The “Pirates Of The Caribbean” franchise has been one missed opportunity after another and sadly, “On Stranger Tides” continues that trend. The first three films were almost passable and the third one was a disaster of epic proportions. The fourth one is not an out right disaster but it is not much of a film either.
The first thing I noticed about this film is that the studio has cut the budget in half quite literally and it is evident on screen. This leaves the filmmakers with nothing left to shoot besides endless sword fights and chase sequences. Thank goodness I did not see this in 3D as there was almost nothing eye popping at all. It is strange that a new director has brought nothing fresh and original to a franchise that badly needs it.
There are some returning faces, most notably Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush as Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbossa. Even their performances seem phoned in on their fourth time around. The new faces include Ian McShane as the dreaded pirate Blackbeard and Penelope Cruz as Anjelica, a mysterious woman from Sparrows past. Together they all venture to find the Fountain of Youth.
Director Rob Marshall replaces Gore Verbinski and he brings almost nothing new to the table. At least Verbinski took chances, and swung for the fence. Here Marshall doesn’t even change the musical score. Mercifully he dials down the effects and the convoluting plot that plagued the previous ones and gives us a straight forward adventure. It’s just a shame that he couldn’t invest it with old school adventure and excitement.
How much longer can this franchise survive? I have not met a single person who has truly loved this series yet it makes almost a billion dollars every time. This time it was in 3D so the grosses will probably be even higher.