As I’ve already said on my blog recently, I am a big fan of these types of films and books. There is something I’ve always liked about adventures at sea.
I went to see On Stranger Tides the day it came out here in the UK.
The first thing I was struck by, as I sat watching, was the lack of slapstick gags in comparison to the second or third film. I actually thought this would be a good thing, but I have to admit, it wasn’t. There was something lacking in Jack Sparrow because of it. Like the new writer hadn’t quite managed to get his head around Jack the same way the old writer had. It was almost like they obeyed the many fans of the first, saying the second and the third were too silly and not serious enough. That alone wouldn’t have been too bad.
The first Pirates film got the balance right between a serious plot and Jack’s rather special outlook on everything. Unfortunately they went too far and took out the very essence of Jack. There were no really special Jack Sparrow escape plans or one liners. Not only was the slapstick gone but the special mad Jack moments were as well, at least until right at the end. There was one final line that was quite Jack. Nothing really quotable though, unlike the previous three.
In every other respect the film wasn’t too bad. The plot was pretty good. Typical pirates type plot. One really bad pirate that all the other pirates have to stop and some fun, who’s side are you on anyway, moments. It was a little predictable in places but that’s fairly inevitable with the 4th in a series. You just get to know the characters well enough by that point to predict them.
Ian McShane made a very good Blackbeard and you could hardly tell it was Lovejoy under all that makeup and wig. So this for me was a plus. He’s definitely improving as an actor. Though still not perfect.
With Jack being not quite Jack, however, my favourite character ended up being the missionary that was on Blackbeard’s ship. He was there as the only survivor of a ship and crew Blackbeard had attacked because his first mate wanted Blackbeard to be redeemed and have his soul saved from hell. A rather interesting premise from a pirates first mate. It did mean there were a few really good chances for the Christian aspect to shine through, as they actually did a fairly good job of portraying a Christian’s beliefs.
And without giving spoilers that’s probably all I can say. I have to admit I came out feeling a little unsatisfied. It was better than the 2nd and 3rd pirates but still not quite as good as the first. I’m hoping it’s a film I will like more on a second viewing though. I imagine with it being based on a book there is some more subtle stuff to be gleaned from the plot and characters. I also will still go see any more they make at the cinema as they did set it up for potentially a more Jack mad sequel. Maybe they can get the balance right for the next one. They are obviously trying to.