Reviewed by GREG KING
Director: Rob Marshall
Stars: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Ian McShane, Richard Griffith, Penelope Cruz, Sam Claflin.
Johnny Depp returns for the fourth time as the foppish pirate Captain Jack Sparrow in a film that is only marginally more enjoyable than the overblown and bloated Pirates 3.
Rob Marshall, who is better known for musicals like Chicago, etc, has been brought aboard to revamp the franchise, but wisely he doesn’t tamper too much with the winning formula. There is still plenty of swashbuckling action and a healthy dose of the supernatural, with a crew comprising zombie pirates and vampire mermaids.
Sparrow is in search of the legendary fountain of youth, and is forced into an uneasy alliance with the notorious pirate Edward Teach (Ian McShane), better known as Blackbeard, and his daughter Angeline (Penelope Cruz), with whom he has a history. Meanwhile, Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush, channelling Robert Newton from the classic Treasure Island) has become a privateer under the command of the foppish King George (Richard Griffith), and he too is on the search for the fountain of youth. He is also after revenge on Blackbeard.
As with many other big budget blockbusters of late, many of the key action sequences and the visual effects of Pirates have been retro-fitted for 3D in post production. This adds little to the movie itself. This time Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightley have not returned, but their absence hardly registers.
Marshall is also aware that Depp’s swaggering performance as Sparrow is the heart and soul of the series, and he gives him plenty of room to move. Cruz brings a feisty quality to her role. McShane, who is so good in Deadwood, manages to bring a more comic book quality to his role as the treacherous Blackbeard.