Zack & Nick's Culture Cast

Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!

I saw Pirates 4

I saw Pirates of the Caribbean 4: The Quest for More Money over the weekend, and was thoroughly disappointed. What was once a fun franchise has turned into something that is borderline awful and honestly very little fun. Depp returns as Captain Jack Sparrow but the diminishing returns on his schtick are quite low. Rush also returns as Barbossa, and his scenery chewing ensures his character will thankfully keep appearing in these dreadful movies. New to the film are Deadwood’s Ian McShane as the famous pirate Blackbeard and Penelope Cruz as his maybe-maybe not daughter. Oh and of course there is a romantic past between Deep and Cruz.

The film begins when the Spanish find the body of a man rambling and babbling about the Fountain of Youth apparently, but it really begins in England as Depp wrecks the King’s fancy digs as he escapes from the military in a never-ending chase scene (one that involves like five mini-chase sequences individually) and is impressed into duty on Blackbeard’s ship. What follows is two+ hours of searching for magical MacGuffins, including two silver chalices and a mermaid’s tear. It all kinda makes sense in the context of the film.

The film itself is bad; the direction isn’t quite exciting when it should be and the action choreography is fairly sloppy. The fights look inauthentic, especially the sword fights. Depp is never really in any extended danger which holds the film down and keeps suspense to a minimum. The plot itself is a total trifle and secondary to the special effects and the acting (which is decent, if not a bit heavy on the aforementioned scenery-chewing going on). McShane is a decent addition to the cast, but he is in no way as developed as Davy Jones from the previous two films.

The good here comes in the form of the lush Hawaiian scenery. Any exotically located film should look as good as Pirates 4. The special effects are pretty decent as well, especially on the mermaids. I’ve never really found mermaids convincingly done in films, but they are perhaps the highlight of the film, especially the main ‘maid Syrena (Astrid Berbes-Frisbey). Some of the sets are really inspired, such as Ponce DeLeon’s ancient ship. The banter between Deep and Rush remains a treat as well.

On the whole, the material here isn’t quite enough to warrant the existence of a fourth film in this franchise. It was clearly made just to make money (and it has raked in the dough, especially overseas thus far). Disney has a popular franchise on its hands with this movie, but the quality of the film should be much, much higher. Everyone involved was capable of better, so why did they under-deliver with this film?

-Z-

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