Directed by Rob Marshall
Starring Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush and Ian Mc
I don’t know if any film series has had quite the same journey that of Pirates of the Caribbean. Starting off as a film based on a theme park ride, nobody thought the first film had a snowball’s chance in hell of being a good movie. Little did we know that the combination of a solid script, the imaginative hiring of Gore Verbinski (fresh off the only good J-Horror remake, The Ring), and a solid cast including Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush hamming it up and playing off an unlikely straight man in Orlando Bloom would bring us one of the great adventure movies of at least the past decade. The film brought the swashbuckling fun of an Errol Flynn classic and updated it with a good supernatural story and solid CG that was in service to the story.
The second two films pretty much threw everything that worked out the window and turned into a cash grab. The CG took over the spotlight of the films and Disney inexplicably decided to stretch a story that should’ve been in a single 120-150 minute movie over two movies totaling just over FIVE AND A HALF HOURS. Character development somehow found a way to take a backseat to the effects and mugging for the camera. The story was far more convoluted than it needed to be and turned into a complete waste of my time outside of the scene on the beach of crabs in Davy Jones’ Locker that would have been right at home in a Terry Gilliam movie. After the third film barely made its budget back at the box office, geekdom hoped that would be the end of the Pirates movies. The story finally ended and we all hoped the series was thankfully over.
Disney apparently ran out of ideas for live action movies after The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, and decided to blow off the mothballs and bring the franchise back. To their credit, Disney and new director Rob Marshall brought the series back to its roots by telling the complete story in a single film with a reasonable running time and made the CG take a backseat to the overall story. Would that be enough to make me as an audience member love Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and bring me back to the series? Unfortunately not.