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Thursday, May 19, 2011

[7.25/10] Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides [3D] (2011)



Full review: Two days ago, I was invited to a special pre-screening of "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides", therefore I'm able to provide an exclusive early review of the film one day before its wide release. For better or worse, this fourth installment has a new director behind it, and it certainly shows - Rob Marshall changes the course, and gives a completely different feel to the movie, though at times you may find yourself missing Verbinski's delightful over-the-top-ness. Story-wise, this installment is a bit more adventurous than its two predecessors, and although it drags a bit here and there, it manages to engage and entertain the viewer throughout its 137 min running time, mostly thanks to its witty, well-written script and amusing characters. However, "On Stranger Tides" is by no means the the best installment in the insanely popular franchise (nor is the worst), as it suffers from slight narrative and pacing problems. The film feels a bit inconsistent at times, as it alternates vigorous action scenes with slow too-much-talking ones. Being the first ever ""Pirates of the Caribbean" movie shot in Disney Digital 3D, "On Stranger Tides" boasts some amazing technical qualities, and is quite slick, visually. Although Rob Marshall's skills behind the camera can't match with Verbinski's creativity and stylishness, he still manages to deliver in terms of directing versatility, providing us with lots of inventive camera angles, clever close-ups, and dynamic camera work. The mermaid attack scene in particular is undoubtedly the highlight of the movie, and deserves a special mention, as it's so thrilling, beautifully-shot and stunningly spectacular, you can't help but being wowed and amazed by it. The cinematography's color palette may not be as vivid, bright and colorful as in the previous films, but Marshall compensates with some stunning settings, gorgeous locations, and tons of slick and cool, yet hardly overblown special effects. Due to the fact that this installment is being shot-in-3D, and not post-converted, the 3D itself is not bad at all, and it definitely gives a visual depth to the movie, making it more appealing to the eye. The one and only Johnny Depp delivers his best performance in the franchise since the original film - he steals the show yet again as the charmingly-goofy, hysterically-amusing and delightfully-quirky Captain Jack Sparrow. Not sure if it's because of her pregnancy during the shooting of the film, but the fascinating Penelope Cruz seems a bit distracted and not very involved with her character. Although she does a good job overall, she's not as strong, charismatic and alluring as she usually is. Geoffrey Rush turns in another great performance as Captain Barbossa, and he's a true pleasure to watch. This installment also presents a brand-new character, Blackbeard, brilliantly-acted by the legendary Ian McShane.

Overall summary: Not nearly as great as the original, yet on par with "Dead Man's Chest", and definitely an improvement over "At World's End", "On Stranger Tides" feels refreshing and different thanks to Rob Marshall's trademark visual style, plus, it offers a fun and adventurous story, interesting characters, plenty of spectacular set-pieces and enough thrilling action to please any fan of the franchise.

12 comments:

Melissa Bradley said...

And most importantly, it's Keira Knightly free! That alone makes it better than the last two. :)

Great review! I'm so jealous you got see it early. I love, love Captain Jack. It's too bad Penelope's not into her role that much. I can tell from the trailers that she's not giving it her usual all. I really miss Zoe Saldana's Anamaria from Black Pearl. She was part of what made the first the best.

Nebular said...

C'mon Keira's not that bad :P I kinda like her.

And I'm glad that it's Orlando Bloom free. I hate this wooden M.F. LOL.

Thanks, hon :) Yep, I was a bit disappointed in Penelope - it seems like she has lost her acting mojo. Pregnancy is way more important at this point for her, that's for sure.

You miss Zoe? Well, good news is she's back in this installment, but has a very limited screen time, that's why I didn't mention her.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Then based on your review, I'll see it tomorrow! The reviews thus far have led me to believe that while it's not great, it' a lot of fun. Glad the 3D isn't added on.

Nebular said...

Alex, it wasn't bad at all. In fact, it was hugely enjoyable and quite entertaining. Do not believe the grumpy critics :)

"Glad the 3D isn't added on." - What do you mean by that?

LoneIslander said...

I don't think I'll be seeing this one. The who pirate thing is pretty much over with me. Was a good run though.

Nebular said...

LoneIslander, I saw it and I'm glad I did. It was a great fun :)

Matthew Vanacore said...

Ha, lucky you my man. You deserve it!

Nice review. I'm delighted to see you awarded it a respectable score (I've seen others shower it with haterade) because I very much want to see it IN THE THEATER. I've forfeited opportuniites to see the last two in their proper setting. It seems like this is, at the very least, a worthy entry into the series and one that deserves a multiplex viewing. What drives my interest is the whole "adventurerous feel."

Nebular said...

Thanks, Matty. :) You know what, I'm sick of those POTC haters. This franchise is made for fun and entertainment, and I LOVE every single one of the installments. "On Stranger Tides" is definitely worth-seeing on the big screen. I hope you'll enjoy it.

HorrO said...

Great review. Saw it last night and loved it. I am a big Pirates fan and the movie didn't disappoint. Jack is one of my favorite characters of all time. Johnny does a great job playing him, almost like he was born for this part. I was surprised with how good the 3D was. The last couple of Disney movies have been a rip off with the 3D, but this one was worth it. Can't wait for Pirates 5! Hope you caught the brief scene after the credits!

Nebular said...

Thank you so much, Horr0!:) I'm huge fan of the franchise as well, and I wasn't disappointed with this installment either. Johnny was amazing as usual! The 3D was good, because it wasn't post-converted. A brief scene after the credits? Oh no, I didn't :(

HorrO said...

Just curious if you saw it. It wasn't much, just P. Cruz on the beach as she picks up the Voo Doo doll of Jack that washes ashore.

Nebular said...

Ah, bad girl! :)