Pillbox

Newest Pirates film thrills

If you were looking for a fantastic adventure flick to tune in to this summer, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is definitely a movie to see — especially if you are an adamant fan of the amusing, idiosyncratic character Captain Jack Sparrow, played by Johnny Depp.

This fourth installment to the series was directed by Carnegie Mellon alumnus Rob Marshall and focuses on a darker plot than the previous films, all of which were directed by Gore Verbinski. It includes new, mysterious characters but still attempts to retain the witty dialogue, reckless mischief, and the chain of escapades and thrilling encounters that are essential to the series. These elements combined to create an enjoyable new addition to the hit movie franchise.

Instead of merely branching off from the story that the third Pirates movie left behind, this movie begins with the focus solely on Jack, allowing viewers to follow the swashbuckling, diversions, and mischief that seems to always follow him. The film is centered around Jack’s newest objective: finding the folkloric Fountain of Youth. The central conflict is that he is not the only one thirsty for the enchanted water: The ruthless pirate captain Blackbeard (Ian McShane) and his entire crew are Sparrow’s main rivals, joined by Angelica Malon (Penelope Cruz), Jack’s apparent former love interest. Naturally there are a number of tense encounters and conflicts between the two groups as well as external complications, such as attacks from a barrage of vicious, siren-like mermaids.

It is understandable that many people feel skeptical about the quality of this fourth film — sequels rarely reach the greatness of the original movie. In addition, the production had to deal with the significant loss of a number of key characters and the elements they brought to the films including the romance between Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann, the terror and complexity of Davy Jones’ background story, and the pirate lore that shaped the storylines for the second and third films.

Although it is clear that an attempt was made to replace these elements that intrigued viewers, the absence was still very much noticeable. The love/hate relationship between Jack and Angelica is not nearly as passionate and engaging as the love story between Will and Elizabeth, or even Davy Jones’ empathetic story.

Overall, the film seemed to fulfill its purpose of thrilling and entertaining the audience. Of course, the contents of this movie include astoundingly choreographed fight scenes and Jack Sparrow’s elaborate escapes. The gorgeous score by Hans Zimmer embody and uplift the film, and the enthusiasm of the actors permeated through their enthralling performances.

Although it is hard to compete with the old storyline in terms of really captivating the audience, this film is just as audacious as the others, and it is a very satisfactory continuation of Jack Sparrow’s adventures.