Why is the Joy Gone? Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Review


Gentle Readers – I really wanted to like this movie. But, as I was watching On Stranger Tides yesterday with the kids, I kept on thinking what a disjointed, dreary movie this was. First, lets talk about the plot.

The movie is about Captain Jack and his apparently lifelong quest to seek the legendary fountain of youth made famous by Ponce de Leon while being chased by Captain Barbossa who was a pirate but is now a privateer charged by the English King to secure the fountain before Spain gets it as they are also trying to find it as well as the famous pirate Blackbeard who may or may not have a daughter that is a former nun acolyte and girlfriend of Captain Jack and who may or may not still have feelings towards Jack and may or may not be pregnant by him but still has strong ties to faith as shown by the kidnapping of a missionary who falls in love with a vampire like mermaid that Blackbeard needs for her tears which are used in a ceremony to access the live giving powers of the fountain as Blackbeard needs the fountain because of a prophecy about a one legged pirate who will kill him within a fortnight that one legged pirate is Barbossa who real goal is not to secure the fountain for the crown but to exact revenge on Blackbeard who used his magical sword to capture the Black Pearl and put it in a tiny bottle the only way Barbossa could escape capture as he was then captaining the Pearl was to cut off his own leg and did I tell you there are also zombies in the movie?

Sound confusing?  The whole movie was like a 2+ hour long run-on sentence which tried to gin up excitement by having so many things go on at the same time.  In some action movies, like The Curse of the Black Pearl, that kind of frenetic writing works.  However, you need to have energetic performances by actors in order for the movie to be successful.  That was not the case here.

Johnny Depp gave a surprisingly uninspiring performance as Captain Jack.  It was as if the pirate who asked “Why has the rum gone?” is now having us ask him, “Where has the joy gone?” Ian McShane, whom I was really looking forward to seeing as Blackbeard, was for an evil guy afraid of death, almost monotone in his delivery.  I don’t even know why Geoffrey Rush, who I’ve liked since Shine, seemed disconnected.  I know that if I lost my ship and my leg, I’d be really ticked off.  I didn’t feel that in Rush’s Captain Barbossa.  About the only performance I liked was Penelope Cruz’s as Jack’s ex Angelica, but I do have a soft spot for her 😉

What do you guys think?  Let me know by commenting below…

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