Sinlung /
10 May 2011

Pirates Of The Caribbean 4 Walks The Plank

First review of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - series has walked the plank

Pirates

Johnny Depp, left, Penelope Cruz, right, and Ian McShane, in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Picture: AP/Disney

  • Fourth Pirates movie slammed by reviewer
  • "Piratical wacky race" gets just two stars

The fourth instalment of Pirates of the Caribbean has walked the plank and well and truly "worn out its welcome" if the first review of the Johnny Depp action flick is to be believed.

It's not unusual for the fourth instalments in movie franchises to critically fail, (see Indiana Jones, Die Hard, Rambo, Shrek) and Guardian film reviewer Steve Rose says Pirates has suffered the same fate, labelling On Stranger Tides a "piratical wacky race" that deserves just two stars.

"The temptation to do something fresh is often outweighed by the fear of losing whatever it was that made it successful in the first place. This tries to do both, but ends up just trying too hard," he writes.

Two Pirates stalwarts, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, are no longer with the series but the cast now boasts Ian McShane as the villainous Black Beard and Penelope Cruz as a feisty love interest for Depp.

Geoffrey Rush returns as Captain Barbossa but this time minus a leg.

The third and second instalments of Pirates of the Caribbean were torn apart by the critics but still made hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office.

The third film was to be the last but the profits the series yielded for producer Disney meant Depp was always going to be persuaded to don his pirate make-up one more time.

To combat the critics, Disney hired a new director, who promised On Stranger Tides would recapture the magic of the first film.

His efforts failed to enchant reviewer Rose, who savaged the film for its lack of female presence - bar some "vicious but seductive mermaids" who are "rather cruelly hunted, slaughtered and tortured".

The big budget flick - which forked out mega bucks to secure Depp - reportedly drowns in its own grandiosity, offering only brief moments of downtime between chases, sword fights and races.

"Everyone else is so scheming and self-centred and double-crossing, it's not always clear who to root for, who's in cahoots with whom, or what anyone's going to do if/when they actually find the sacred fountain," says Rose.

Allegedly, the only saving grace in the flick is hunky clergyman, Sam Claflin, and the "ingenious choreography" which makes the best of the 3D visual technology.

But even these ultimately wore thin for the reviewer.

"It's a succession of ever-escalating action sequences and grand settings. At first they're stunning, then they're routine, then they're wearying."

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides opens in cinemas on May 19.

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