Pirates of the
: On Stranger Tides
The fourth installment of this series
recovers some of the swagger and fun of the earlier versions, perhaps
because of the welcome addition of Penelope Cruz.
Sheís a good foil for Johnny Depp, literally and
figuratively---their opening swordfight is pretty entertaining, as well.
And, after that, itís more like verbal sparring, but we enjoy the
perpetual dueling, anyway.
Our intrepid Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp)
finds himself stuck in
, without a crew or a ship. But he
has a map, and the promise of a grand quest for any adventurer:
the Fountain of Youth! Yes,
the same one Po.nce
De Leon tried in vain to discover in all his tramping over the jungles of the
After a couple of tongue-in-cheek
chase scenes (Depp is a natural at self-parody), our Charlie Chaplin-esque
Captain Jack finds himself imprisoned on somebody elseís pirate ship---the
infamous, notorious Blackbeard (wondrously impersonated by Ian McShane), and
his black-hearted daughter, Angelica (the still-strikingly beautiful
Penelope Cruz). His old nemesis,
Barbossa (the inimitable Geoffrey Rush) is at first captured right along
with Sparrow (Blackbeard has a magic sword working for him), so they form an
unlikely alliance to try to get to the legendary Fountain of Youth before
Blackbeard, or the dastardly English, or the officious Spanish.
Along the way, they have to overcome the heart-stoppingly lovely
mermaids, who, after enticing you into the sea with them, will make your
heart stop, all right----by dragging you to the bottom and sucking the blood
out of you! Vampire mermaid sirens?
Because the water from the fountain has to be mixed with a
mermaidís tear in order for the elixir to become potent, and mermaids are
a particularly unemotional lot?
Well, naturally, itís all in jest.
Depp adds his playful energy to this grandiose pirateís yarn
thatís just plain fun to watch. Itís
much more adventure than romance, though the romantic tension is
obvious---itís just that ďrealĒ pirates donít really have time to
settle down, anyway. Theyíre too
busy enjoying being bad boys together. Itís
the 18th-century equivalent of a motorcycle gang.
And there is just enough wanderlust in the average civilized dude to
thrill at the spectacle of full sail with a favorable trade wind and a sharp
saber and the enticement of the open seas. As
Captain Jack Sparrow says, ďItís a pirateís life for me.Ē
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Co-Pastor,
United Presbyterian Church,