Posts Tagged ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’

Box Office Hell — June 9

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Our Players|Coming Soon|Box Office Prophets|Box Office Guru|EW|Box Office . com
Super 8 |35.2|n/a|32|45|30.5
X-Men: First Class |28.6|n/a|25.0|22.0|27.0
The Hangover Part II |15.0|n/a|n/a|15.0|14.5
Kung Fu Panda 2 |14.5|n/a|14.0|14.0|16.0
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides|9.3|n/a|9.0|9.0|10.8
Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer |7.2|n/a|7.0|7.0|6.0

Box Office Hell — June 2

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Our Players|Coming Soon|Box Office Prophets|Box Office Guru|EW|Box Office . com
X-Men: First Class |72.6|n/a|58.0|60.0|69.0
The Hangover Part II |40.0|n/a|38.0|40.0|37.0
Kung Fu Panda 2 |26.5|n/a|24.0|26.0|26.0
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides|18.1|n/a|12.0|18.0|19.5
Bridesmaids |12.4|n/a|n/a|13.0|12.0
Midnight in Paris|2.8|n/a|n/a|n/a|2.7
The Tree of Life |.76|n/a|n/a|n/a|n/a

Box Office Hell — May 27

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Our Players|Coming Soon|Box Office Prophets|Box Office Guru|EW|Box Office . com
The Hangover Part II |94.6|n/a|98.0|92.0|100.0
Kung Fu Panda 2 |82.5|n/a|77.0|81.0|90.0
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides|49.0|n/a|53.0|55.0|42.0
Bridesmaids |17.7|n/a|19.0|15.0|17.0

Review: 4 3D P No

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Rob Marshall has a big fan club amongst actors.  I know that Penelope Cruz and Geoffrey Rush, in particular, gush about the man.  And Johnny Depp has signaled that he wants to work with Marshall again soon.


It seems to me that Marshall thrills actors by asking them to push themselves into fresh water.  The perfect example of this – and Marshall’s directorial level – is Rush’s Barbosa in Pirates 4.  He starts the film as a fop and ends the film a hard core pirate.  (Is that a spoiler? Only if you haven’t sent he first three films.)

As a “B” story, this should have been comic gold throughout the film.  Every time we see him, the evolution should be one step clearer, so that the audience can anticipate and enjoy every entrance of that character. And most of all, the big ending, when we should be thrilled that our old evil pal, Barbosa, is back!

I saw the work Rush was doing.  But Marshall seemed to have no idea of how to sew this into the film.  Really, even in Rush’s first scene, the contrast of the blonde bearded privateer isn’t funny enough because we have already been soaking in Richard Griffiths’ fabulous foppery.  And these are the choices a director makes.  Griffiths kills. He is a theater hero.  So Marshall probably got excited and prioritized giving him more than a tiny cameo.  But he allows Griffiths to distract from Rush, who is a star of the film.

Typical Rob Marshall.

He has great taste and no story sense whatsoever.

I can’t say that I know how the screenwriters and Gore Verbinski and Jerry B worked together, but for me, it comes down to the director, who is also there in post.  You have to kill your darlings and make your movie, not your favorite moment that breaks the film’s rhythm.

It’s no surprise that Marshall can’t shoot action.  He shoots his best dance numbers like his actors are dancing is an 8’x8′ box.  Forget about Gore Verbinski’s giant visual imagination. Even intimate sword fights barely play here… which leaves nothing much to remember visually, aside from the form fitting mermaid tails and how they cover the models’ girl bits.  

Marshall isn’t the only problem here.  The usually reliable writing crew through out most of the repeating gags of the series and didn’t replace them with much.  

The most promising idea was that Sparrow deflowered Blackbeard’s daughter, played by P-Cruz.  The idea of real fatherly angst over his girl and “the wrong kind of pirate” seems like great fodder set at the middle of an action film.  But it doesn’t go there.  It doesn’t go to any real sexual chemistry between these two.  Couldn’t we even get the schtick of one of them still being in love and the other still being angry… Hepburn & Tracey/Grant/Bogart stuff… SOMETHING!!!  But it never seems to be confident about going hard in any direction.

Love Ian McShane, but he’s completely wasted here.  

There’s lots of green.  And the actors glow.  But the film sucks.  It just doesn’t have the magic of the first trio… not characters… not visuals… 

And the mermaids… have fangs.  Come On!!!  This is the cutting edge?  Hot chicks with fangs and tails?  And without any real story… they are there as a tool for the rest of the characters… how could they matter?

Of course, some critics have gone too far overboard and seem to be in the Nasty Critics Olympics.  Uncool.  

But this is junk that will only excite the least demanding audiences… and kids too young to follow storyline anyway.  Still, I expect that the marketing team at Disney will open the hell out of this thing.

Pirates 5, anyone?  Captain Jack gets married and has a kid HAS to be the next iteration. Pirates of the Crappy Diapers.  Give the character something to do aside from running to camera, widening his eyes, and turning right or left.  Give Jack something to lose (which he seemed to have in the previous films in Knightley’s character).  Give us something that allows us to love this franchise again.  Please.

Wilmington on Movies: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Friday, May 20th, 2011

(Three Stars)
U.S.: Rob Marshall, 2011


Johnny Depp isn’t acting at full pressure in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides — the fourth in the lucrative comedy pirate movie series inspired by the great Disneyland theme park ride. But then, how may actors do? (By the way, if you’ve never visited Disneyland and taken that ride, you should. )

In his fourth go-round as Captain Jack Sparrow, the fey buccaneer, scourge of the seven seas and all the mascara shops in Hollywood, Depp might be accused of not trying too hard, of stepping back and letting director Rob Marshall’s production team (a monster one), and the CGI experts, and the rest of the cast (newcomers Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane as well as old salts Geoffrey Rush and Kevin McNally), and especially composer Hans Zimmer (more thunderously present here than any pirate or sea movie composer since Erich Wolfgang Korngold) do most of the work.

In a way, that’s a fair complaint. Depp is coasting a little, even though, with designated lovers Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley having sailed off into the sunset, Jack is now both this “Pirates of the Caribbean’s” main leading man/romantic interest (with Cruz) and, as always, its scene-stealing comical/piratical character star.

Who could blame him though? The “Pirate“ series may be at its height of its production expertise here, it may look better than ever, and it may have recaptured some of the initial light, breezy touch. But, script wise, it’s clearly running out of planks to walk. Not enough to hurt the movie financially — but enough to justify at least some of the fussilade of amusing critical blasts the picture has generated. (Audiences will like the show better.)

The movie’s central plot device is, not surprisingly for a Hollywood film, the Fountain of Youth — coveted by the decadently plump King George of England (played by Richard Griffiths), coveted also by King Ferdinand of Spain (Sebastian Armesto), and subject of a three-cornered chase by the roguish, gravel-faced Barbossa (Rush), sailing for King George; a seagoing Spaniard (Oscar Jaenada), sailing for Ferdinand; and the bottomlessly black-hearted, most evil possible pirate, Edward Teach a.k.a. Blackbeard, played by Ian McShane, sailing for himself.

Captain Jack has been shanghaied aboard Blackbeard’s ship, which he promptly incites to mutiny, and which also carries a zombie crew and the flashing-eyed temptress Angelica, Jack’s old flame and maybe Blackbeard’s daughter — played not by that other Anjelica, Depp’s recent unhappily-cast costar Ms. Jolie, but by the estimable Ms. Cruz. Also mixed up in all this is Jack’s longtime doormat, Joshamee Gibbs (Kevin McNally), plus angel-eyed clergyman Philip (Sam Claflin) and the even more angelic-faced mermaid of Phil’s dreams, Syrena (Astrid Berges-Frisbey), both doing secondary romantic duty, in the absence of Orlando B. and Keira K.

The Fountain itself, located (do we smell another ride here?) in a jungle landscape full of steep cliffs, tangled green foliage and rushing rivers, and in caverns and ruins that might have been drawn by Piranesi, requires a lot of stuff to unlock its secrets, including chalices and mermaid’s tears. (Syrena’s less teary, more predatory sisters, by the way, can turn into shark-like vampire-mermaids who attack pirates and sailors at will.) And eventually, we make the scene that Ponce de Leon couldn’t.

That’s a lot of characters and a lot of exposition, all devised by the series’ constant screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, and repeated by their characters so lucidly and often that you‘ll never forget them. There’s also a lot of slashing swordfights, sea-going adventuring, rum-soaked escapades, and dives off cliffs, plus dashing romancing and swishbuckling antics by Jack. Jack’s designated godfather and role model, the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards, shows up again as Captain Teague; we still await the appearance of Mick Jagger as Edward Morgan, Charlie Watts as Francis Drake and Ronnie Wood as Long John Silver.

But one thing, this “Pirates” does have, despite its chaotic swordfights, is narrative clarity. If you don’t make unreasonable demands on it, it’s fun.

Rob Marshall, who’s taken over directorial duties from Gore Verbinski (last seen cavorting with Depp in their spoof Leone-ish western cartoon Rango), is a variable director, sometimes even inside the same movie. (Marshall didn’t win what would have been a dubious Oscar for Chicago.) But he’s brought along his production designer, John Myhre, and the whole film — despite an unusual number of scenes drenched in darkness (the oceans at night, the caverns) — has the rich luscious gleam of Hollywood rampant.

As for the acting, the actors all seem to be having fun with their lines and parts, and it’s an inordinately deep and talented cast. (Have you ever seen McNally in Poldark?) The key to the tone is Depp, and even if he may be getting too used to this part, and even a little tired of it, he still can give Jack the right airy lift and playfulness. Cruz is also the kind of pirate lass to make you dream of doubloons and triploons, and McShane a suitable dastard of a bastard.

Actors don’t always have to be play at their highest levels of creativity and invention, though it’s nice when they do. I took a peek the other night at a scene or two of Depp’s Hunter Thompson in Terry Gilliam’s movie of Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and I was amazed at how much the actor was able to transform himself into a man so original and eccentric, and so unlike himself. (Ditto for Benicio Del Toro as that film‘s “Dr. Gonzo,” the “Samoan attorney.”) It’s obvious Depp could do more than Jack on screen, master far more complex actor‘s challenges — but he wouldn’t necessarily please and delight audiences as much.

Twenty or thirty years from now, the Depp of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and Dead Man will be more appreciated than he is now. But Captain Jack Sparrow will still be entertaining movie audiences, even if, by then, they’ve become nostalgia buffs. They’ll probably still like this new “Pirates,” or part of it, even if, like me, those same audiences forget most of it fairly soon after enjoying it, and leaving it.

See it in 2D, by the way. That may eventually become a mantra.

Box Office Hell — May 20

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Our Players|Coming Soon|Box Office Prophets|Box Office Guru|EW|Box Office . com
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides|91.5|88.0|98.0|93.0|92.0
Thor |18.0|n/a|20.0|17.5|18.0
Fast Five |11.5|n/a|12.0|12.0|11.5
Priest 3D|6.1|n/a|n/a|6.0|6.0

Critics Roundup — May 20

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides|Red|Yellow|||
Midnight in Paris|Green|Yellow|||
Louder than a Bomb|||Yellow||

Tearing Up Over The Mermaids Of POTC:OST

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Tearing Up Over The Mermaids Of POTC:OST

POTC: Die Trying

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

On Stranger Tides: A Sneak Peek

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Super Bowl Trailers: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

Pictures of Stranger Tides

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

On Stranger Tides with Captain Jack Sparrow

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

On Stranger Tides with Captain Jack Sparrow

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Captain Jack announces Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides …