Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Movie Review

Not sure if this fourth Pirates Of The Caribbean adventure in quest of the rumored ‘Fountain of Youth’ is a reference to pursuit of the coveted bonanza kid ticket sales at the box office, or those bins of Botox constituting the fanatical anti-aging obsession out in Hollywood. In any case, the elixir that seems to dominate this rejuvenation-challenged blockbuster sequel in its own right, would appear to be less life enhancer than Jack Sparrow’s own perpetual tonic of choice – booze by any means necessary.

Staggering through the soggy seafaring proceedings like a disobedient motorist being subjected to a DUI sobriety walking test, is Johnny Depp as repeat offender mischief maker, Jack Sparrow. Looking terminally jaded and bored throughout, possibly from either multiple pirate ordeals or multiple sequels, Depp is presented a both old and new shady cast of characters to liven the lethargic outing up for him a bit.

For starters, there’s Spanish spitfire swashbuckler Angelica, played by Penelope Cruz who turns up in a mustache, don’t ask, and ready to rumble with a sword. It seems that Sparrow in his usual inebriated state, wandered accidentally into a nunnery he mistook for a brothel, where he violated Angelica’s suspect virginity. And she’s been bent on revenge against the remarkably elusive fugitive ever since.

Meanwhile, a sordid collection of villains and targeted victims materializes, including the mysterious Blackbeard who may or may not be Angelica’s disappeared dad. And Geoffrey Rush as the crafty Captain Hector Barbossa, newly peg-leg accessorized and dripping with menace. And, simultaneously running aquatic interference, is a seductive swarm of predatory mermaids who share a quirky appetite for males on the seafood menu.

Directed by Rob Marshall whose talents may be more suited to musical extravaganzas like Chicago and Nine, Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides does have its occasional comical moments. Mostly courtesy of Depp’s Chaplinesque drunk, a deeply disoriented action hero who consistently defeats his enemies just about by accident. But the unimaginative when not repetitive fight scenes are as stagnated and prolonged as say, an old school ship slogging by through antiquity, seemingly to nowhere.

Walt Disney Pictures

Rated PG-13

2 stars

Prairie Miller is a New York multimedia journalist online, in print and radio, who reviews movies and conducts in-depth interviews. She can also be heard on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network’s Arts Express.