In the fourth installment of the popular movie series Plunderers of the Caribbean, Jesse Depp (Edmund’s Hands Are Scissors) joins forces with spicy Latino newcomer Penelope Cruise, cousin of Grammy award-winning actor Thomas Cruise (This Mission’s Impossible and Barry MacGuire). While she doesn’t jump on any couches in her debut as the leading lady scalawag, she makes this film a delight to watch! When I heard that the series would continue without pirate stalwarts Kiara Knighthood and Orlando Blooms (Lore of the Ring), I confess I was slightly worried that this feature would fail to capture the hearts of moviegoers in the way its predecessors did.
I needn’t have fret! With relentless action and witty banter from the opening scene to its final moments, Plunderers of the Caribbean: Here Come Strange Tides doesn’t disappoint.
Captain Jack Sbarro (Depp), always yearning for adventure, opens the film with the realization that he is aging (it is his fifth movie after all). In an attempt to reverse the hands of Father Time, he decides to seek out the glory of the Fountain of Youth. No one knows exactly where the fabled Fountain lies, but as Sbarro is a “Plunderer of the Caribbean,” it can be safely assumed that its waters are somewhere in the general vicinity of the Caribbean. If not, he would be a “Plunderer of the Pacific,” but he isn’t. The British government, still a little peeved that Sbarro and Bill “Shoestring” Turner (Bloom) took Eliza Swain (Knighthood) in the first movie, send Captain Blackbeard (Rob Thomas, of “Rob Thomas and the Matchbox Twenties”) after Sbarro to thwart his ideas of immortality.
Sbarro mixes business with pleasure and he starts to see Angelica (Cruise) on the side, which makes Blackbeard even angrier. “If you’re going to go through the trouble of kidnapping Swain, at least stay faithful,” he was rumored to say. As a wedding gift to Angelica, that rascal Captain Jack tells her he’ll find her a pet mermaid, to keep her company while he’s out sailing the Seven Seas and burying treasure. Blackbeard gets wind of Jack’s idea, and in a stroke of romantic genius, decides to beat him to the punch. A lot of Blackbeard’s friends are zombies, which I thought was cool. Anyone can have ships in a pirate movie, but for there to be zombies you know the writers used their imaginations.
However, as Jack and Blacky (nickname for Blackbeard, used only by his closest friends) find out, mermaids aren’t down to be captured just for Penelope Cruise’s entertainment. They dive at members of the crews and make it pretty clear they aren’t going without a fight. This movie made me realize that Ariel in The Little Mermaid was an asshole, because she sold out her mermaid sisters and tried to become a human. She’s a traitor to legless water nymphs everywhere, and I don’t like traitors. The mermaids in this movie are kind of jerks, and they aren’t really that pretty. I don’t think the directors did their homework, because mermaids are usually really pretty. If I were directing a movie like this, I would have made sure all my facts were straight.
One of the reasons I like this movie so much is because Jesse Depp smiles so much. Nobody smiles anymore, and I like that he’s making it cool again. Nothing like a sword-wielding swashbuckler with a great sense of style and an even better set of chompers. Also, there’s a lot of comedic relief, which I need in between serious action shots. A little funny goes a long way.
There’s some spectacular scenery in the movie, and I think the production crew went down to Brazil to film the cool shots. I Google Earth’d Brazil and a lot of the coast line looked like what I saw in the movie. Could you imagine if Christopher Columbus hadn’t been an idiot and sailed the wrong way? The Native Americans would probably still be alive, ha!
Things I liked about this movie:
1. Jack the Monkey. If you didn’t catch it, there’s a monkey featured in the movies whose name is “Jack.” It’s a good-natured joke because Cap’n Jack Sbarro and the monkey have the same name, which leads to a lot of “Are you talking to me or the monkey?” moments in the film. What fun! Nothing wrong with that. Don’t worry if you didn’t realize, I’ve been classically trained in the art of film studies to recognize even the slightest nuances.
2. British hairpieces. I think this explains itself.
3. Environmentally friendly. I love that this movie shows a lot of business happening in the Gulf. That area’s been hit pretty hard recently by Mother’s Nature, and it’s nice to see it looking so nice again. Also, the use of sails cuts down on the carbon emissions that other alternative modes of transport would produce (i.e. steam engines, diesel fuel, Ford Broncos, etc.).
Things I didn’t like about Here Come Strange Tides:
1. No mermen. I think in this day and age it’s really obtuse to not include both genders in the fun. There are a ton of mermaids, but no mermen. Come on, you guys.
2. Switch up the soundtrack. I don’t like hearing the same thing over and over again, unless it’s “Rob Thomas and the Matchbox Twenties.” After four movies, it’s getting a little bit repetitive. Maybe throw in some reggae, seeing as how the movie is set in the Caribbean. Again, a little research into the native culture would have resolved this issue.
3. Sanitation. The ships in the movie, while cool looking, don’t seem to have a single lavatory on them (lavatory = bathroom). How is Sbarro supposed to do his business on the open sea if he doesn’t even have a place to squat and think? Those ships were probably gross by the end of filming, and everyone smelled like dung I bet. Gross!
Other than that, it’s a great flick! Practice your sword skills and meet me in the parking lot!