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Trailer Breakdown: PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN - ON STRANGER TIDES

Earlier today, a second trailer was released for the upcoming sequel, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. I had originally meant to do a trailer breakdown for the first official trailer, but seeing as this new one has been released, I got myself a-thinkin'. Perhaps I could break down both trailers simultaneously in the same post? So, for your viewing and reading pleasure, I give you the first two official trailers for the next installment of the Jack Sparrow saga:

Trailer #1

Trailer #2

As per usual, I came up with a few questions that I can either answer or would like to be answered upon the film's release.

How will Rob Marshall's direction fare in comparison to the previous three films in the series?
After directing the first three films in the franchise, Gore Verbinski chose to step away from Pirates in order to work on other films (including the recent release, Rango). Rob Marshall was chosen as his replacement, and the immediate reaction was anything but wholly positive. He's the Oscar-nominated director of films like 2002's Chicago and 2009's Nine, but the musical aspect of those films led some Internet fanboys to wonder whether the newest Pirates adventure might actually turn into a silly song-and-dance number. I personally would like to give Marshall a little more credit than that, but it does remain to be seen whether his direction will change the very tone of the franchise.

We're going to the Fountain of Youth, savvy?
This shouldn't be much of a surprise considering Jack Sparrow was making his getaway with a

map to the Fountain the last time we saw him. It left the door open for another film, giving us a general direction in which it may be headed. With a screenplay loosely based on Tim Powers' 1987 novel On Stranger Tides, which focuses on a potential quest for the Fountain, we could be in for quite a treat in terms of actual screenplay.

How will the additions of Penélope Cruz and Ian McShane affect the on-screen dominance that Johnny Depp has created in the franchise?
I know that the previous installments have had the likes of Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom - both fine actors in their own right - but the previous trilogy was really Jack Sparrow's show. The only one who came close to matching is screen presence was Geoffrey Rush as Captain Hector Barbossa. But now, Depp will have to deal with the likes of Oscar winner Cruz and Golden Globe winner McShane who both demand just as much of a presence as he does. It should work relatively well, but there's always the possibility that too much star power is just too much.

On that note, how will our new young lovers fare in On Stranger Tides?
We're going to have another young couple to replace the love story that the absence of dear William and dear Elizabeth will leave. I don't recognize the actor and actress off-hand, but it's pretty clear who they are in the actual trailer. Because it looks as though Depp will have his hands full with Cruz, I don't think this particular romance will be played as much to the forefront as the Will/Elizabeth story was, but it should be good for a decent and interseting sub-plot, especially if the girl happens to be a mermaid, as you can see in the second trailer.

Speaking of which, I feel like we're getting a lot of potential villainy here, and not all of it seems like it fits with a pirate story.

As Jack Sparrow explains in the first trailer, any expedition to the
Fountain of Youth will have to cross swords (pun intended) with the likes of mermaids, zombies and Blackbeard. Okay, so mermaids, I can get behind. Blackbeard makes total sense. But zombies? Yes, previous Pirates films have had their penchant for the mystical and supernatural, but the word "zombie" just doesn't seem to fit within the parameters of pirate mythology. They could make it work, but until I see it work on-screen, I'm not going to be entirely convinced with it.

What's the deal with this new scar that graces Jack Sparrow's right cheek?

In case you didn't notice - it was brutally obvious to me - Jack has a new scar in the shape of an "x" on his right cheek. I immediately wanted to know where it came from. I'm probably thinking way too hard about something so mundane, but if they don't address it at some point in the film, I think I'll be a little disappointed.

When and why did Barbossa "join the good guys" and enlist in the Royal Navy?
So this may be the most drastic change to any of the returning characters: Captain Hector Barbossa now appears to be a man of England, sailing with the Royal Navy as some type of commander. Now, there were some hints in 2007's At World's End that Barbossa may become a commodore, but that was going to be in the Jack Sparrow-led navy that apparently never came to fruition. But now Barbossa has gone from rogue buccaneer to an enlisted man? There's something fishy going on here, and I want to know what. And while I'm on the subject, what happened to his legs?! Like Sparrow's new scar, if this isn't addressed in the film, I'm going to feel gypped.

The Black Pearl makes its return, again under a new captain. This time it's Blackbeard, and Jack needs to get his beloved Pearl back.
Now, if I heard Barbossa correctly in the second trailer, I think he said that the Pearl actually mutinied on its own. He mentions that the ship's "riggin' had come to life" and the ship turned against him and its former crew, and in the aftermath, Blackbeard must have taken control. Did this perhaps bode terribly for the crew, which held a number of very likable characters? I have yet to see or hear evidence of their return in this film, so that could have been a sub-plot to eliminate their characters without ever bringing them back on-screen. This should prove to be an interesting twist. I mean, the ship itself has a life and mind of its own? It's fanciful, but within the Pirates universe, I'd believe it.

And finally, is anyone else absolutely stoked that Kevin McNally and Keith Richards are back on board for this installment?
I'm sure it was almost a given that Gibbs (McNally) would come back and play some role in this film, but the return of Captain Teague (Richards) is definitely going to be delightful. Let's hope that he gets a little more screen-time than he did in At World's End.

All in all, I could probably delve even further into these trailers and really nitpick at what may be coming for us upon the film's release on May 20. However, I'm going to leave it here. You can ponder all you want, but the fact remains: Pirates of the Caribbean is coming back, and I couldn't be more excited!