Quick Hit: A film that is losing the magic, losing the effects, and losing the point of the whole series.
I stated about the first three of these films that Depp and Rush are the best parts of the series. Along with that, I also complimented the effects in the series. Depp is still here for the fourth installment in the series, as is rush, but what seems to be missing is the magic and the effects.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a few scenes that will fill your thirst for the supernatural – we are talking about a film that features mermaids (in a scene that would have been the highlight of the film had it not been watered down so much to play down the horror element) and the Fountain of Youth. Instead, what we see is a lot of heavy handed dramatic pieces, and a character that has now been pushed a bit too far in the series.
Jack Sparrow is sought out by the daughter of Blackbeard (daughter is Penelope Cruz, Blackbeard is played by Ian McShane) to help find the Fountain of Youth. Barbossa – who now sports the traditional pirate peg leg – seeks to find and take over Blackbeard’s ship and role as the most feared pirate of the seas. There’s some mumbo jumbo about a prophecy and such, but it’s pretty much noise – we just needed the plot to push all of our characters together. Here, there is no Elizabeth Swann, and we’re assuming Turner is out ferrying dead men on the Dutchman. That means that the entire film rests on Depp’s shoulders, and it turns out that isn’t a good thing.
Captain Jack Sparrow seemed to work best when he wasn’t the focus of the entire film. Despite the fact that Elizabeth and Will’s love story wasn’t exactly fascinating, it at least provided a foil to play Depp’s off the path humor for. It essentially let Sparrow be Sparrow, and that was it. Here, Sparrow seems to portray every character trait imaginable, frequently changing within the scene. He is an expert swordsman, a lover, a strong man, a weak man, a coward, a hero, etc. etc. You can’t quite keep up with it. Barbossa is still good, but even Rush seems to be slightly phoning it in. McShane is best in the parts when the script allows him to do something other than scream, because he can deliver lines with a menace that few can. Unfortunately, those quieter moments are few and far between.
There is another love story taking place, using Catching Fire and Me Before You’s Sam Clafin and a mermaid. But it’s barely there, not nearly as fleshed out in characterization as Will and Elizabeth. It’s tough to start an entire story over, and here you since all the growing pains.
I stated the magic was gone, and it seems to be. There are no supernatural baddies here, like the men on the Dutchman or Barbossa’s undead pirates. Here, it’s just that Blackbeard has a magic sword that can control his ship. That’s all well and good, but it isn’t quite the visual spectacle that the other movies provided. You get that feel with the entire movie – after a perfect opening sequence featuring a cream puff, there are very few scenes that feel as fun as even the low moments in the series before this one. My other favorite moment – when Jack allows a drip of water to flow backward off his hand at the Fountain. It’s a beautiful moment, but there aren’t enough of them to save the movie.
It’s ironic that this film went after the Fountain of Youth, because it desperately needs an injection of life. I’m giving it a “D”.
For more on this movie check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"