Pirates should abandon ship

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Walt Disney Rating: PG 136 minutes

Pirates of the Caribbean 4 is an improvement over Pirates 3, but that is damning with faint praise since 3 was an over-long, multi-plotted mishmash. The first film was first class. The second only okay.

And even the delightful Johnny Depp is getting a little tiresome as Captain Jack Sparrow. But since this latest in the franchise pulled in $90 million opening weekend (nicely covering Depp’s $56 million paycheque), one fears Pirates 5 is already on the drawing board.

Kiera Knightley and Orlando Bloom had the good sense to jump ship. But Geoffrey Rush is back and Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane signed on as Blackbeard and his daughter and are probably laughing all the way to the bank, like Depp.

As we go around again, everyone, from the king of England to Blackbeard, Sparrow and the Spanish, are in search of the fountain of youth, and only Depp (sorta), knows where it is. There are lots of sword fights and action sequences, some of them are fun to watch, but it’s all curiously uninvolving. After an hour or so this reviewer found himself wishing it would end.

Good bits include another appearance by Keith Richards as Depp’s dad and an attack by some attractive but vicious mermaids. But while it is occasionally entertaining, this film is mostly a blatant, and obviously successful, money-grubbing venture. This is not so much entertainment as a license to print money.

Rating: two deer out of five

Next Week on Video

Biutiful features Javier Bardem in a Oscar-nominated performance; probably the best of a mediocre video week.

Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.