Here it is then, the first trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Join Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) as he hunts for the legendary Fountain of Youth, clashing with a woman from his past (Penelope Cruz) and formidable pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane). There won’t be any Orlando Bloom, but there will be zombies and mermaids, and maybe a Jolly Rodger too.
To all intents and purposes this looks like more of the same, despite the presence of a fresh director – Rob Marshall replacing the original trilogy’s Gore Verbinski. Neither of these points are necessarily a cause for concern. Pirates is a lively franchise, though always works best when it keeps things relatively simple, i.e. fables and fighting. A new director will hopefully signal a reprise of that early energy from The Curse of the Black Pearl.
Penny Rose is back again for costume design, instilling a typically splendid and embellished air; plenty of starched 18th century military uniforms, greatcoats with wide overlapping cuffs, loose linen shirts and big buckle shoes. Blackbeard in particular looks tremendous, although it is a shame we do not see the burning fuses he often placed beneath the brim of his three corner hat for a dramatic, smoke filled entrance. This was a man who apparently even scared his own crew. Really, however, Blackbeard was reputation more than anything else.
As Jack’s old flame Angelica, Penelope Cruz is hardly in authentic pirate guise (there were women pirates – Mary Read being probably the most famous). Angelica’s costume is sexy first and foremost, drawing attention to her curves when most female pirates would be keen to hide theirs, and some even passed as men their entire lives. Nonetheless this is Disney fun not a drama documentary, so authenticity is not the only message these costumes have to convey.
With Geoffrey Rush returning as Barbossa (now a privateer), plus Kevin McNally still loyal as Jack’s right hand man Gibbs and the highest paid screenwriters in Hollywood, Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, on scripting duties with a brand new story, Pirates of the Caribbean 4 promises, if nothing else, a high time watching cutlasses clash and flintlocks flash.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is released in digital 3D on 20th May.
© 2010 – 2012, Christopher Laverty.