Film Review – “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger tides”

Despite the efforts of many critics to write off this franchise after… well the first film, they keep coming out and they do extraordinarily well in the box office  – the series has taken in excess of $3.1 billion worldwide – it’s no surprise Disney keep making them. But is the new and fourth film any good?

Pirates 4

Jack is Back, For better or for Worse...

The problem with this question is that it relies on way too many different factors. How do we judge quality in POTC’s case? Is it a comedy? An Action film? An Adventure film?  All I know is that it was based on a fairground ride and – like a fair ground ride – it offers a few cheap thrills but does leave you with the feeling you’ve been ripped off.

The film sees the return of Captain Jack Sparrow; the slightly fluky and sometimes funny protagonist. Johnny Depp does all the usual stuff (prancing about, flailing his fingers and arms) and is sometimes entertaining, but more often than not I get the feeling that the film makers are flogging the same joke over and over.

As always, the film is about him trying to get a crew and then sail in the search of some sort of mythical treasure.  Honestly the story doesn’t amount to much more than that simple one line. There are, of course. many different characters (some new, some returning) who help and hinder Jack on his quest and provide some “sketches” which provide some fun, but in general it is Sparrow’s show.  No Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom to distract us from his *cough* hilarity, which I find slightly troubling actually. They may not have been the most exciting characters, but they did stop the whole thing descending into what it has now become – a pantomime. The characters all troop on at various times doing their “bit”; some are funny, some aren’t and annoyingly there is way too much tripping over for me to really promote it as a comedy.

When I heard that Rob Marshall (Director of Chicago) was directing the new film I didn’t really know what to expect. Not an Oscar winning musical, obviously, but I did hope for a bit of cohesive flair to it.  Unfortunately, Marshall seems to have brought a bit too much “razzle dazzle” to the film to try and cover up the fact that there still is nothing there beneath the surface.

I know it wasn’t ever really meant to be a serious action-adventure film but Pirates 4 just lacks any real dramatic punch for me to be engaged.  It seems to have lost sight of what was really good about the first film; which was a bit scary and a bit funny, but mainly it was an adventure film. And a pretty good one at that.

Verdict: The series has developed into a hit-and-miss sit-com with Jack Sparrow as its decreasingly funny star.  It is neither adventure nor comedy film and sadly a structure-less bore. Please tell me there aren’t more planned…


About the author

Harry Parkhill

Twitter Facebook Email Website

I am the Editor for the Evans Review. I have previous experience working as a writer and editor for dozens of publications, including The Daily Telegraph, MSN, the Editorial section of (now defunct) LOVEFiLM, Kettle Mag and Journalism-Now Politically right of centre.