Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Review

I’m trying to figure out how best to establish my views regarding the Pirates of the Caribbean series, while establishing my opinion on this single film, the fourth in the series. I think the best place to start is by saying that my favorite film in the series probably have to be the third, At World’s End. From a filmmaking stand point, yes The Curse of the Black Pearl is unquestionably the best of the series. I just have such a blast watching At World’s End that I can’t help it.

Is the film that great when looking at it with a tasteful or artistic eye, no, not really at all. The film however is fun as hell and a huge guilty pleasure of mine. I honestly believe this can be said about all the films, on a quality level, the Pirates of the Caribbean series is not great, but I love the characters, I love the wit, I love where they start, where they’re going and especially how they get there. Above all I just love watching them and I think you know where I’m going with this. The same can be said when it comes to this new feature in the series, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

In this fourth installment, you’ll find exactly the right ingredients: a fun adventure story, a good villain (a constant in this series), the best Barboosa subplot in the entire series and of course Jack Sparrow being Jack Sparrow. This film is right on par with the other Pirates of the Caribbean films and as a result, a fun time at the theater. My complaints on the film would come in the form of some screwball comedy and a dull love plot between a bible friendly crew member of Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge and a mermaid, but this is all made up for in the idea that all these characters are respected. This is made apparent in the greatest aspect of the film, a revenge plot revolving around my favorite character in this film, Hector Barbossa and Blackbeard.

All and all, if you got any enjoyment out of the three first films, it would make no sense at all to not find enjoyment out of this film. And if I didn’t state it clearly enough already, then here’s the statement again; Pirates of the Caribbean is in no way cinematic brilliance. It is however, undoubtedly one fun trip to the movies and you can’t ask for much else.

Grade: B

Cars 2 Review

Cars 2 was a film that somehow managed to be disappointing, completely expected and a blast at the same time. I will say this very early on, this is the worst Pixar movie I’ve seen. I’ve loved every Pixar movie I’ve seen except for Cars 2. Which is not to say I didn’t enjoy Cars 2, because I did and rather thoroughly, its just a Pixar film that didn’t reach the quality that every other Pixar film managed to reach.

This as I said before, completely expected. This film simply did not look nearly as amazing as any Pixar movie we’d seen before. It just wasn’t the right decision overall. This would be the sequel to virtually the worst received of all Pixar films, Cars. I loved Cars with a passion, but it can’t be denied that Cars did not get nearly as much reception as films such as The Incredibles or Up. Why make a sequel when we’re all aware you’re capable of creating beautiful originals such as Wall-E. (But don’t get me wrong, if you’re gonna continue a series with a film as flawless as Toy Story 3 then don’t let my words hold you back)

With every Pixar movie, they’ve essentially taken a very general thing (Monters, Rats, Toys, Bugs, Cars, etc.) and created some type of enthralling tale behind it. Cars 2 was essentially Pixar’s take on Spies, they just happened to throw the characters from their story about Cars into this tale and to that idea I say, why not? Just do what you do best and in this case, Pixar has unfortunately not.

That’s where the disappointment comes in. Even though, this was a little bit expected, its just downright disappointing that there actually is a Pixar film in existence now that isn’t amazing. That fact is not only disappointing, but utterly sad. With Cars 2, instead of having sweet morals and storytelling you get a film more heavy on action and attempts at jokes. And the jokes that used to be filled with brilliant wit were now corny and childish. You could certainly recognize some of that originality in its craft that you come to expect from a Pixar film, but this originality overall just wasn’t being used to its full potential. The best way to describe my take on Cars 2 would be to say that it was a pretty great animated film, but only a pretty good Pixar film.

Grade: B-


Kung Fu Panda 2 Review

The animation studios at Dreamworks have created some films to be proud of whether they be the first two Shrek’s, How to Train Your Dragon and with Kung Fu Panda as another fun animation that I can say they indeed can be proud of, I can say sincerely that Kung Fu Panda 2 had the potential to be another enjoyable animated movie. And where it did have its flaws I will say without a doubt that I had decently fun time at the movies when I watched this one.

A large factor in my rushing out to see this movie was to see Gary Oldman at work. He’s one of my favorite actors and he’s always excellent as the villain. The same could be said about his voice acting in this piece. As for everyone else, I have no complaints, their job was done. The comedic timing was on, its just the writing that wasn’t. None of the wit that you might find in other fantastic Dreamworks movies was there, but it was a children’s movie so what are you going to do? It guess its only Pixar who can manage to please all audiences.

The strength of an animation are in its endless possibilities. This is the aspect that makes both Kung Fu Panda movies so fun. The fight scenes are downright awesome because they realize they can do anything and they do, they have no limitations here and both films use this idea to their full potential. The story and the way its told is just much better in the first film making for a few dull portions when it comes to this sequel.

It was a fun film, I’m glad I saw it if at the very least to see Gary Oldman’s character connive. I think my biggest problem with the film is in its ending. I obviously won’t ruin it, but I will just say that I found it extremely out of place and a failed attempt at trying to get you excited for a sequel. Kung Fu Panda 2 was an entertaining animated film, but not one I intend on getting entertained by again.

Grade: C+