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Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
dir Rob Marshall
prd Jerry Bruckheimer
scr Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio
with Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush, Ian McShane, Kevin R McNally, Sam Claflin, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Stephen Graham, Roger Allam, Keith Richards, Richard Griffiths, Judi Dench
release UK 18.May.11, US 20.May.11
11/US Disney 2h21
High camp on the high seas: Cruz, Depp and McShane
CANNES FILM FEST
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Captain Jack Sparrow is back for another high seas romp and, despite the long running time, this is more freewheeling comedy than action adventure. And while it's hilarious fun, it's also so meandering that it's a bit dull.
In London, Jack (Depp) is brought before George II (Griffiths) so he can help the Brits beat the Spanish to the Fountain of Youth. But after an elaborate escape, Jack ends up in the crew of the ship captained by the evil Blackbeard (McShane) and his daughter Angelica (Cruz), with whom Jack has a past. So now Blackbeard, the Spanish and the British, led by Jack's old nemesis/pal Barbossa (Rush), are racing to the Caribbean to find the secret of immortality. And their first task is to capture a mermaid.
The script adds in a series of ludicrous hoops everyone must leap through before reaching their destination, like some sort of deranged videogame in which you need to collect two specific silver chalices and the tear of a mermaid in order to stage a ritual that will make the fountain work. All this does is send the film off on a series of nutty sideroads to stretch out a relatively simple plot and allow for more goofy banter between the characters.
And the banter isn't the problem: the superb actors deliver the cleverly witty dialog perfectly and building amusing tension between the each other that keeps us chuckling. More troublesome is the fact that all of this silliness is so irrelevant that we cease to be interested in the central plot, so it's hard to care when everything culminates in a big finale that feels strangely stolen from an earlier episode of this same franchise.
That said, it's thoroughly enjoyable and, working against-type, Marshall shows surprising skill at keeping the tone breezy, complete with some extremely clever 3D gags. Depp still manages to feel fresh in the role, and Cruz is a spicy foil for him. Meanwhile, Rush and McShane are having fun trying to out-camp Depp, while relative newcomers Claflin and Berges-Frisbey add strong sex appeal as a young cleric and a scared mermaid who fall for each other. All aboard for Part 5.
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© 2011 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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