This weekend, Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides reunites us with the best Pirate there ever was: Captain Jack Sparrow and we find him as he was when we were first introduced to him in Curse of the Black Pearl. Without a ship.
As a matter of fact, we find the Captain in London going about the business of rescuing a trusted colleague and friend…himself. He also learns of a rumor that he is in London to procure a ship and a crew. Interestingly enough, it is these two events that set the film in motion, because once Jack investigates the origin of the rumor, he finds himself–yes his real self–face to face with an ex lover and eventually ends up getting shanghaied on to another pirates ship by that same ex beau. Confused? Let us make things more clear.
At the beginning of the film we are shown that the Spaniards have found the location of Ponce De Leon’s long-lost ship. Such a discovery is significant because Ponce De Leon famously claimed to have found the illusive fountain of youth. King George (Richard Griffiths) discovers Spain’s efforts to locate the fountain and attempts to lure Captain Jack Sparrow into the employ of the crown by allying him with a privateer. Naturally, Jack refuses and escapes royal custody in his own unique fashion. To quote a previous POTC movie: “Does he plan it all out, make it up as he goes along?”
Jack then arrives at a pub where he learns that someone is actually impersonating him and looking for a crew. He confronts the imposter and makes a pretty shocking discovery. An old flame of his is in town. Angelica (Penelope Cruz).
He is reunited with her only to become victim to the woman’s deviousness. She is a pirate after all. What’s worse is that poor Jack finds himself as part of the crew on another pirates ship. The one pirate all pirates fear. Edward Teach aka Blackbeard(Ian McShane). A pirate who is historically listed as the most notorious pirate of the Spanish Main during that time period.
Thus, we the audience are taken on yet another wild, exciting, and strange Pirates of the Caribbean adventure. Johnny Depp is spectacular as always in his role as Captain Jack Sparrow. Kevin McNally returns as Gibbs as does Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbossa.
It may already have been said, but Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides has to be the best Pirates film ever. It helps that the story is not too complex and there is more focus on Jack Sparrow; a benefit of the central plot not being the romance between a young blacksmith and the Governor’s daughter. There is a small amount of romance, but it serves as a contrast to Blackbeard’s evil. Another noticeable difference is a decidedly small amount CGI which really allows for the more human elements to play out.
In short. Go see Pirates of the Caribbean:On Stranger Tides. It is most certainly worth it. Oh and it has mermaids in it.
Rango is a one of a kind film. In fact it is such a special addition to modern cinema, that assuming it is just another computer animated movie is a fallacy. The reason is because Rango isn’t the kind of animated production that is tailored to make us laugh-though there are quite a few moments that are funny. It is simply a vehicle for telling a story. This particular story happens to be about a lizard who becomes the legendary Rango.
When first we meet Rango, there is no evidence of anything but a lonely lizard who has nothing to keep him company except his frequent day dreams.
This all changes when his terrarium is flung from the back of a car and smashes to bits. Now a free lizard, Rango is told by an old armadillo that he must find the city of Dirt before he can find his destiny. Rango arrives in Dirt after he hitches a ride with one of the locals. Rango discovers a town that is so behind that it is still in the Old West. Within the first few hours of his arrival, Rango establishes himself as a hero who killed seven outlaws with only one bullet. The tall tale earns him the admiration of the townsfolk and after he manages to dispose of a hawk that preyed on the inhabitants of Dirt he is made Sheriff.
The newly appointed law enforcement officer soon realizes that Dirt isn’t just in a drought, but doesn’t have any water at all. Determined to be the hero that he has convinced everyone he is Rango sets out to solve the water problem. Along the way he learns what a true hero is and the sacrifices he must make to be that man…or lizard.
There are a number of reasons to see Rango. One may be to hear the superb voice acting of Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty, Bill Nighy and Timothy Olyphant to name a few. Another is two view the incredibly photo realistic CGI. Whatever your reasons, Rango is the film to see because it tells the tale of how an otherwise self absorbed individual can become the selfless hero willing to protect the weak and innocent at any cost.
>Recently, I realized that it has been quite a few months since my last post or even my last review of any movies. Perhaps the culprit is the fact that going back to school and working full time has a unique way of sucking a person’s free time away. Fortunately, I have the ability to take a little time away from the rigor of online college courses and with some of that time decided to finally post a few thoughts about at three highly anticipated films released over the last four months.
Avatar had to be the most anticipated movie of 2009 and I was no different in my own excitement to see it. In my mind, the film instantly became a classic and will now be listed among director James Cameron‘s best films. Even by the third time viewing the film I could not help but be pulled into the world that Cameron created with its lush and awe inspiring visuals and storyline that parallels so many of the issues that exist out here in the real world. For this film enthusiast, there was no surprise in Avatar’s win at the Golden Globes. This is one title that I will certainly be adding to my home collection.
2012 was another film that was slated to be a huge hit at the box office, which it was and rightfully so, the special effects were nothing short of breathtaking as we watched Los Angeles literally fall to pieces and Yellowstone explode and yet, as I watched an epically gargantuan wave crest over the Alps and overwhelm a Buddhist monastery, I couldn’t help but wonder if this film was really about the disaster being depicted, or if it was more about survival of the human race. Without a doubt, the effects drew in the audience and may have been part of why we all remained glued to our seats, but it was the story of a family already struggling to survive having to overcome their differences and come together in order to escape what appeared to be certain death, that makes the film worth seeing.
The third film I’d like to mention is Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. The film itself has earned a few mixed reviews; mostly from critics and that is perhaps due to the fact that the film is not a direct interpretation of the famous Lewis Carroll stories Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Instead, we are given a story about a much older Alice who is now on the cusp of becoming a woman in society at the age of nineteen whom, when presented with the prospects of her expected future, takes a “moment” which turns into an adventure in Wonderland. Despite the mixed reviews, Alice in Wonderland is a spectacular film and Tim Burton as always, creates a unique vision of a world and invites us all for a ride and the 3D effects only help to immerse the audience in the experience that is Wonderland. If you have not seen this yet, go. It is well worth it.
With spring upon us and summer just a month or two away, I look forward to what the cinema has in store for us with such films as Prince of Persia, Avatar: The Last Air Bender and Robert Rodriguez’ Predators as well as the re-envisioned Nightmare on Elm Street. Hopefully, there will be much fun to be had at the movies this year.