This is another much anticipated movie. I myself have been longing for it. I mean, who can ever forget about Jack Sparrow and his witty antics! Whatever he does, he's out to change the world, even without intending to.
Much Anticipation: Misplaced?
The fourth installment to the series actually has a good story. It spins off from the ending of the third movie At World's End. The advantage of Stranger Tides is that it is standing on good ground. It has a following that has undoubtedly watched the previous three films once or maybe twice (or maybe even more than that). The disadvantage is that the expectation is definitely also high. It must be able to maintain the beauty of the story as well as the heart pounding adventures.
Truth to tell, the story was really very good. The problem is that the movie tried too hard to be as exciting as the previous ones. With Elizabeth Swann (Kiera Knightly) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) gone from the series, witty Captain Jack Sparrow and equally cunning Barbossa will surely be able to keep us on our toes. But there is also a need to introduce a lot of new characters.
Jack Sparrow Meets New Characters
Jack Sparrow's antics here are not as impressive as before. He pulled one at the king's palace, but it is decidedly not as funny nor as witty as before. In fact, I find it to be too "trying hard". His moves are too obviously choreographed, not like what he did in his previous movies where he seemed to "make it up as he goes along". The chariot run was not impressive since the chariots didn't run fast nor were the shots convincing enough. Also, the soldiers are too dumb, really. They bump into each other with no help from enemies at all.
Then enter Angelica and Blackbeard who, I must say, is not as imposing nor as scary as he should be. Angelica's character, I can understand. Her fierceness and her seductive style is just right. But with all of Blackbeard's power, he is not as fearsome as he should be. Barbossa could do so much better. Blackbeard can somehow control his ship and he has voodoo powers. But his acting is blah. Even when he had one of his men killed by fire for mutiny, it was neither scary nor dark. In fact, I couldn't even feel any remorse or pity for the young man. It was just that. He was disposed of, end of story. Even the part where he is willing to kill his daughter so Jack would jump in the fountain, he could've been more evil in his manner. The scene was a perfect way to show his vile ways, but no, it wasn't shown! The scenes and the acting were not good enough.
Another character that could have been improved is the cleric. He is too vocal about his words, but it seems that Blackbeard could not touch him. I mean, hey! He's the captain of the ship and he is known to be very cruel! Can he not torture the cleric as he likes, bring him to the edge of death? Even if his daughter tries to stop him, he could just wager that he won't kill the guy, but he can't promise to not try to shut him up. The cleric was too bold, but a useless bold character, just placed there in order to say something that could otherwise have been shown. But I knew at the onset that he was made that way because he had a bigger purpose later on. How predictable. Again, this could have been done better.
Too Much Talk
Yes, this movie went on and on with endless talk and lines. With the previous three movies, not everything is told - most were shown. "Show don't tell" is a motto the prequels have stuck to. But the fourth movie was not made along the same lines. Everything needs to be said. The entire story needs to be told by someone. Like for instance, do they need to say what the requirements for the ritual for opening the Fountain of Youth were? Why, it seems like a lot of people know about the rituals except for Jack, who by the way was able to visit the Fountain of Youth without knowing how to enter it. Where did they get the information? How come they were knowledgeable of this when they are not privy to the Fountain's location? They knew about the need for mermaids; they knew about the need for two silver chalices. There are devices that can be used for such without using words. Jack's compass and the Navigational charts are some of the devices used in the past. These things don't speak, but they tell a story. One device that could have been used is the booklet handed by the old man fished from the sea. Didn't he say something about Ponce de Leon? There could have been a lot of use with that tool. But no, they didn't think it would be worth a shot.
The cheesy scenes between the mermaid and the cleric are not necessary. The portion where the guy shouts "she has a name!" is quite unnecessary. When she lifts her into her arms, that is good. When he opened the aquarium to let her breath properly, that is good. But the other cheesy lines and scenes? Totally unnecessary. There are far better ways to show the development of love.
I noticed that in this movie, Angelica would have to tell Jack everything, show our dear captain everything. Why can he not find out on his own? We are being lead to it, but the discoveries are not as convincing when said than when experienced. Because of that, Jack Sparrow didn't seem as smart as he used to be. What were the writers and the director thinking?
When Barbossa was telling his story about the Black Pearl being taken by Blackbeard, it could've been made better. It was a thrilling story that went unrecognized. It is the very reason by which Barbossa became a privateer, and why he is hunting Blackbeard, why Blackbeard was so scared for his life because of a prophecy that a one-legged man would kill him.
Another scene I am so irked of is when the Spaniards (Spanish) arrived at the Fountain of Youth. The people just stopped fighting just because someone arrived? That is not realistic. When the Spanish prince asked for the cup from Angelica and when he crushed the cups, no one tried to stop him. They were all so weak to fight against him, even Blackbeard. When they threatened to destroy the fountain, that's when the others reacted. How pathetic.
The ending was actually good enough. With Jack marooning dear Angelica into an island, and coming back to Gibbs to find him with a sack full of ships. I liked that part.
The movie was not made with care and precision as the previous ones, which makes it disappointing. There's too much talk, not much happening. Gore Verbinski could've done a better job than Rob Marshall. It was the director of the first three movies who made the Pirates of the Caribean a legend. I hope the fifth installment's under Gore Verbinski. If not, I may as well be hoping for an escape like Jack here.
What about you? What do you think? Let's hear it!