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The Amazing Race: Pirates of the Carribbean

Does Pirates of the Caribbean: On Strange Tides make it to the Fountain of Youth?

By Barika Taheer Edwards

The third weekend of May is what I call the “Golden Film Weekend” (it’s also my birthday weekend) because it’s the unseemingling best weekend to open highly anticipated, re-mastered and/or prequel films- like Star Wars. This is the weekend that starts the Summer Blockbuster season and studios are paws out with the “money, money, money” gesture waiting for it all to will rain in. Now money is one thing, but becoming a lasting film, the type you want to save to share with your children’s kids, is something entirely different. Classics or cult-classics are few to none these days, one that is a must for movie fans video (or albeit desktop computer file) shelf.

Some New and Some Old: In this Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Strange Tides returns to the style of storytelling that worked so well in the first film…

Penelope Cruz joins Pirates of the Caribbean with Johnny Depp, Geoffry Rush, and Kevin McNally

Disney has struck summer fever before with its swashbuckling tale but the question remains will the Pirates of the Caribbean series bask in the fountain of youth again. Yes and a resounding “Aye Captian” it does.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Strange Tides returns to the style of storytelling that worked so well in the first film that was a bit lost in the later installments. It’s refreshing that it solely does not dependent on expensive CGI to keep you captivated. Although, I still cringe remembering the oddity of the white screen wasteland in Pirates 3.

Duo, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swan (Keira Knightley) have set sail to for their own tales that you’ll just have to imagine. However, Johnny Depp reprises his Academy Award nominated/SAG Award winning role as Captain Jack Sparrow, along with . Geoffery Rush (Captain Barbossa) Kevin McNally (Gibbs) and Keith Richards (Jack’s Dad).

The Set-up

… the Pirates version of the Amazing Race is on.

Jack has found Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth and has lost his ship, again, since we’ve last saw him. And his mischief brings new swashbuckling adventures and there is a lot of swashbuckling to be had.

King George (Richard Griffiths) now has no qualms about pirates, as long they enlist into the Royal Navy and beat the Spanish to the mystical fountain. Enter stage right, Captain Barbossa (Rush) who is ready at the helm, dutifully letting go of his pirating ways to join the civilized.

Jack Sparrow attempts to comandeer ship, again, but find himself commandeered by his scorned lover, Angelica (Penelope Cruz) onto the notorious Blackbeard’s ship. Angelica is scorned rightfully so, Jack plucked her innocence in a Spanish Convent and with good pirate morals forgot all about her. Hmm, remember Theseus?

New Terrorist of the Sea

… the untrustworthy bad guy that has to be befriended and keeps you at the edge of your seat.

Ian McShane as Blackbeard

Blackbeard, who is the latest terrorist on the seas, is an evil sadist and practitioner of black magic who must find the fountain before a fortnight to outlive the man who has been prophesied to kill him.

Now with Jack on board with the route, prophecies, pirates codes broken, the riled English on their tails and the spunky girl on the ship, the Pirates version of the Amazing Race is on.

Pack with action that rivals, Shakespeare’s Henry the Sixth, director, Rob Marshall brings it all together for a thrilling, fun film that I could not stop smiling through. The pull and tug chemistry between Depp and Cruz is excellent. Sunburnt Geoffery Rush and Ian McShane (Blackbeard) are an excellent duo, superbly playing the untrustworthy bad guy that has to be befriended and keeps you at the edge of your seat.  And for those Orlando Bloom fans, Sam Claflin is wonder as, Philip, the captured missionary. Claflin fills in the blanks (left by Bloom & Knightly) of the complicated young-love-affair subplot of previous Pirates films as he falls in love with a mermaid.

Still of Astrid Berges-Frisbey and Sam Claflin in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Photo by Peter Mountain – © Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Although I love Will Turner and Elizabeth Swans storyline. The little replacement sub-story of non-pirates caught in the mix helps you to say “Wilizabeth who?”

I saw the Pirates of the Caribbean: The Black Pearl  (part 1) while in college and I precisely remember remarking how it hit all the classic film points that The Princess Bride had: action, love and comedy, romance, witty written characters and frenemies that you can’t quite trust from your audience chair. All they while, you really can’t be a stick in the mud and not smile.

I highly recommend Pirates of the Caribbean: On Strange Tides as you kick off your summer blockbuster film season. The question remains, will there be a Pirates 5 and more that will maintain eternal life or until the Academy gives Johnny Depp his Oscar for the role he has literally tatoo with appreciation on his sleeve. My guess, We’ll we most likely will find out two weeks from now. Hints left at the end of the credits.

More Summer Films to Come

Tune in to the Artsy Fartsy Show, Tuesdays at 2pm EST on WBAI 99.5FM for my Summer 2011 Film Season Preview. Visit Artsyfartsyshow.com to listen via the web.