I'm sure my surroundings had a lot to do with my enjoyment of the film, or lack thereof, but even without that it wasn't up to the high standard that I regard the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films. The plot was flaky and apart from Jack, the characters weren't that great.
After seeing Ian McShane in Deadwood I was convinced he'd make a fantastic Blackbeard, but I think his Lovejoy character was more evil than he was in On Stranger Tides. At the height of his devilishness (is that even a word?) he triggered his ship's flamethrower to kill a mutineer and gave us doubts over his true feelings to a daughter he'd only just found out about. He wasn't a patch on the Barbosa/Davey Jones/Lord Beckett trifecta of evil from the first three films. As someone once said, Luke Skywalker was only as good as Darth Vader was evil.
Speaking of the daughter, Penelope Cruz as Angelica was a character I felt very apathetic towards. The whole raison d'etre of her quest to find the Fountain of Youth was because it had been foretold that a one legged man would kill her father and she wanted to save him so she could have that father she never heard. I'm sorry but pass me the bucket - that sentimental dross deserves to be on Jeremy Kyle (Oprah Winfrey for anyone reading from the US) not as the main plot for the latest of one of the biggest film franchises of all time.
The dilemma at the end of the film sees both Blackbeard and Angelica about to die and only one can be saved by the Fountain of Youth. At that point I didn't care if either died and why should I? Blackbeard is an evil man, or so they tell us, and Angelica has used Jack to get to the Fountain of Youth. If I were Jack I'd have left them both to die and the film would have been better off if he had. At least then we'd have some of the darker side of Jack which never showed appeared in this film. Instead our scoundrel played a goody two shoes who seemed to be motivated by his concern for Angelica's safety. Please, this is Jack Sparrow we are talking about, like he really gives a damn about anyone apart from himself, a characteristic which made him so appealing in the previous films. Yes, he does have a softer side that we've seen before, but to not this whipped extent.
Don't even get me started on the Mermaids. They were great to start with, but as soon as it was just Syrena and her boring relationship with Philip the clergyman, all was lost as they gave us the dullest moments in Pirates of the Caribbean history, to date.
My last major moan is about the part where Jack left Angelica on the island. Remember, Angelica's whole motivation was to save her father, and Jack had just condemned him to death. So why in God's name, when his back was turned, did she try to attack him with a piece of wood and not shoot him in the back with the pistol he had just given her? Yes she had some feelings for Jack, but surely not enough for her to get over the fact that Jack had basically just killed her father and destroyed what she had spent the whole film trying to achieve? Don't give me the old 'he saved her life' spiel – Jack let Blackbeard , her father, die - end of story.
Whilst nowhere near as funny as in the previous films Jack was still a great character, in spite of his wimpy attitude change. The scenes where he escaped from the King and the clutches of the Spanish were a reminder of how great Pirates of the Caribbean can be at its best. It was great to see Gibbs back alongside Jack as their chemistry is great and a nice link back my beloved first three films.
As always, the film looked and sounded great, though the 3D wasn't essential and I found myself taking the glasses off from time to time and it made little difference. In fact I'd go as far as to say that while you lose depth in 2D, you gain richness in colour.
I'm struggling to think of much else to compliment the film for and at the moment I'm stuck in my post viewing disappointment funk. I really need to watch it again but after my horrific cinema experience I'll wait until it comes out on Blu-ray.
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