God bless Orange Wednesdays, for bestowing 2 for 1 cinema tickets upon the world. I must have taken advantage of this offer about 13918 times, and it is definitely the main reason I remain a loyal Orange customer, considering their overpriced bills and terrible customer service.
The fourth installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean series came out yesterday, featuring a much needed change in the line up. Thankfully Jack Sparrow remained in the central role, so I could once again be treated to Johnny Depp's glorious face. But gone is the brooding Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), who we bid goodbye to in the third film, as he was doomed to serve as captain of The Flying Dutchman for the rest of his days. The whiney Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), the female lead in the trilogy, has been replaced by a much more interesting and likable character, Angelica (Penelope Cruz).
I didn't really enjoy At World's End, so I was really hoping that the casting change in On Stranger Tides would give the brand a much needed boost. Plus, it was in 3D, which is always a winner and can make an average film seem much better.
The story is based around the hunt for the elusive 'Fountain of Youth', which is being heavily contested by Barbosaa, who is no longer a pirate and is serving King George (a hilarious Richard Griffiths who resembles a pig more than a human), The Spanish and DUN DUN DUN... Blackbeard. Who is being helped by his long lost daughter, Angelica, who is also the long lost lover of Sparrow. It's a small world in the realm of pirates!
It's a treacherous journey (isn't it just always), involving zombies and mermaids. Now we're not talking the Ariel kind, these creatures aren't sweet, they don't sing, and they're not friends with crabs and fish. While they are undeniably beautiful (all being played by models) these are some angry bitches, who like nothing better than to drown a nice sailor and then devour him.
The plot is interesting and for the majority of the time makes sense, unlike the previous film which featured surreal dream sequences and a confusing story-line that left me baffled. Penelope Cruz's character injects the franchise with something fresh, and allows Johnny Depp's Sparrow a more worthy female contemporary to bounce off. The CGI of the mermaids is awesome, as is always the case with the Pirates' movies. The 3D makes for a richer, more exciting viewing experience, which emphasises the stunning scenery. While Blackbeard may not be quite the ferocious, bloodthirsty pirate that I had in mind, he is still an interesting addition to the story.
On Stranger Tides has definitely reincarnated the flailing Disney brand, and is one of the best films I've seen so far this year. My love for all things Piratey has been restored! Hello copious amounts of eyeliner and sea-salt curly hair this summer ;)