On Stranger Tides: Watered-Down Rum but Rum Nonetheless : THE FRONT PAGE ONLINE

The Hollywood blockbuster has always been vulnerable to film’s version of shock-and-awe: Too much is never enough. After their previous entry in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, the entertaining but ultimately exhausting and overstuffed At World’s End, screenwriters Terry Rossio and Ted Elliot (and other filmmakers) take mercy on our senses and return to the focused storytelling of the film that started it all, The Curse of Black Pearl. It’s all relative, of course, and this fourth film — “suggested” by Tim Powers’ imaginative novel On Stranger Tides (from which the film takes its title and a few ideas, but that’s about it) — doesn’t fully abandon the bigger is better approach. Although Rosso and Elliot saddle Johnny Depp’s already larger-than-life Captain Jack Sparrow with mermaids, zombies, Blackbeard and the Fountain of Youth, at least this time the script doesn’t feel like the product of a kid’s attention deficit in a candy store.

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