Penelope Cruz

REVIEW: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)

Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is coerced by old flame Angelica (Penélope Cruz) and her father Blackbeard (Ian McShane) into a quest to find the fountain of youth. They aren’t the only ones after it though with the Spanish and the British, led by Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), searching for it too.

While On Stranger Tides continues the trend in this franchise of having great costumes, music and set design, it unfortunately doesn’t have the fun or emotional-heft of the previous films. This may be in part as it’s the first film not to feature Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) and Will (Orlando Bloom), two central characters in the previous three films, and instead you have a new villain, new crew-mates, and a new love interest for Jack.

Blackbeard is a decent villain. He’s menacing and has a very clever ship, though this is probably down to Ian McShane’s performance more than the script. Blackbeard is set up to be a fearsome pirate but after you initially meet him, he’s not that fearsome. He’s by no means a nice guy and is incredibly selfish but he’s not terribly threatening after the initial reveal.

There’s a side romance with missionary Phillip (Sam Claflin) and mermaid Syrena (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey) that could have easily been done without. In many ways, they are both plot devices, Phillip especially, and there’s not enough insight into their character for the audience to become attached to them in anyway.

On Stranger Tides is just a bit bland. It’s moves from one event to another and because there’s no real character development nor many interesting characters full stop, the times these characters are put in danger you don’t really care. Jack Sparrow, while still a bit mad and full of plans that unbelievably work, isn’t enough to make this film enjoyable. 2/5.

P is for Penélope Cruz

art-353-Penelope-Cruz-1-300x0The best thing about Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011) was Penélope Cruz as Angelica Teach. I’ve only seen the film once but I loved everything about Angelica and her relationship with Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp).

I think the first film I saw Penélope Cruz in was Vanilla Sky (2001) which is a kind of odd but great film and I really want to see Abre Los Ojos (1997), the original Spanish film it was based on that Penélope Cruz also stars in. I think she plays the same character in both so it’d be interesting to see how the portrayals differ between each film.

Volver (2006) is an amazing Spanish film by Pedro Almodóvar. Penélope Cruz plays Raimunda a mother who is trying to look after her teenage daughter as well as dealing with the rest of her family who manly compose of women and all the problems they all have to deal with. Volver is a great film that’s both funny and surprising and Penélope Cruz is brilliant and was rightly nominated for an Oscar for her role. I really want to watch more of Pedro Almodóvar’s work and especially his films featuring Penélope – they’ve made six films together and they all sound great.