May 20, 2011 Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of action/adventure violence, some frightening images, sensuality and innuendo.
Minus the director...and two of the three stars from the original "Pirates of the Caribbean" trilogy, Johnny Depp sails on as Captain Jack Sparrow in search of the Fountain of Youth.
In London to save a jailed shipmate, Sparrow is brought before King George who has learned of a Spanish mission to find the fountain.
He thinks Sparrow has a map that can lead the way...and he commission's Geoffrey Rush's Barbossa to serve as his privateer to find the legendary spring.
But Sparrow manages a daring escape from the castle, which only lands him in hotter water. He's shanghaied by an old flame named Angelica (Penelope Cruz). She's the daughter of the legendary pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane), who also seeks the fountain.
On board the "Queen Anne's Revenge" and unhappy, Sparrow leads a mutiny which draws Blackbeard out of his cabin to explain who is truly in control.
That being settled, it's a race to the fountain with the winner learning the secret of eternal life.
Although I enjoyed Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley in the previous "Pirates" movies, I really don't miss them here.
Of course, the main draw remains Depp and it appears he is still having a good time playing Captain Jack.
Rush has always gotten some of the series' best lines and he does once again here. Barbossa is not just serving the crown, he also has a personal reason to find the fountain.
Director Rob Marshall takes over the reins from Gore Verbinski and he doesn't miss a beat. There's plenty of action and buccaneering to go around. I particularly liked the subplot involving mermaids. If you're thinking "Disney Princess" mermaid...think again. Sure, they're beautiful, but they are also deadly.
The newcomers to the franchise might be the weakest links. I wanted a more fiery Blackbeard, but McShane's version is almost resigned to his fate. And while Cruz is very beautiful...and pulls off her action scenes pretty well, I didn't sense any sparks between she and Depp...especially for a pair that supposedly had a torrid romance.
Those small quibbles aside, there is plenty to like here. If you're a fan of the series you'll enjoy this one. Even with this being the fourth chapter it feels fresh and exciting...and Depp shows no signs of growing weary of his swashbuckling ways.
On my rating scale, "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" earns a HOME RUN.
And make sure you stick around for a hidden scene after the credits.
THE SIMPSONS Tonight at 8:00 PM The Saga of Carl; Dangers on a Train
When Homer, Moe, Lenny and Carl win the lottery, Carl takes off to Iceland with all the money; Marge mistakenly signs up for a website for married people looking for extramarital relationships