Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides [Blu-Ray] Rob Marshall

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides [Blu-Ray] Rob Marshall
While imperfect – doting on stylization to compensate for screenplay shortcomings rather than finding a clever and concise way to propulsively steamroll past– Gore Verbinski (the director of the first three Pirates films) understood the demands of the big budget adventure film. Maximizing expansive cinematic shots, adding variety to locations and capturing the tension and focus of any given action sequence with astute coverage conscious of audience thrills, he knew how to make a movie vibrant on the big screen while playfully handling character exchanges and dynamics with a keen eye on reaction and the unspoken. Rob Marshall (the director of Chicago and Nine) has no such concept of the cinematic eye, making two adaptations of stage musicals that literally looked like filmed stage musicals on cheap sets without any awareness that the audience was face-to-face with the screen rather than at the back of an auditorium. Why anyone thought Marshall would make a good director for a swashbuckling adventure movie is beyond me. But someone hired him and the result is a $250 million dollar blockbuster movie that looks like a cheap piece of crap, with amateurish action coverage, somewhat akin to Uwe Boll's In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. It's a shame, since the actual script recaptures much of the whimsy of the original, having a straightforward story where Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) winds up on Blackbeard's (Ian McShane) ship after evading prison with Angelica (Penelope Cruz), an ex-nun he corrupted. While Sparrow and Angelica bicker, battle and play mind games, Blackbeard sets course with a ship full of zombies to find a mermaid's tear, which is the key to the fountain of youth. Despite the witty banter and cleverly conceived action sequences, Marshall's blind direction confusedly stumbles around the sets, proving the exact same backgrounds for entire half-hour sequences, making the act of watching On Stranger Tides quite tedious. Even the scene where they discover the comely mermaids, only to discover how vicious they are, holds no power, given that the three interchanging shots exacerbate the indoor set posing as the ocean. It's just a shame that studio execs still haven't managed to figure out that great theatre directors tend to make crappy film directors. The Blu-Ray includes a "Disney Second Screen" feature, wherein you match up your iPad or computer to the film to unlock exclusive content, along with a commentary with Marshall and producer John DeLuca that sheds no light on much of anything except the little dog they brought with them to the sound studio. There are also some Lego Animated shorts, which have better direction than the film, and a standard blooper reel. (Buena Vista)