Rating: 3 / 5 stars
By Sally Burgess, Technical Manager
Johnny Depp is back as our favourite Cap’n in the fourth instalment of the billion-dollar Pirates franchise…this time the movie is directed by Rob Marshall, who also directed Chicago. After the disappointing At World’s End, this new Pirates adventure was supposed to re-invigorate a series that was starting to lose its mojo with overdone CGI scenes, overlong and confusing plots, and too many characters. Has it worked? Well…yes and no.
Pirates 4 (I’m too lazy to keep typing the full title) starts off well enough, with a rousing escape sequence that sees Jack saving his faithful first mate Gibbs from the gallows. The prize this time is the Fountain of Youth, and Captain Jack is once more up against Captain Barbossa (the brilliant Geoffrey Rush). Barbossa now has the might of the British Navy behind him, but the Spanish also want to get to the Fountain for their own reasons. To complicate things further, Jack finds himself on board Blackbeard’s ship, along with a former flame…a con woman named Angelica, played with fiery gusto by Penelope Cruz. Her father just happens to be the infamous Blackbeard, played by Ian McShane…
There are flashes of brilliance in this movie, and some of the lines made me laugh out loud. The scenes shot in Greenwich, London made me really happy as I used to live not far from there and recognised some of the escape route taken by Jack. There is a cameo by Dame Judi Dench early on which is a fantastic bonus, and there was actually more chemistry between Depp and Dench in those 15 seconds than there was between Depp and Cruz, who is supposed to be a former lover!
Ian McShane is one of my favourite actors and I was really excited that he was playing Blackbeard, but I found his character to be rather subdued, although McShane does what he can to bring the guy to life in typical British bad-guy fashion.
On the whole, I can say that I was entertained by Pirates 4…just not as blown away as I had hoped. The magic of the first Pirates movie has all but gone, and I can only hope that Johnny Depp hangs up his Captain’s hat now. But I doubt it. There is sure to be a Pirates 5 on the way as long as the millions keep rolling in….
Standout Performance: Geoffrey Rush