Friday, May 27, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Over the years, writing for Hollywood Jesus has brought many personal pleasures. Among those was my review of the first: Pirates of the Caribbean movie. To find out that my quote about Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow was used on Johnny Depp’s web site was quite an honor. The joy and pleasure I had with Depp in that role not only reminded me of my appreciation for the pirate tale as a youth, his portrayal has continued to please me up to and including the new adventure, On Stranger Tides.

In On Stranger Tides, directed by Rob Marshall, Depp is back as Jack Sparrow but there is also the beautiful and sensuous Penelope Cruz as Angelica, the brilliant actor Geoffrey Rush as Barbossa, and we have Ian McShane as the infamous Blackbeard. Each character plays critical roles in this tale where we see the search for The Fountain of Youth. There are the typical things to expect; from sword fights to the mythical creatures of the deep seas, such as mermaids.

As per the norm, Pirates of the Caribbean, On Stranger Tides is filled with action and special effects. As to how a movie is made and presented on screen we see a tremendous work here. I saw this particular feature in 3-D and was pleasantly surprised at how even this aspect of the film transferred. Far too often 3-D is overused with little value. That wasn’t the case in this movie. There is a terrific score and everything about the film seems on the surface as if it would end up being a brilliant movie. While this is a very entertaining movie, with lots of action, even better than the last journey of Captain Jack Sparrow there still was some things lacking. There was far too much needed information essential to the story missing. Some speculation indicates this may be the first in a second trilogy, if that is so, it leaves out hope that much of the story line left out will be included in future tales.

I liked the characters and despite there being some holes in the plot, the acting, costuming and sets are entertaining enough to take the viewer back to the adventures of the seas. We see the search for eternal life take place; from Captain Barbossa and his crew including Jack Sparrow, Spanish Commissioned Force, and the pirate Blackbeard and his crew. There is a multiple conflict and battle among the three forces. There is just not enough information about any of the groups to give clarity to the plot.

Along the race to the Fountain of Youth, there are spiritual battles each party is faced with. One thing addressed is the role of faith and the treatment of others in the attempt to gain eternal life. We see a Christian understand and see the humanness of a captive mermaid. While some see and use her as a tool to obtain knowledge to their own self interest, this individual sees a beautiful creature and realizes that to give up his humanity for the sake of eternity would be to lose the very things such as compassion and love that make him human. Ultimately, he and others come to the understanding that without love, nothing else is of value. As a result, this recognition of love, leads to the salvation of some from the ultimate death they likely face. This journey to discover love is not just something experienced by the mermaid Syrena and Christian Philip, it is ultimately searched out and touched on in the relationship between Jack Sparrow and Angelica. Unfortunately, there is too much selfishness in the lives of these two characters to come to a point where love is realized. We are faced with our own recognition to see and value those around us. While this theme has been played out many times in film, it is obvious it is still a theme that resonates with the movie going audience. Do we take grasp of and love unconditionally those around us when we have the opportunity, or do we go off seeking our own selfish desires. We realize and see an example of how ultimate love will ultimately lead and provide eternal and joyous life.

On the surface, it may appear as if I didn’t enjoy this movie. I enjoyed it more than the last Pirates movie and had a lot of fun with the action sequences and special effects. It is easy to watch and I consider it a fun pop corn flick or date movie. I just wanted, and frankly, expected, more in the plot line. Depp is as brilliant as ever as is the rest of the cast. I just want more in the next episodes if they do occur.

There is a side note to make mention of in closing, a number of years ago I coined a word for a closing scene that contributed to the movie that ran after the credits. While not truly an epilogue, this concept actually includes a short scene that adds to upcoming story line. That term was hepiloguej. After some research this was allowable and I simply added an h to the front and a j after (for Hollywood Jesus) to the word epilogue. That all said to say this, if you are a fan of the series and want to see the movie in its entirety, make sure to stay until the end of the credits to see the closing hepiloguej of On Stranger Tides.

Now on a scale of 1 – 10, for the four movies so far, take that away 3 from 10, plus one incredible Johnny Depp and you will see, while not a perfect movie, it is still a very fun and entertaining 7.

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