PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES pulled into port this weekend, plundering $90+ million from eager audiences. And that’s no surprise: People just love that incorrigible rapscallion (rapscallion?) Capt. Jack Sparrow — as portrayed by Johnny Depp — and apparently have a bottomless hunger for his adventures in a world where history and magic meld smoothly into one sumptuous, sea-going epic. Is the latest installment’s quest for the legendary Fountain of Youth a fitting follow-up to the previous chapters — or even better? Is Sparrow’s reunion with his old (and now-fully-mortal) nemesis Barbosa (Geoffrey Rush) worth the wait? And do Ian McShane as the fearsome pirate Blackbeard and Penelope Cruz as his comely daughter (and potential Sparrow love-interest) worthy additions to our hardy crew? Listen in as Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons set sail by the North Star, brave the surging waves, and guide their podcast past the rocky shoals and in for a safe landing.
And in conclusion: Arrrrrrrr. There, that’s got it covered.
The concept hardly sounds auspicious – making a feature film based upon a ride at Disneyland – but PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN turns out to be a Hollywood blockbuster in the best sense of the word: a glorious piece of large-scale entertainment that uses its budget to grand effect, filling the screen with action, stunts, swordplay, costumes, sets and special effects, without ever losing sight of the story and characters.
Working from a clever script by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, director Gore Verbinski does a fine job of navigating a perilous journey that jumps from one tone to the other, incorporating comedy, romance, melodrama, fantasy, and even some outright horror, creating that often touted but seldom achieved commodity, a “film for the whole family.”
The rousing score by Klaus Badelt captures the wind-swept vigor of old-fashioned pirate movies without ever feeling embalmed in nostalgia. The same can be said for the cannon fire and swordplay, which is handled with all the visual excellence that modern technology can achieve. The result is a film that lives up to its cinematic forebears without ever being a slave to their established formulae. Read More