"It's a completely different beast," said "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" scribe Terry Rossio of the fourth film in Disney's seafaring franchise.
Not only is the latest installment being described as a stand-alone with regard to plot, one not significantly interwoven with story lines past, but a new director is now in charge (Rob Marshall has replaced three-time helmer Gore Verbinski) and familiar stars Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom are nowhere to be seen.
So yes, the new film represents a break with the past, but "On Stranger Tides" is hardly an unrecognizable creature, as the brand-new trailer makes clear. It's got swashbuckling battles, don't-take-us-too-seriously-this-is-Disney-after-all laughs and, of course, Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow as the hippest cat on the high seas. Here are our picks for the trailer's five coolest moments:
We got our first official look at Penélope Cruz in "Pirates" last week. Now, as we see her swinging a sword, sailing a ship and harassing Jack Sparrow in two languages, we know she's going to be a worthy adversary and love interest for the Captain. Her line reading toward the end of the trailer — "How is it we can never meet without you pointing something at me?" she asks — is a perfect example of how she'll toe the line between adversary and paramour.
We missed you, buddy! Though the action takes place in the 1750s, Sparrow is a very 21st-century sort of hero, variously brave or petrified, jokey or focused, as the occasion demands, and self-aware at every turn. He'll fight — zombies, mermaids, evil pirates — but only with devil-may-care style and a keen sense of moral rectitude. His quest here is to locate the Fountain of Youth, as well as to further cement his legacy in the Pirate Hall of Fame.
Cruz isn't the only new pirate in "Pirates." Played by Ian McShane, Blackbeard is, according to Sparrow, "the pirate all other pirates fear." He also happens to be Cruz's dad and is on the same quest as Jack: find the Fountain of Youth. And according to Blackbeard, either they both succeed or they both fail. "If I don't make it to the Fountain, neither will you," he says.
A look at Rolling Stones rock god Keith Richards done up in his pirate gear is worth the price of admission, and Disney was kind enough to drop in a few seconds of the guy in the first trailer. Reprising his role as Captain Teague from the previous installment, Richards delivers some weighty advice to his son Jack: "Don't be a fool, Jackie. The Fountain will test you." The guy has been to hell and back again, so perhaps Sparrow should listen to daddy, no?
With Marshall in the director's chair and new to the world of action-oriented franchise films, some may have worried that "On Stranger Tides" would suffer from a dearth of high-adrenaline exploits. This trailer should disabuse you of that notion. Explosions are unleashed, nasty creatures attack and swords clank at every turn. The flick's May 20 release date can't come soon enough. It's only — sigh — 157 days away.
Check out everything we've got on "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides."
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