Double Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

GS Reviewers Nuge and Montoya give two very different reviews of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Watch there are some spoilers ahead.

First up is Montoya.

For me the last 2 films in the Pirates Franchise were mildly OK to confusing as hell to bored now. When I first heard about number 4 I was a bit concerned that it was going to ruin the good name of Pirates once and for all.

How wrong was I. I attended a screening with the family last night and everyone agreed that this was a superb return to form for the franchise. I loved, the wife loved and most importantly the kids loved it.

Depp is spot on again as Captain Jack Sparrow and Rush is in fine form as Barbossa. Newcomers Ian McShane as Blackbeard and Penelope Cruz as Angelica make a fine addition to the films.

This time round Jack is in search of the Fountain of Youth but so is the English and Navy and the Spanish Navy and not forgetting old Blackbeard as well. The race is on to get there first. On the way we get fantastic set pieces in all shapes and forms. A new part of the Pirates universe were the mermaids. Now here they are still beautiful half woman half fish creatures but they also have a very dark side indeed and have left me checking my bath now.

For me one of the real stars of the film is the music. Once again composed by Hans Zimmer, it brings the film to life in all its glory.

We saw the film in 3D and it was amazing. A few nights ago I saw Thor in 3D and it was OK but Pirates looked so clear and the depth was spot on, it really helped bring the film to life.

This is an amazing return to form and a job well done to original writers and new Director Rob Marshall.

I look forward to watching this again and seeing where they will go with Pirates 5.

Oh and do not forget to wait till the end credits. There is a surprise.

GS Rating 5/5

GS Reporter: Montoya

Last but not least here’s the review from Nuge.

Wow after that review I’m going to sound like  Blackbeard himself with what I have to say about the film.

Now the swashbuckler films have always been something that I’ve loved since my first Errol Flynn film. From Captain Blood through to the Sinbad films they were a staple of my film diet and then they  kind of died out. Fast forward to Disney using a ride as the basis of a new franchise and reintroducing the world to the classic swashbucklers of old and a new rougish hero in the form of Captain Jack Sparrow.

I absolutely loved the first film as captured the spirit of those early films perfectly. The problem was the sequels became too overblown and confusing for me and  lost what made the film such a success. It’s the curse of all sequels to be become bigger and more expensive but, in many cases, essentially a pale imitation of what’s gone before.

What Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides does is try to get back to the spirit of the first film. The problem here is there are just too many barriers in the way of that lofty goal.

Johnny Depp as Captain Jack once again steals the show but unlike the first film where he steals the show from it’s leads here he is given full reign. At well over two hours the film is at least thirty minutes longer than it needed to be. A good swahbuckler should move at a breakneck pace where as this film seems to lurch from one misadventure to the next. Ian Mcshane’s Blackbeard is supposed to be the villain of the piece, a villain that pirates’ fear and yet he doesn’t feel much like a threat and beyond saving his own life has no grand scheme for the fountain. Even the Spanish expedition dispatched to find the fountain  aren’t really painted as villains so we only really left with blackbeard to boo and he wasn’t  really cutting it.

I think it was wise to not mention Will and Elizabeth story line as that was neatly wrapped up in the last film.  We do however get both Captain Barbossa and Gibbs in this film and they both have some great scenes. Penelope Cruz was a welcome addition to the cast and played off against Johnny Depp well. There’s also a great sword fight between the two near the opening of the film which was probably one of my highlights.

The side plot of the relationship/romance between the Mermaid and the Missionary was a complete waste of time. Yes I got that the mermaid was there to advance the plot but the Missionary was just plain awful and added nothing to the story. Both characters were flat and the motivation behind something the mermaid does at the end of the film is still a mystery to me. Why would you help Pirates who killed your fellow Mermaids and kept you imprisoned in a cage for the most of the film?  I get that she wanted to help the Missionary but there was no reason for her to help Sparrow when she did.

The film isn’t awful and laughed along with a lot of the jokes but it felt like it was trying to shoehorn in too many ‘cool’ elements. There are some great one liners (mainly from Depp and Rush) and I could see kids loving this. However it is not a patch on the first film for me and sits somewhere between the second and third film. In the end the film was far longer than it needed to be with a climax that was somewhat shallow.

I hope Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides does well at the box office as I still believe  there’s mileage in the world of Captain Jack Sparrow and his fellow swallywags but more thought needs to be given to the next outing of the Black Pearl and his infamous captain along with a shorter running time.

GS Rating 3/5

GS Reporter: Nuge

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