Quadrilogies seem to be the new Trilogies. There were a few back in the past, like the Jaws, Superman, Batman and Alien series but then again this only became quadrilogies because the fourth movie under performed and that’s stating it nicely in some cases. Well at this point the Pirates Of The Caribbean movies have reached the quadrilogy status but seeing as the movie grossed over a billion dollars it’s not hard to imagine a part 5 going into production any day now. The world will eagerly be waiting for it, probably, but I can’t say I am.
I really loved the first movie It came out of nowhere, seemingly, and despite being a bit overlong was a fun movie full of engaging characters. We were new to this world and it seemed magical like Hogwarts in the first Harry Potter movie. The moment Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow steps of his sinking vessel the entire audience was laughing and the mood was set.
The next two movies were convoluted, not really funny and the only thing I actually liked was the envisioning of the part-fish-part-human element of Davy Jones and his crew. A memorable villain in two unmemorable movies.
And now we have a fourth movie: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
The plot has been kept to a minimum especially compared to the two previous movies. While this is a good thing it still never becomes as engaging as the first movie. This time it revolves around the Fountain Of Youth. Several groups are looking for it; The British led by, now privateer, Barbossa, the Spanish who are quite nameless and faceless in the movie as they only are in two scenes and Blackbeard, a feared pirate who seems to possess some voodoo powers. Also on his ship are Jack Sparrow and Angelica, an ex-love of Sparrow. As with all Pirates movies Jack’s loyalty is only to himself and here he once again teams up with Barbossa.
I found the first half of the movie pretty tedious with set pieces and action scenes that have this seen-it-all-before element to them. Jack jumping from carriage to carriage in a chase through London, Jack fighting a sword battle with Angelica, Jack being captured and escaping, it has been done before and more exciting. Jack Sparrow is becoming a pirate version James Bond, but I have to see someone taking over the role from Depp successfully.
The second half of the movie is much better. The scenery shifts to a tropical island, there’s an inspired mermaid attack and the movie actually goes somewhere instead of having Jack run around London looking for his impostor.
By this time Johnny Depp can do Jack Sparrow in his sleep, but he has overstayed his welcome. Like the uncle who’s jokes are funny at the beginning of the evening but do to encouragement at that point goes on for too long. I laughed about some set pieces and funny stunts but this time the character of Jack Sparrow generates few laughs.
So while it’s better than parts two and three this fourth movie never comes close to the first and best movie in the series. I doubt they ever will seeing as the captivating presence of that movie was Jack Sparrow, but since he has become a worn out character I doubt a fifth movie will match the first.