Avast me hearties ... but is Captain Jack all at sea? Read our review.
Johnny Depp returns for swashbuckling adventure
JOHNNY Depp’s impressive resume is littered with oddball characters. These range from the heartbreaking title role in Edward Scissorhands and iconic B-movie director Ed Wood to a creepily childlike Willy Wonka and the maddest Hatter ever to grace Alice’s Wonderland. Yet of all these eye-catching roles, he is probably best known as salty seadog Jack Sparrow in the Pirates Of The Caribbean films. Certainly, it was the first role to earn him a long overdue Oscar nomination as Best Actor. Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley may have sailed off into the sunset for the fourth instalment but Depp hoists the mainsail once again as the most fey pirate to sail the seven seas. Alas, if the third chapter of the series, At World’s End, was a water-logged bore, On Stranger Tides is moored in similar shallows. The adventure, directed by Rob Marshall, almost capsizes during an uneventful middle section that should have been cut down to take the running time below two hours. The introduction of 3D – which seems to be for financial rather than any obvious artistic reasons – doesn’t help the film either, making scenes seem darker. And a night attack on the pirates by a school of mermaids becomes just a whirl of digitally-rendered gloom. This time around, Jack joins forces with Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) to locate the Fountain Of Youth – one of the world’s last undiscovered treasures. The quest becomes infinitely more perilous when Jack is forced aboard the Queen Anne’s Revenge captained by legendary pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane), who is also seeking the Fountain aided by his beautiful daughter Angelica (Penelope Cruz). Using all of his guile, Jack must somehow outwit Blackbeard and Angelica to reach the fountain before his rivals. En route, he crosses paths with rotund King George II (Richard Griffiths) and hunky priest (Sam Claflin), whose attraction to one of the mermaids (Astrid Berges-Frisbey) tests his faith. Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides starts off promisingly with a fastpaced sequence in London, which sees Jack escaping from the king’s men by riding on the roofs of moving horse-drawn carriages. However, once the film takes to the water, the plot springs leaks and the simmering screen chemistry between Cruz and Depp surprisingly never catches light. Indeed, there are more sparks between Claflin and his fishy femme. The rising British
STARS: Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane and Johnny Depp.