Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Today we took in the afternoon matinee of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the fourth installment in the Disney film franchise.

Back on board is producer Jerry Bruckheimer and musical director Hans Zimmer, giving the film the visual and audio continuity from the earlier installments. Also on board are Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush and Kevin McNally, reprising their earlier roles of Captain Jack Sparrow, Captain Barbossa and Mr. Gibbs. Joining the cast are Penelope Cruz (Angelica) and Ian McShane (Blackbeard).

I won't reveal too much of the plot points as to avoid spoiling the film for those who are planning to see it. From the commercials, though, you'll likely know that the film includes a search for the mythical Fountain of Youth and a dread encounter with meremaids.

The film had mixed responses from our household. My wife felt that she would have been fine with the franchise ending after the last film (if it wasn't for Depp and his wonderful portrayal of this signature character, she wouldn't have enjoyed it otherwise). My teenaged son was on the middle of the fence - liking it well enough.

For me, I enjoyed it a lot. Was it a different tone and pacing from the previous films? Certainly. Was it lacking some big elements like huge ship battles and larger-than-life threats? Yes, but I think that worked in the film's favor - to make it more than just another retread of where we've gone before. I liked the progression of the characters we already know and love and the introduction of the new ones like Angelica, Blackbeard, and the missionary Phillip Swift.

I personally would love to see the franchise continue as long as Depp and Rush continue to stay on board. I think their characters are iconic and have lots of potential for further adventures - either as allies or adversaries.

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