Rating: *** 1/2
The secret of a franchise, besides the usual elements that makes the original click, is to have enough elements that can be improvised, improved and recreated to ensure that the same audience isn`t bored by it despite having seen it all. "Pirates of the Caribbean", with its fantasy, quirky characters and explosive action, is a perfect example of the same.
In the fourth outing of the franchise, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) gets the undivided attention in a full film dedicated to him. With its love angles, brawny pirates, the kings` armies, guns and magical lands, the film becomes the perfect adrenalin rush thanks to coordinated work by the film`s team.
This time we see Captain Jack Sparrow in search of the fountain of youth, with a former flame Angelica (Penelope Cruz) conning the master conman into her ship. The idea is to procure life for her father - an evil pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane), who it is prophesied will meet his end at the blade of a one legged man - Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush).
Together they battle killer mermaids, a Spanish army and treacherous jungles and seas to claim eternal youth. But everyone has their own secret agendas and caught between them all is our very own, shaky, lovable pirate - Jack Sparrow.
"Pirates…" is a film every action, adventure film should be - a nonstop adrenalin rush with enough brawny men and twists, even though expected, to keep you rollicking in your seat for the duration of the film.
The casting is perfect. Depp reprises his role of the swashbuckling though shaky pirate who lands in funny soups. And though he is as good as before, he seems a tad too conscious in the film unlike in its first instalment.
Penelope is no stranger to sword fights. However, it is Rush and McShane who shine in the film.
Rob Marshall takes over the directorial chair and though he is new, the strain does not show. Hans Zimmer is again spot on with the background score which does an apt job not only to give verve to the action, but also to fill the many gaps in the movie.
The only major drawback is perhaps a very linear plot and very cliched subplots. But if you take the film as seriously as the film takes itself, which it does not at all, you will have a fun two-and-a-half-hour ride filled with sexy golden mermaids, witty dialogues, humour, charm, daring escapades and everything that you have come to expect of the franchise.
Thus, the film may be called `On Stranger Tides` but looking at it you will realise it sails on safe waters. You can expect another sequel to sail on the same waters soon.