Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – Review

I hadn’t seen this Pirates of the Caribbean movie until last week, the day before I saw Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Please note, this review was written before seeing the fifth film, due to other reviews I already had scheduled, this is being released afterwards.

To preface, I’ve only really liked the first Pirates film, The Curse of the Black Pearl. The other two were good from a production value point of view, but story line wise they go off in all sorts of directions and the overacting became a staple of the franchise. That being said, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides also features the overacting. When I think about it though, what I really want from a blockbuster pirate movie, is actors acting like pirates. I want the ‘argh me-hearty’s’, swash-buckling, stereotype of pirates that I’ve grown up with. That is what I’ve come to expect when I hear Hans Zimmer’s epic theme, and that’s what I buy a ticket for.

On Stranger Tides, seemed to have a more streamlined story, while there are three ‘teams’ all racing to one goal, as well as a shopping list for ‘the ritual’. The important thing is that the protagonists and antagonists are all heading following a simple story and not all heading off on convoluted journeys for complicated reasons.

As usual, the film looks pretty good, pretty blockbuster-y but again, that’s the point right? The scenes on the water, at night especially, look like they’re shot on a sound stage but some of the location shots were pretty so you forgive it. While there wasn’t much in the line of CGI on characters, mostly enchanted ropes, water and backgrounds, there is a CGI frog that I wasn’t a huge fan of, a far cry from Davy Jones. On the plus side though, the mermaid effects weren’t too bad. I’m just about to get to the acting in this film, but I’m going to mention this now, there’s a clergyman and a mermaid who fall in love or what ever, it was a story tread to get the mermaid to cry because a mermaid’s tear was needed for the ritual – other than that, reasonably unnecessary.

Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) returns along with the first trilogy’s Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and Joshamee Gibbs (Kevin McNally) in a one-shot of sorts having very little (if nothing) to do with the films that came before. Barbossa and Gibbs’ style of pirate-y-ness is what I was talking about earlier on. It’s nothing too amazing, but in this film, its fun, it fits the theme. It reminds me of what I liked about The Curse of the Black Pearl. Straight up pirates followin’ maps and findin’ treasure. Depp’s Jack Sparrow felt a little toned down in this film. Not to say he wasn’t overtly Sparrow, but it didnt feel as overdone as it did in Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End.

Penelope Cruz plays Angelica, a former flame of Jack’s whose motives and intentions are all over the place. I get the feeling that Cruz was performing each line at a time, because her character tells a lot of ‘lies’ that are actually ‘truths’, ‘truths’ that are ‘lies’, and ‘lies’ that are actually ‘lies’. In a blockbuster like this, a film for the masses, surely there should be a small tell or a subtlety or something that gets you thinking about what she is saying, questioning it’s validity. Either that or she would be killer at ‘two truths and a lie’.

Now we get to Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard. While McNally and Rush play your typical pirates who’s allegiances can change with the wind, Ian McShane plays straight up bad pirate with Blackbeard. He’s on a mission to live forever but despite coming up against the film’s ticking clock, a foretelling of his death, he seems to have all the time in the world to kill crew members, threaten Sparrow and even play Russian roulette with his daughter’s life. That minor motive issue aside, the character was great and I would say is the reason I continued to have interest in the movie til the end.

Speaking of the end, its time to wrap this up. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is a fun popcorn flick. It isn’t bogged down by the narrative of Will Turner like the first three films were, which gives it a lighter tone. It’s a modern version of the classic pirate films, stereotypes and over-acting a plenty. Still though – enjoyable.

3 Stars

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – Review

The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise returns to the story of the Turners’ in an epic, yet average film.

I look around the Internet and I see how many people actually enjoyed this film, more so than some of the other sequels. I did not think this film was better than On Stranger Tides (a film I watched for the first time just the other day and actually enjoyed, a review is written and will be coming out next week).

This film returns to the main story line of the franchise, that being the saga of the Turners and Davy Jones, almost 20 years after At World’s End (and yet some how no one looks 20 years older). Our new main character is Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites), the 19-year-old son of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann. Henry’s life long mission is to break his father’s curse and free him from the Flying Dutchman, he has studied every curse and fable of the Sea and he knows that there is one last legend that can free his father… The Trident of Poseidon.

Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario) is the ‘I can’t believe its not Elizabeth Swann’ character, visually, she simply fits that mould, but her character is so much more. Shes an Astronomer, a Horologist and always the smartest person in the room/on deck. She isn’t as interested in the Trident as she is in reading ‘the Map that no man can read’ that leads to it.

Jack Sparrow (over-acted again by Johnny Depp) is also looking for the Trident to save his own life. Basically, he drunkenly made a mistake which released his greatest nemesis, cursed ghost, pirate killer, “El Matador Del Mar” Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem).

Visually, the film is great, the visual effects of the ghost crew are fantastic. The costumes as always are spot on and the sets look well put together. I didn’t enjoy the music as much as in the fourth film, but the soundtrack still worked well for a the action scenes. Watching a ship obliterate another ship with cannon fire is awesome already, add a crescendo in an orchestral piece of music and its amazing. Say what you want about the Pirates of the Caribbean films, but they always look and sound good.

Kaya Scodelario is fantastic in this film playing the intelligent Carina, often mistaken for a witch, she is a woman of science. Naturally, her beliefs are challenged coming up against the ghost sailors, curses, myths and legends that frequent the franchise. Kaya probably had the most to go on with this script, and she made it work. She was definitely the standout in this film.

Brenton Thwaites performed well, but he is unfortunately limited by his character. He’s a great talent but frequently in the movies he appears in this tends to be a problem. Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow was, again the awful comic relief, similar to Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End. Unfortunately, Jack Sparrow was not the most over-acted character in this film – there is an awful cameo. Things just tend to conveniently fall in to place for Jack and the opening set piece in this film is a perfect example. I’m just not a fan of his character any more.

I’ll tell you who I did like though, Javier Bardem. The ghostly and murderous Captain Salazar was a great character. Even through the heavy CGI on his character, you can see Bardem was having a ball playing the pirate hunter. His energy made Salazar a villain worth watching.

Rounding out the main cast, two of my favourites from all the Pirates movies, Geoffrey Rush and Kevin McNally as Hector Barbossa and Joshamee Gibbs. These guys are textbook Pirates, Johnny Depp should learn from these two. A little bit of over-acting and some gusto in the ‘Arghs’ is what a pirate should be. They always turn up in these films and Dead Men Tell No Tales is no exception.

The script was average at best, constantly bringing up new rules and exceptions to those rules within legends that were established in the previous film and even contradicting plot points within the film itself. Directing wise, the action was great, better than the other films, and the actors that probably needed some guidance, Thwaites and Scodelario benefited from Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg work.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is an average film, visually great, but the story is where it falls and that’s unfortunate. I wanted to like this film after actually enjoying On Stranger Tides but it slots in at around 3rd or 4th spot on the Pirates franchise ranking – I havn’t decided yet. This film could have worked without Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow.

2.5 Stars

Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Men Tell No Tales is in cinemas now.

Cinema Forecast: May 25th, 2017

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Thrust into an all-new adventure, a down-on-his-luck Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) feels the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost sailors led by his old nemesis, the evil Capt. Salazar (Javier Bardem), escape from the Devil’s Triangle. Jack’s only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it, he must forge an uneasy alliance with a brilliant and beautiful astronomer and a headstrong young man in the British navy.

Director: Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandberg
Cast: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Brenton Thwaites, Javier Bardem, Kaya Scodelario


The Shack

THE SHACK takes us on a father’s uplifting spiritual journey. After suffering a family tragedy, Mack Phillips spirals into a deep depression causing him to question his innermost beliefs. Facing a crisis of faith, he receives a mysterious letter urging him to an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Despite his doubts, Mack journeys to the shack & encounters an enigmatic trio of strangers led by a woman named Papa.

Director: Stuart Hazeldine
Cast: Sam Worthington, Octavia Spencer, Tim McGraw


The Sense of an Ending

A man becomes haunted by his past and is presented with a mysterious legacy that causes him to re-think his current situation in life.

Director: Ritesh Batra
Cast: Michelle Dockery, Charlotte Rampling, Emily Mortimer


Sachin: A Billion Dreams

A tale of a small boy with dreams and his journey to becoming the God of Cricket and the most celebrated sportsperson in his country.

Director: James Erskine
Cast: Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Mayuresh Pem

Forecast – Week 20, 2011

Every Tuesday a forecast will be released focusing on the Movies coming out in Cinemas and the DVD’s that will hit your local shelves this week.

CINEMA

ANGELE & TONY

Angèle, a beautiful young woman with a past, arrives in a small fishing harbor in Normandy. She meets Tony, a professional fisherman, who finds himself attracted to her although he dislikes her blunt ways. Tony hires her as a fishmonger, lodges her and teaches her the tricks of the trade. The relationships between Myriam, Tony’s mother, and Angèle are far from easy but the young woman gradually adapts to her new environment and little by little Tony and Angèle manage to tame each other…

MAIN STREET (Melbourne only)

Several residents of a small Southern city whose lives are changed by the arrival of a stranger with a controversial plan to save their decaying hometown. In the midst of today’s challenging times, each of the colorful citizens of this close-knit North Carolina community, will search for ways to reinvent themselves, their relationships and the very heart of their neighborhood.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 4: ON STRANGER TIDES

Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Rob Marshall, “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” captures the fun, adventure and humor that ignited the hit franchise—this time in Disney Digital 3D™. Johnny Depp returns to his iconic role of Captain Jack Sparrow in an action-packed tale of truth, betrayal, youth and demise. When Jack crosses paths with a woman from his past (Penelope Cruz), he’s not sure if it’s love—or if she’s a ruthless con artist who’s using him to find the fabled Fountain of Youth. When she forces him aboard the Queen Anne’s Revenge, the ship of the formidable pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane), Jack finds himself on an unexpected adventure in which he doesn’t know who to fear more: Blackbeard or the woman from his past.

The international cast includes franchise vets Geoffrey Rush as the vengeful Captain Hector Barbossa, and Kevin R. McNally as Captain Jack’s longtime comrade Joshamee Gibbs, plus Sam Claflin as a stalwart missionary and Astrid Berges-Frisbey as a mysterious mermaid.

SNOWTOWN

SNOWTOWN is a powerful psychological drama set in Adelaide’s northern suburbs and based on the real crimes of Australia’s worst serial killer, John Bunting. It explores the relationship between 16-year-old Jamie Vlassakis, who found his father figure and mentor in John Bunting. It is the examination of a community and questions how and why events such as Snowtown occur.

See these films on your screens Thursday, 19th of May.

SPECIAL RELEASE: ONE NIGHT ONLY!

CITIZEN KANE

Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance.

Citizen Kane is being shown at Event and Birch Carrol and Coyle Cinemas as part of their Masters of Hollywood Series. It will only be shown at Bondi Junction, Lismore, Tuggerah in NSW and Capalaba in QLD on Friday Night (20th of May 2011).

FNF – Week 12 2011

Film News Friday, March 25th

  • The writer of The Amazing Spider-Man, James Vanderbilt has been reported to have signed on for the sequel. Sony Pictures seems to want to get the next movie underway soon after the July, 2012 release.
  • Feature Length Film to feature Micky, Donald & Goofy being developed at Disney.
  • A “PG-13” version of The King’s Speech is being released in America. This is in response to the R rating on the regular release. – This version set for Australia?… Maybe on a DVD release but certainly not in cinemas.
  • New ‘Bourne’ film (that will not have Matt Damon) in talks to cast Joel Edgerton (forthcoming remake of The Thing), Dominic Cooper (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), Garrett Hedlund (Tron: Legacy), and Luke Evans (Clash of the Titans) in the lead role, a character that isn’t Jason Bourne, but is somehow affected by the events of the trilogy. It’s being billed as a ‘side-quel’.

The Week That Was

The news the made the headlines this week since the last FNF.

Saturday, March 19th

  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt now confirmed for The Dark Knight Rises, along with Juno Temple.
  • S.H.E.I.L.D website launched > http://www.joinshield.com/.
  • Jodie Foster to direct a Sci-Fi Thriller.
  • Adrianne Palicki: the new Wonder Woman… >First Pictures.
  • Billy Bob Thornton to return in Bad Santa 2.
  • Kevin Costner to play Jonathan Kent in The Man of Steel.

Sunday, March 20th

  • Joseph Gordon-Levit’s Dark Knight Rises role revealed, Alberto Falcone, the son of Mafia chieftain Carmine Falcone, the character Tom Wilkinson played in Batman Begins.
  • New Hugh Jackman movie, Real Steel – New viral videos released of a few of the fighting robots central to the storyline. Check out wrb.com or Coming Soon.net.
  • US Ticket sales are down 20% on the first quarter of 2010. Why? A series of 3-D flops are to blame. Disney’s Mars Need Moms the most recent to bomb out and is one of Disney’s worst opening weekends in years.
  • Brian Naylor, director of the new Ghost Rider movie “The Spirit of Vengence” talks about the story the characters and more. Check out Collider.com for the full article.
  • Tim Burton to direct a stop motion version of The Addams Family for 2014.

Monday, March 21st

  • Production on The Hobbit begins. Facebook page launched for the film.
  • New Pirates 4 trailer is released.
  • Zack Snyder, talks more on Superman… “real(-est) film he’s ever done”.

Tuesday, March 22nd

  • Batman Begins, Speculation… Again: Joseph Gordon-Levitt may not be playing Falcone. Entertainment Weekly has announced that the statement of the character he will be playing was wrong.
  • New footage of Captain America to be released tomorrow on Entertainment Tonight.
  • The script for an american live-action Akira have been sent out to prospective leads. Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield and James McAvoy all possible for Tetsuo.
  • Poster for the new Antonio Banderas movie comes out… The Big Bang! (Read the plot line of this movie you will think “what the?!?!”

Wednesday, March 23rd

  • Next Narnia movie to be produced… The Magicians Nephew
  • Clash of the Titans 2 goes into production… I’m sure none of you can wait for this.
  • Captain America trailer released.
  • Harry Houdini movie in the works by Sony Pictures.
  • The Wolverine on hold, no director and Japan crisis.

Thursday, March 24th

  • Dame Elizabeth Taylor Dies age 79.
  • Paramount Reveal the first 20 mins of Super 8.
  • Zack Snyder reveals Superman begins shooting in August.
  • Battle: Los Angeles Tops Australian Box Office

TV News

  • Torchwood to premiere July 8.
  • Fringe to give the green light for a new season.
  • Futurama renewed for two years.
  • CBS seem as though the may want their cash-cow, Charlie Sheen back… he is still winning.
  • TV Series not returning to American screens next season so far…
    • Friday Night Lights
    • Life Unexpected
    • Live to Dance
    • Lone Star
    • Medium
    • My Generation
    • Outlaw
    • Running Wilde
    • Skating with the Stars
    • Smallville
    • Supernanny
    • The Cape
    • The Good Guys
    • The Whole Truth
    • Undercovers

Youtube

Captain America Trailer

The Big Bang Trailer

The Big Bang Poster

And thats the News, this week.