Johnny Depp is back as Capt. Jack Sparrow who finds himself in deep water when he meets up with Blackbeard’s daughter

Johnny Depp is back as Capt. Jack Sparrow who finds himself in deep water when he meets up with Blackbeard’s daughter

Aisle Seat: Time to give ol’ Jack the boot

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: Two and a half stars out of five.

  • May. 27, 2011 5:00 p.m.

With the latest Pirates of the Caribbean currently sailing through every conceivable multiplex on the planet, fans are able to give a fond send-off to Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow, one of the more entertaining characters to emerge on the big screen in decades.

And yes, I am aware that On Stranger Tides sets up what looks to be yet another sequel for the franchise. It’ll make money, but from a critical standpoint, it’s not exactly a winsome proposal.

See, with this, the fourth Pirates adventure (and let’s not forget, for the love of Jolly Roger, the whole thing is based on a theme park ride), the series isn’t washed up, but it’s definitely waterlogged. Depp is always fun to watch, but the movie around is a bit yo ho… yawn.

Thus, my optimistic, but highly unlikely, wish: Do the right thing, Johnny. Hang up them pirate boots.

The first of the Pirates movies not directed by Gore Verbinski (and, given the bloated ball of confusion that was 2007’s At World’s End, perhaps that’s not such a bad thing), On Stranger Tides has Rob Marshall (Chicago, Nine) at the helm. Good thing this movie is full of sequins, flamboyant choreography and a whole lot of eyeliner (and here, it’s the guys wearing it) cause, coming off musicals, Marshall is more than at home with that stuff.

This time around, Jack is sailing solo, leaving Will Turner and Ms. Swann on shore (both Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley sit this sequel out) to search for the infamous fountain of youth.  The returning Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and new baddie Blackbeard (Ian McShane) are also after the prize, as is a former lover of Jack’s, Angelica (Penelope Cruz).

Oh, and did I mention there are killer mermaids? Not your usual Disney cuddles, but admittedly kinda fun.

Unfortunately, On Stranger Tides is a whole lot of been-there, seen-that.

Marshall finds opportunities to add a little extra swash to the buckle, especially in an early scene involving a royal dining hall with just enough chandeliers, staircases and empty balconies to have a nifty, old fashioned sword fight.

And the players do, with relentless giddiness. If only that energy could’ve carried over for the remainder of the long, long two hours. I mean, if not for that mermaid battle, this sequel would’ve sunk like Captain Jack’s ship, which, by the way, is now stuck in a bottle. (See now why another episode is likely?)

The feature is currently playing at Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.

–– Jason Armstrong is the movie reviewer for The Morning Star. His column, Aisle Seat, runs every Friday and Sunday.