Genre: Fantasy/Action
Director: Rob Marshall
Cast: Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Ian McShane, Kevin R. McNally, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Sam Claflin, Geoffrey Rush
RunTime: 2 hrs 18 mins
Released By: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Rating: PG (Some Violence)
Official Website: http://www.disney.com/pirates

Opening Day: 19 May 2011

Synopsis: Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Rob Marshall, “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” captures the fun, adventure and humor that ignited the hit franchise—this time in Disney Digital 3D™. Johnny Depp returns to his iconic role of Captain Jack Sparrow in an action-packed adventure. Crossing paths with the enigmatic Angelica (Penélope Cruz), he’s not sure if it’s love—or if she’s a ruthless con artist who’s using him to find the fabled Fountain of Youth. When she forces him aboard the “Queen Anne’s Revenge,” the ship of the legendary pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane), Jack finds himself on an unexpected adventure in which he doesn’t know whom to fear more: Blackbeard or Angelica, with whom he shares a mysterious past. The international cast includes franchise vets Geoffrey Rush as the vengeful Captain Hector Barbossa and Kevin R. McNally as Captain Jack’s longtime comrade Joshamee Gibbs, plus Sam Claflin as a stalwart missionary and Astrid Bergès-Frisbey as a mysterious mermaid. 

Movie Review:

No, things will never be the same again – so don’t you go into the cinema thinking that this fourth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean film series will be anywhere as good as the first movie in 2003. But yes, it is a true blue summer blockbuster – so you can go into the cinema and expect a swashbuckling adventure, and of course, a certain Johnny Depp to keep you entertained for the movie’s runtime of 136 minutes.

If you don’t already know, the series of fantasy adventure movies based on the Walt Disney theme park ride of the same name features the American actor as the lead protagonist Captain Jack Sparrow: Who else to bring this somewhat campy pirate to life than everybody’s favourite Mr. Depp?

In this movie, the infamous pirate crosses paths with a woman from his past. The only problem is, she is now the daughter of one of the most feared pirates on the treacherous seas. Our hero isn’t sure whether he is still in love with this fiery woman, or whether she is just a con artist trying to use him to find the fabled Fountain of Youth. Before he knows it, he finds himself on a new adventure involving noble Englishmen, devious Spaniards, repulsive zombies and bloodthirsty mermaids.

You may remember reading the favourable review of the franchise’s third movie in 2007 on this very same website (yes, it was written by yours truly), and seeing other reviews that thought otherwise. It will probably be the same scenario four year on for this Rob Marshall directed installment.

While some reviewers may not think much of bombastic action sequences, evidently expensive sets and pompous production values, this one thinks that these are the exact things cinema goers look out for in a summer blockbuster. Who would want to see Depp ponder over life for the entire movie? Who would want to see him sulking in depression for over two hours? Who would want to see the Golden Globe winning actor contemplate over his existence against the backdrop of breezy beaches?

It’s the season to leave your brains at the door, and bring out the popcorn to see Jack Sparrow do his thing! May we also remind you that Depp was nominated for Best Actor for his portrayal of the campy pirate in 2003’s The Curse of the Black Pearl?

The strangely attractive Kentucky born actor once again effortlessly pulls off the offbeat personality of Jack Sparrow with ease, providing some of the best moments in the movie. He is paired up with his co star in Blow (2001), Oscar winning Penelope Cruz as the sizzling female pirate who has something up her sleeves. Although clothes stay intact (it’s a Disney movie, after all), the chemistry between the two is interestingly scorching. One just needs to imagine a too cool to be true Depp exchanging dialogue with a blazingly hot Cruz to know what we mean.

Elsewhere, Geoffrey Rush and Kevin McNally return as Barbossa and Gibbs respectively, while veteran actor Ian McShane sends shivers with his portrayal of the terrifying pirate captain Blackbeard. Although their characters are nowhere as memorable as Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley’s, good lookers Sam Clalin and Astrid Berges Frisbey deliver decent performances as a stalwart missionary and his mermaid love interest. Also, watch out for cameo appearances by Rolling Stones founding member Keith Richards and an award winning Dame.

Primarily shot in Hawaii, this action adventure comedy features breathtaking views (the 3D effects on the movie aren’t exactly spectacular though), and one particularly thrilling mermaid sequence which will change your impression about those bikini clad babes. Together with producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Marshall has managed to deliver a respectable popcorn adventure to entertain audiences.

Movie Rating:

(Will Jack Sparrow return for a fifth time? We are guessing it’s a yes!)

Reviewed by John Li

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