installment of the “Pirates” franchise. And, unlike “Dead Man’s Chest” and “At World’s End,” Jack is part of the cast, instead of trying to be the whole movie. That is what was missing from the last two movies – they tried to make Jack a leading man when he was written as a supporting character. He was supposed to be supporting to Will in the first installment. It’s like “The Pink Panther” movies – the movie was about the Pink Panther diamond and the jewel thief who tries to take it. But Inspector Clouseau was the highlight of the film, so everyone remembers him and he became the lead in the sequels that were made, but none of them ever lived up to the first film.
That is the same for the “Pirates” series. Jack was better than Will, so he was the focus in the following films. But a supporting character cannot carry a movie, so for this and many other reasons, “Pirates” 2 and 3 disappointed audiences. “At World’s End” made $963 million worldwide because it is still Johnny Depp, but the movie itself disappointed critics and word of mouth reviewers. To be honest, Johnny could read out of a phone book for two hours and it would still reach $150 million opening weekend because every high school girl in America would pay to see it six times, so the box office take doesn’t really correlate to a good film.
This one is an exception though. In four days, “Pirates” 4 has made $104 million domestic, totaling $390 million worldwide. “At World’s End” made $309 million domestic in 133 days/19 weeks. “On Stranger Tides” is one third of the way there in four days. Four days.
That could be because we have been waiting for it and it is a highly anticipated movie. It could be because word of mouth and critics are happy and their reviews are helping it. Or it could be that Johnny Depp is back to work in eyeliner and jumping into the water of stranger tides with a pirate costume on, making the women in the audience all shiver their respective timbers. Whatever the cause, this movie is successful and amazing.
The cast works well together, and it comes through on screen. Depp is and forever shall be the coolest pirate to ever sail the seas. A few old favorite characters are back – Gibbs, Barbossa among them – and new characters such as Angelica and the infamous pirate Blackbeard join the crew on a journey to find the fountain of youth.
Set sail with Jack Sparrow … uh … Captain Jack Sparrow in this summer’s biggest nautical adventure. Definitely not to be missed, no matter what.
Rated PG-13 and directed by Rob Marshall. I give this movie 5 out of 5 flagons of grog.
Drink Up, Me Hearties! Yo Ho!