Watch: 'Pirates 4' trailer promises Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz, mermaids, zombies, and more
If I had been back from Austin in time this morning, I would have gone to Disneyland to see the crazy party that Disney threw for the premiere of the "Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" trailer. How do I know it was crazy if I wasn't there? Because it's Disney, and when they want to impress upon you that something of theirs is an event, there's no one who can do it bigger. And in the case of this particular film, Disney's making one of the biggest bets they've ever made as a studio, and seeing it pay off is of utmost importance.
After all, Gore Verbinski was the director of all three of the "Pirates Of The Caribbean" films, and he's just as much a part of their success as Johnny Depp's work as Captain Jack Sparrow is. The films are all, even if you're not crazy about how overstuffed they get, remarkably built pop entertainments. That sort of stuff doesn't come natural to every filmmaker, and I'm interested to see how Rob Marshall does with the responsibility of transforming this from a trilogy of hugely successful films into an ongoing franchise for the studio. RIght now, that's still a hypothetical proposition, even if I was able to confirm recently that they're planning to shoot the fifth and sixth films in the series next year in Hawaii. For now, though, they've got Marshall's name front and center in the trailer for what it's worth, and they're counting on him to figure it out.
This trailer would suggest that they are determined to try everything in their quest to turn this into an ongoing concern. Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane are the two new main players onscreen, and I'm pretty much on the record in my shameless worship of Cruz. Her making two hours of thinly veiled boner jokes with Depp while she wears various cleavage-emphasizing pirate outfits sounds like $15 worth of entertainment to me, and the fact that she's actually a pretty canny comic actress in addition to being spectacularly plush is promising. Ian McShane seems like a lovely complement to Geoffrey Rush, returning as Barbossa, and Blackbeard seems like a natural fit to what they've already done in the series.
It's more interesting to me to see how they're expanding on the idea of the supernatural in the world of these movies. The original trilogy dealt with a very specific set of creatures and rules, ghosts and curses and Davy Jones, all of it tied together. Now it looks like we're moving on to mermaids and zombies and the Fountain of Youth, meaning there are some different opportunities this time, and also indicating that pretty much anything goes with these movies. If that's the case, I hope they push for very different mythologies in all the different oceans and seas around the world.
Yahoo! has the exclusive trailer premiere today, so you can head over there and check it out in HD or check out their embed below. It looks like the exact sort of fun that's already tallied up about a billion worldwide, and I have a feeling this is going to be sort of omnipresent this summer.
"Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" opens May 20, 2011.