Saturday, 21 May 2011

Stranger Tides

I tried to think of a really pirate-y/nautical title, such as "Voyage into deeper waters?" or something, in reference to the fact that I don't think that the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is going to "furl its sails", as one puntastic reviewer put it, but there we go.

Plain and simple. That's me.

So yes! I went to see Pirates of the Caribbean "4", better known as Stranger Tides. I enjoyed it. I'll get that out there now.
I am a fan of Johnny Depp - though I think he is reaching the end of his versatility, Jack Sparrow is perhaps his best character this side of 2000. All his energy goes into it, and whilst I like his work with Tim Burton (save Willy Wonka) I think that Jack Sparrow is probably going to be his signature style in his ''later life''.
(Loving his tan. Can't help but notice his gorgeous tan. Really brings out his chocolatey eyes. /fangirl)

The plot is packed full and has potential. And it reached some of its potential - The film opens in Spain, introducing the knowledge of the Fountain of Youth being in the hands of the Spaniards. Then it cuts to London where we witness Jack do a magnificently choreographed and Sparrow-planned escape. We find out that King George also wants to get the Fountain of Youth, and that Barbossa, minus a leg, is now his top privateer.

Jack is rumoured to be looking for a crew, and is rumoured to be doing it in a certain bar. He goes there, having heard the rumours he himself had not started, and is reacquainted with an old flame, Angelica. (Penelope Cruz)
There's a clever bit of mirror-acting as Jack fights himself (a very good impersonator), but ultimately he ends up press-ganged, more or less, on the Queen Anne's Revenge, captained by Blackbeard.

Angelica and Blackbeard - two potentially brilliant characters, perhaps dropped in quality either by the acting or the lack of development. Penelope Cruz is a fantastic actress in her Spanish films. But she was too much the fiesty Latina (albeit ex-nun) woman, whilst Ian McShane, great actor though he is, was not quite as scary and menacing as his character should have been.
The relationship between Blackbeard and his ship however was interesting, and they added zombification of crew and ship-collecting to his long list of posthumous stories.
There were scenes were we glimpsed his ferocity, which was largely based on what the crew told Jack, but it was not enough. His relationship with Angelica could also have been more interesting, but as it happened, it was fairly straight forward.

The mermaids. Now, they were very interesting, and left something of a black hole in a side story - the catholic preacher, captive on the Revenge who falls in love with a mermaid captured for the Fountain of Youth ceremony, was open-ended - at least according to my friend. I think she's trying to see too much into it, but then I can't help but also feel wistful about what might have happened to them. After all, their storyline warranted an entire poster.
The mermaids, beautiful but deadly, reminisced vampire-like creatures, sirens and the normal mermaid. That they need air to breath as well as water to live was interesting, for me, anyway.

Barbossa is aging, and had one goal: to avenge his leg by killing Blackbeard. His relationship with Jack is as... frought as usual. They make such a wonderful partnership, though, and he does get some of the good lines and great reaction shots.
I somewhat missed his crew, though, but perhaps they're on the Pearl, which Jack might come back to save in another film.

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