The formidable Pirates of the Caribbean franchise raises its “Jolly Roger” once more and sets sail for the fourth time on May 20. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, more casually known as Pirates 4, is the much anticipated continuation of the popular Captain Jack Sparrow saga.
Captain Jack is leaner in this go-around. Gone are the distractingly good looks and even more distracting storyline of Orlando Bloom’s Will Turner and Keira Knightly’s Elizabeth Swan. In their place, Captain Jack partners with Angelica, the exotically beautiful and adventurous daughter of the evil pirate, Blackbeard.
Played by Penélope Cruz, Angelica is Sparrow’s equal in nearly every way. She is the franchise’s first female pirate and is as cunning and tricky as Sparrow. Captain Jack and Angelica both discover that they seek the same goal—to find The Fountain of Youth—and that to do so, they must work together. Of course, that is easier said than done.
Cruz describes the often fiery relationship between Captain Jack and Angelica as a clever “dance with dialogue.” They share a questionable past and you know how Captain Jack’s past always comes back to haunt him. Angelica forces Jack onto Blackbeard’s ship, the “Queen Anne’s Revenge.” Then Jack, reluctantly at first, and Angelica begin the quest for the elusive Fountain. “The whole time,” explains Cruz, “they are tricking each other but at the same time, they are helping each other.”
Angelica gets Captain Jack’s attention, and respect, in part because of her lineage, but also because she can go toe-to toe with him. Who wouldn’t respect the sword-wielding daughter of the most feared pirate of all time?
And, yes, Captain Jack and Angelica, as they say in pirate parlance, “cross swords.” As it turns out, the “dance” Cruz refers to is not limited to dialogue alone. Cruz prepared for her fight scenes by training for several months before shooting began. Cruz and director Rob Marshall approached these scenes as a highly choreographed dance number. Swords, indeed, are an integral part of Angelica and Captain Jack’s relationship. At one point, Angelica asks Captain Jack, “How is it we cannot meet without you pointing something at me?”
Pirates 4 returns the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise to the stand alone spirit of the original Pirates movie. If you thought the plots of Pirates 2 and Pirates 3 were too complicated, you are not alone.
“I felt if we were going to do a 4,” explains Captain Jack’s creator, Johnny Depp, “that more than anything we owed the audience a fresh start, without all the complicated mathematics of 1 colliding with 2 and 2 colliding with 3.”
“I think the story is more simplified,” Depp says. “Things are a little bit more clear-cut in Pirates 4 and it really feels like it’s close to the spirit of the first one.”
Returning from the original Pirates trilogy is Kevin McNally as Captain Jack’s right hand man, Joshamee Gibbs and Geoffrey Rush as Jack’s arch-enemy, Captain Hector Barbossa. Also returning as Jack’s rebellious father, Captain Teague, is Rolling Stones guitarist, Keith Richards.
Do Captain Jack and Angelica reach The Fountain of Youth? I’d be cursed if I told you, so I won’t. One thing is for sure, though…there will be much pillaging, plundering, rifling and looting along the way.
Contributed by: John Marchese (NDD#172) John is the DDL Media Relations Blogger.