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Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – A Review

January 21, 2012

I saw Super 8 this weekend.  I’d been warned that the movie fell apart after the train wreck (and what an amazing train wreck!).  I really enjoyed all of it.  Wonderful scene construction, beautifully filmed; it occurred to me that the friend who panned the movie was not a kid in the 70’s, so it didn’t resonate with him.  For me, it was dead on what being a kid was like and a perfect rendition of the monster movies I loved so much then.  I especially enjoyed all the homage to Close Encounters and ET throughout the film.

You may think it strange to review a different movie before reviewing the 4th installment of Pirates, but it seemed the best way to say: it didn’t resonate with me.

It was beautifully filmed on amazing sets.  Great scene construction, funny characters…  But I was bored.

I really enjoyed the first Pirates movie, where Jack was a supporting character who, ironically, pirated the spotlight.  My chief complaint of all the other movies was the weakness of the Orlando Bloom character, largely because Kiera Knightly did such a great job.  This was a strong young woman (very pretty) who should have a strong young man.  But Bloom wasn’t that man.  IF she had ended up the captain of the Flying Dutchman, then that would have changed my opinion completely.

Still, I missed Bloom and Knightly. Go figure.

Jack is at his best upstaging the star.  Here, he was the star, and honestly, I found him dull as if he were phoning it in.  Jack is clearly at his best when he is stealing and he had no one to steal from, poor foppish pirate.  His job is to endanger the innocent leads, not just exercise his selfishness.

Penelope Cruz was an odd choice.  Not terribly pretty, not much of an actress, not much to care about there.

Blackbeard was another odd choice.  The actor is great, but the rendition didn’t live up to Barbosa, Davy Jones, or the other guys/gals of pirate filmdom. And they had so much to work with. The real Blackbeard was fearsome.  He tied lit fuses to his beard and had a raging temper.  This guy seemed very laid back; not over the top at all.  Even his control of his ship was fairly benign except for a couple scenes.  The missionary/mermaid romance seemed an add-on rather than intricate to the plot (they did serve some plot points, so that may not be fair).  Not much romance of the sea in this one.

It was just ho-ho-ho-hum.

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