"It's a pity they died in the end, cause they could have gone on forever."
So said Robert Redford in reference to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, their iconic characters in the movie of the same name.
The producers of this storied franchise (which, word has it, was meant to be filmed in the renowned pirate haven in Port Royal) have long since skipped over that little hurdle and, with the global box office continuing to reward them, they have thus continued to spin out this "sprightly" mix of pirate legend and "macabre-lite"
In the midst of the swashbuckling and mast-trimming is Johnny Depp as Capt Jack Sparrow . In the opening 10 minutes alone, he jumps, swoops, slashes, butts and skulks his way through loads of the King's soldiers and other adversaries, including his old foe, Barbossa.
Not long after, they head off on separate ships in search of the fabled Fountain of Youth intimated by Ponce de Leon. Sparrow ends up with a flame from his past (Penelope Cruz) who purports to be the daughter of "pirate of all pirates" Edward "Black Beard" Teach. Teach is, of course anxious to get hold of the eternal youth elixir as his years are fading. And, of course there are complications. Chief among them, mermaids, whose tears are required for elixir. The ladies of the sea (which include Jamaican beauty queen Sanya Hughes) have their own intentions: lure the men with their beauty and song and then drag them to the bottom for lunch...or supper.
Rob Marshall ("Nine", "Chicago") steps in at the helm for Gore Verbinski (who collaborated with Depp to such great effect on the previous Pirate movies as well as this year's "Rango") brings his Ziegfeldian sense of production numbers to this outing - especially in the mermaid scenes - but fortunately retains much of the sense of fun that hallmarks the franchise.
Ultimately though, as 2 hours +, this instalment, while still fun, is simply too long. Sure the characters could go on forever - just not in one movie.