Sunday, May 22, 2011


Yo ho, yo ho, it's a pirates movie for me!

Yar mateys! Tis the premiere of the year.  The next installment of the Pirates franchise, which brings back that most scurvy of scurvy dogs Jack Sparrow and his high seas shenanigans.  See this bilge rat fight his way through Zombies, tangle about with Mermaids, and fight against the power of the most sinister of pirates Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard.  Here be the review...and no I wont speak in pirate lingo.

Pirates 4 takes us right where the third left off, where Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is searching for the legendary Fountain of Youth.  We first meet Jack when he arrives in England, as he hears rumors of another Jack Sparrow getting a crew together.  After a daring escape, he arrives at the tavern where the recruiting is taking place, but it turns out to be an old flame of his named Angelica (Penelope Cruz).  She is also trying to put a crew together to search for the Fountain, but Jack suspects that there is something more to her story, and it turns out he's right. Jack is soon kidnapped and taken aboard The Queen Anne's Revenge which has the luck of being captained by the infamously sinister Blackbeard (Ian McShane).  Also on the hunt for the Fountain is the Kingdom of Spain and the British Empire, who actually employs the aid of now ex-pirate Captain Barbossa, one of Jack's oldest rivals.  These factions now race to the Fountain, each with their own intentions on how to use it's gifts.

This movie actually surprised me, by being a well-done, stand alone, Pirates of the Caribbean film.  If you haven't seen any of the others, you won't feel like you missed something from them to understand what's going here.  They're tiny inklings toward the previous films, but nothing major to ask the person next to you, "Hey, what's that thing?" or "Who's that guy?"  It took some clever writing to pull that kind of thing off, especially using an old legend like the Fountain of Youth in the overall story.  The acting in the film is fairly good, Johnny Depp reprises his role as the iconic Jack Sparrow, and nothing about his performance is different from before, which isn't a bad thing.  No one could possibly perform this character like he can.  Next to Depp are some of the new talent added in the Pirates franchise, like Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane.  Cruz plays a lost love of Captain Sparrow from the past and we get to see some of the sexual tension between the two.  The chemistry between them is very entertaining as more and more of the details of their falling out come out in the open.  McShane also brings something onto the table by playing a very convincing villain, and more over, playing an actual pirate from history.  However one of the major problems with Blackbeard is that we get no back-story for him whatsoever. It felt like the writers added him into the film solely based on how ruthless Blackbeard was in history.  I would have loved to get into the mind of this character and get to know him in a way.  I would also like to know on how he became so legendary, especially with the mystical elements he clearly commands, because in his possession is a sword that seems to control pirate ships.  When I see that I'm thinking, "Where did he get that sort of thing?"  None of that is presented to us, and I really wish it was.  Lastly are the effects of the film, which compared to the others, nothing really has improved.  Everything is up to par to the other movies, and so we don't really get anything new to impress us.  But still, it was still pretty to see, and a lot of people will enjoy it.

Now I saw this film in 3D....BIG. MISTAKE.  This film takes place 40% of the time in the dark or in shadows which is NOT a great thing to do in 3D, as the 3D-glasses add an extra layer of darkness to the film.  Dark + dark = TOO DAMN DARK.  Half the time I saw this film, I took off the glasses and watch it normally, sure it looked a little fuzzy, but at least I can SEE the movie.

Overall this film had great action and good visuals and it's something to see on the big screen.  It's great to see the infamous Jack Sparrow again and to see his wild shenanigans.  With the lack of character development on the villain side though, Blackbeard may not be the most interesting bad guy.  People will most likely go see this movie just to see Jack Sparrow.  But for goodness sake go see this movie in nice and normal 2D.


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