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Pirates of the Caribbean 4

On Stranger Tides

Aye, mateys, Pirates of the Caribbean 4, released on May 20th 2011 is based on the 1987 novel by puckering privateer Tim Powers, "On Stranger Tides", that gives the movie its subtitle. With the scurvy dog's story's quest being a search for the Fountain of Youth, you're sure to hear it said, "...and that's just what this Pirates franchise needs."


Not true ye scallywags. Captain Jack Sparrow has lost none of his pirate charm and charisma with the passage of moons on the high seas and Johnny Depp's character is as fresh and as likeable in this fourth movie in the series as the day he first swashbuckled onto our screens.

After four long years in pirate purgatory, it's as if Jack's never been away. Now thee is back and although there are those he and she-devils who'll bemoan the departure of Will (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth (Keira Knightley), there are new characters aplenty to make up for absent souls. With Angelica (Penelope Cruz) as Captain Jack's revived love interest from the past and Blackbeard (Ian McShane) as his deadliest nemesis, you'll soon forget who's missing in action. Oh, and take heart, the twist is that Angelica also happens to be Blackbeard's darling daughter and first mate. True Pirates fans (not the kind from Pittsburgh) will welcome them with open arms and hooks.

Even the crustiest old peg leg will warm to the occasional endearing outburst from Blackbeard such as, "Kill 'em all!" or, "If I don't kill a man now and then, they forget who I am." As McShane says, "We don't call them bad men any more, we call them complicated characters, interesting people with difficult childhoods." Obviously, some more difficult than others. Luckily for daughter Angelica, her real-life sister (Monica Cruz) was available to stand in for the (real-life) pregnant Penelope in the full length body shots. The last thing you want to see is Jack Sparrow chasing a mum-to-be on screen (and of course for some scallywags with no moral fiber this is the first thing they want to see). Speaking of moral fiber I get my daily dose by eating a bowl of blood and oats before sunup.

Pirates of the Caribbean 4 is also released in Disney Digital 3D at certain venues and given the pace at which 3D is rocketing ahead, you'll find the quality is stunning (better than all the gold and jewels in Davy Jones' Locker), with loads of action shots to keep you jumping around in your seat. From the escape from the Tower of London on a coach and horses, to the encounters with Blackbeard's zombie officers, and the mermaids, this is a real action packed pirate movie, filmed with up to the minute cinematic technology (with a few old school parrots thrown in) and a worthy addition to the franchise series. True to form, the rug rats will love the film as much as the grown-up pirate wanna bees, with nothing in there to upset the little ones (well, not too much) but enough double entendres to keep the adults happy.

Captain Teague Sparrow, Jack's father is played once again by Rolling Stone Keith Richards, the inspiration behind Depp's original Sparrow character. In a pirates banter with his dad, Jack asks if he's ever been to the Fountain of Youth. Silly question, of course. "Does this face look like it's been to the Fountain of Youth?" says Teague.

Jack tells him it depends on the light. This is the kind of silly arse humor that dominates the movie, keeping it lighthearted throughout the rough and tumble.

Pirates of the Caribbean 4 has a new director, Rob Marshall, who says there's a whole new cast of characters, and it's a whole new storyline. Yet the look and feel of the series is maintained by the stalwarts, the anchors - Jack Sparrow, Joshamee Gibbs (Kevin McNally) and Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush). Underpinning this continuity is the musical score by Hans Zimmer and the screen writing once again by Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio.

Me recommend that thee see it now with the whole family. Otherwise thee may face a hook and a pillow in the middle of the night. Or yours truly just may have to lay me dead parrot in thee bed and won't that be a sight to wake up to?

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