Movie Review:: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

EHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH…  After a day of letting Pirates 4 sit in my brain, there is no question in my mind that this movie should have never existed.  It might have been a slight improvement over the two sequels before it (mostly due to the absence of Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly; the two most pointless, annoying characters of the series), but to be better than Dead Man’s Chest and at World’s End isn’t really too much of an accomplishment.  Legally Blonde is more entertaining to me than those two sequels.  On Stranger Tides is just an overlong side story featuring Jack Sparrow, a character who we once all loved.  When he was used sparingly.  Now he’s in every scene.

But also gone are the schlocky comic relief crew of the Black Pearl, except for Gibbs (who’s actually kind of funny in this).  Barbosa is back again.  At this point I don’t even remember why he’s still alive, I’m sure it was half-assedly explained at some point, but I distinctly remember him dying at the end of the first movie…  Now he’s basically a good guy in this new one, and eventually the film even devolves into a buddy film, with Jack and Barbosa teaming up for set piece related physical comedy.

The best part of the whole movie was the scene with the mermaids.  I think it was the only scene where a threat of death was actually present.  And the mermaids are attractive.  Most of the time spent with Blackbeard is annoying.  I think they tried to make him a complex villain, as some sort of ruthless superpower that is conflicted with the thought of dying.  It makes him seem rather weak actually.  He’s not nearly as complex as they made the squid faced fellow from the last movie.  I was surprised, though, at the restraint of Ian McShane from doing an over-the-top corny theater-esk performance.  I know he loves doing that Masterpiece Theater kind of stuff.  But he mostly phoned it in pretty mediocre until the end, when he did kind of have some moments of “actIIIIIINNGGG” going on.  And Penelope Cruz does a good job of looking great, and not being annoying.  I gotta say though, for some reason, she is one of the only actresses that I just will always have a sour taste in my mouth for what her CHARACTER did in a movie; Blow (also with Johnny Depp!).  I know she’s probably nothing like her character in Blow, but I don’t know, for some reason I think I will always generally dislike Penelope Cruz for that movie.

I saw On Stranger Tides in 3D.  It wasn’t noticeably bad 3D or anything.  It went for a mostly subtle approach, not too many things flying at the camera.  I can’t complain about that aspect.  The visual effects were also good, and there were a many a decent sword fight on some neat sets.  I thought some of the sword fights in the last two sequels were Star Wars prequel type messes, filling every inch of the screen with as much crap as their render engines could output.  At least On Stranger Tides had more interesting action scenes, more like the first Pirates than the other two.

The comedy aspect of it?  It’s more amusing than outwardly funny.  I think I only had an audible laugh once or twice in the 141 minute film.  Not a great minute-to-laugh ratio.

On Stranger Tides is a film with no beginning or end.  It is just one giant middle.  I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it.  Maybe I didn’t even like it.  But I don’t think it’s a movie worth badmouthing too much, it’s essentially harmless.  It most definitely could have lost 45 minutes out of its running time.  I can see why people would like it, but to overlook its glaring flaws basically requires shutting your brain off.  And I’m under the opinion you shouldn’t need to shut your brain off to have a good time.  On Stranger Tides exists, it was made, released, watched by many.  Congratulations to the cast & crew on their film release.  But…  no more Pirates after this please…  Instead, lets try and turn Space Mountain into a film series.  I always thought that was a better ride anyway!

5 out of 10

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