Movie review: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Have our timbers been suitably shivered, or do we really need more installments in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise?

That's the question I was asking going into the latest chapter, "On Stranger Tides." My feelings have increasingly gone from "yo ho!" to "ho-hum" with each subsequent movie.

Remember what a pleasant surprise the first "Pirates" was? It delivered some surprisingly great characters, thrilling action and Johnny Depp's indelible characterization of Capt. Jack Sparrow as a swishy and tipsy swashbuckler.

With "Tides," all that's really left is Depp. Sparrow is back, crossing paths with former flame Angelica (Penelope Cruz), a feisty Spaniard who matches Jack's sharp tongue and his sword.

They end up on the ship of the most famous of pirates, Blackbeard (Ian McShane) in the quest to find the Fountain of Youth - all while being pursued by former baddie Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), who is now working for the British.

Also, there are zombies and mermaids. Seriously, they're just throwing in pots and pans at this point.

"Stranger Tides" is a passable summer flick, but the magic is all but gone. Depp's recent teaming with first "Pirates" director Gore Verbinski in the animated "Rango" was way more fun.

At the helm for this installment is Rob Marshall, director of movie musicals "Chicago" and the awful "Nine." The convoluted script doesn't do him any favors, but at least he didn't try to shoehorn in a song-and-dance number.

If you're itching for another dose of Cap'n Jack, at least you've got that. It's about the only reason to watch.

And the fourth "Pirates" ends by setting up the fifth - because even as it gets mediocre, the series is still plundering box-office booty.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides"

Now playing

2 stars