Pirates of the Caribbean: Live Forever or Die Trying

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Johnny Depp returns yet again as Captain Jack Sparrow in the latest of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, On Stranger Tides. This time around he is accompanied by Spanish beauty Penélope Cruz as they team up to find the mystical fountain of youth. This movie is, according to the film trailer, “not the destination but the journey”. And what a journey it is as the couple encounter festering zombies, beautiful-yet-deadly mermaids, Black Beard (the pirate all pirates fear) and perhaps worst of all, the might of the British government.
The film draws inspiration from the Tim Powers novel On Stranger Tides, which was written in the 1980s and tells the exploits of an orphaned man’s search for his family fortune when it’s taken to America by his greedy uncle. Along the way he encounters an old love and a mutinous crew as their ship is taken over by pirates. Depp’s character is to take shape around the protagonist of the novel, John Chandagnac; however, he is sure to have his own quirky Jack Sparrow spin.

Making film news pages for being curiously absent from the movie are two of the driving characters of the past three movies, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swan (Keira Knightley). The three-way love affair between the two and Sparrow, which has been a central theme in the series thus far, is giving way in the next instalment to the pirate’s brush with his past in Penélope Cruz.
This is probably an attempt to diversify the plot in order to reach a wider audience and to retain those who are left from the previous three movies. The last film, Dead Man’s Chest, was met with extremely mixed film reviews: many tore it apart for being too complex to follow and an example of beating a dead horse. Fans, however, responded in an overwhelming way to make it the third largest worldwide opening weekend of all time. While it may not have won many awards, the film earned itself plenty of news coverage because it made obscene amounts of money, grossing behind only Spider-Man 3 and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

Depp has an unbelievably full schedule on his hands with the recent release of Rango, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides coming soon and The Rum Diary in post-production, and five other films he appears in to debut within the next year. It is doubtful, however, that he overlooked the importance of this role: it’s poised to catapult him back into the hearts of millions of viewers worldwide.

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