Before watching this film, I was unsure whether I would like it or not. Should I let the Pirates saga be at film three where we left off previous beloved characters of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann? Would I like any of the new blood added to this film? And finally can Jack Sparrow save this film? Well, the answer is yes to the final question and the saving grace of this film. It is totally Johnny Depp's film. I was reminded yet again of why I liked and admired this character the first time around. Jack Sparrow is truly unique.
The film opens another misunderstanding for Jack Sparrow as he is hauled before the current King of England and asked to aid the English Navy (now, headed by ex-pirate Barbossa for some strange reason) to help them find the fabled Fountain of Youth before the Spanish do. Such is the case with the legend of Jack Sparrow, everyone believes he's already been there, (he hasn't) and is planning to put together another crew (he isn't). The rumors are persistent and soon even Jack begins to believe in them.
He finds out that his former flame, Angelica (Penelope Cruz) is planning a trip to the fountain to save her father, the dreaded pirate Blackbeard (Ian Shane). Jack doesn't believe Blackbeard has a heart and tries to warn Angelica about the dangers of dealing with him. Angelica is adamant to do some good for him. I do like Penelope Cruz but I felt she and Depp had very little chemistry together and there were too many closeups for my liking as Cruz was pregnant at the time and you could totally make out there was a body double the whole time. Way to make it obvious guys!
There are certain rituals that have to be performed to get to the Fountain of Youth and it somehow involves mermaids. But this isn't some Disney version of mermaids, these are deceiving sirens who hide a more sinister agenda. An interesting concept which they could have focused on more but it would have the already long movie longer. And oh, yeah, two newbies were introduced this time around to fill the spots made vacant by Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley. Sam Claflin as a missionary Philip and Astrid Berges-Frisbey as Syrena the mermaid were supposed to appeal to the youth demographic who wanted pretty things to look at but their story was never developed properly. Stick with Jack, I say!
The movie essentially works as the continuing adventures of Jack Sparrow which I would love to see. Depp has really worked to create a character for the ages. Even when you know he is in the wrong, you'd love to root for him. He's selfish, always drunk, and likes to antagonize people in authority. What's not to like? I would not be opposed to seeing the continuing adventures of Jack yet again especially since he's got the Black Pearl back. Worth a watch only if you are a big Johnny Depp fan or else you'll keep comparing this current installation to the previous films, it's better if we treat it as a standalone.
PS-See if you can spy the Judi Dench cameo! Can we incorporate her in every movie?
Directed by Rob Marshall; Written by Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Stuart Beattie, Jay Wolpert, Tim Powers (novel); Cinematography by Dariusz Wolski; Editing by David Brenner, Michael Kahn, Wyatt Smith; Music by Hans Zimmer
Additional Cast: Geoffrey Rush, Richard Griffiths, Kevin McNally, Stephen Graham, Keith Richards and Jack the monkey!!!