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'Pirates of the Caribbean' runs out of treasure [trailer]

December 13, 2010 |  4:34 pm

From the moment Disney began contemplating a fourth “Pirates of the Caribbean,” there was a lot of talk about how the movie would scale down in budget and scope.

Judging by the trailer, Rob Marshall's "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," which opens May 20, managed to do that without changing much about the big action sequences for which the franchise is known.

Unfortunately, Marshall doesn’t seem to have changed much else either. This time Jack Sparrow has a new quest searching for the fountain of youth, but it’s all in a very familiar context. Sparrow gets mouthy. Blackbeard swears vengeance. There’s swashbuckling, and supernatural elements, and nautical set pieces. Marshall has retained the spirit of Gore Verbinski, who directed the first three films, but without offering much reason for why there needed to be a new movie in the first place.

Should the Johnny Depp franchise have been retired after the last film, “At World’s End”? Jerry Bruckheimer has said he originally conceived ”Pirates” as a trilogy. He and Disney obviously changed their tune, but much of what’s here still just seems like the new packaging of old plotlines. The few changes that are attempted, such as swapping in Penelope Cruz for Keira Knightley, feel unconvincing. “Steady as she goes,” her character says. Too steady.

-- Steven Zeitchik




Did Disney pick a bad time to promote 'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides'?