PG-13, 2 hr. 17 min. Directed by: Rob Marshall. Release Date: May 20, 2011.
Since I'm here to write, and I haven't seen any signs that the world ended approximately 2 hours ago, I'm going to start this entry to my blog. Fearing the end of the world, I drove to my local (and crappy theater) to see this latest installment in what has been one of favorite franchises made in the last five years or so. I'd already read a bunch of reviews, and I had steeled myself for disappointment.
Strangely, I wasn't. There are a few things I've learned to look for from a Pirates movie: (1) Johnny Depp in a quirky and (for some reason I haven't yet fathomed) strangely effeminate role, (2) a few cheap laughs, usually in response to Depp's prancing antics through the film, (3) some sweet action scenes and (4) a little bit of swashbuckling. You can kind of throw in (5) some mystical element, but that really isn't something I look forward to.
All of those things were delivered, and I thought very well. I still have nothing but love for Cap'n Sparrow and what's left of his ragtag band. I still think Geoffrey Rush is good, but should be spending his talents elsewhere. I'm wondering how Penelope Cruz got dragged into this.
I'll address some of the general criticisms I saw when doing my research: (1) the story is without focal point (or mindless). There's a lot of truth to this. While they try hard to give this some sort of point and direction, there were too many factions in this race for the Fountain of Youth and they spent so much time bouncing between the different factions that I found it a little hard to really root for any of them. One of the factions was so vague in their purpose that when they finally addressed it I had to wonder where that goal had come from. (2) The movie's too long. Yeah, no argument there. (3) They're just drawing out the franchise. Yup, I'm on board with that, but I've mostly felt that way since the release of At World's End.
I have one more criticism to add. While I get that the absence of Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom left a romantic hole in the story, the romance(s) that do appear leave a little bit to be desired. They're too brief, flare too quickly, and don't even attempt to make the relationships progress for what might pass as normal under the circumstances. Mostly, I just think romance + action = fail. Even if there's some humor to lighten things up.