An adventure film based on a roller-coaster ride shouldn?t feel like work. It should be exciting and quick and weightless.
Unfortunately Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the fourth installment in the series, is labored, leaden and long. Actually, at two hours and sixteen minutes, it?s the shortest film in the series and yet, it seems to take forever.
Captain Jack Sparrow, whom Johnny Depp, at a press conference in Cannes, described as a romantic skunk, is back. He still funny and charming but not nearly enough to infuse life into this over-wrought plot.
This time around, Sparrow is forced to help the dreaded pirate Blackbeard, played by Ian McShane, find the fountain of youth, which is also a top priority for the former pirate Barbossa, played by Geoffrey Rush.
Penelope Cruz plays Sparrow?s ex-flame who may or may not be Blackbeard?s daughter. Of course none of it makes sense, which would be fine if it had propulsion and energy.
But the film comes alive only in stray sequences, most of which involve gorgeous but deadly mermaids. The rest of it is industrial strength CGI and lots of noisy sword fights.
I?m going with two and a half stars.