Depp back on high seas for latest ‘Pirates’ flick

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Depp back on high seas for latest ‘Pirates’ flick

CANNES, France - Johnny Depp swung back into his iconic Captain Jack Sparrow role Saturday at the Cannes premiere of “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” the latest chapter in the lucrative franchise.

Three years after “At World’s End,” Sparrow embarks on a quest to find the Fountain of Life while also trying to square his feelings for a mysterious woman from his past, Penelope Cruz’s Angelica, essentially his female double.

The film is shot in 3-D, the perfect format for the obligatory cutlass swinging and sword stabbing from which pirates make a living, and sees rival English, Spanish and pirate ships racing to track down the magical elixir of youth.

Sparrow’s gold-toothed walking haberdashery is true to form, the corners of his mouth and eyes twitching as he plots a series of escapes from certain death and tries to learn Angelica’s neat trick of “lying by telling the truth.”

The story takes us from the muddy cobbled streets of 18th-century London - where Angelica is trying to raise a crew for a ship and Sparrow is facing execution - across the seas to lush Caribbean islands.

The film rollicks along, action scenes alternating with tete-a-tetes and plenty of laughs, including relatively subtle jokes aimed at adults, such as Sparrow’s deadpan “I agree with the missionary’s position.”

Depp swings into an aristocratic Judi Dench’s coach to nibble her ear and make off with her jewelry - “Is that it?” cries the grand dame of British acting as the dashing buccaneer makes off.

And Rolling Stone Keith Richards, whose idiosyncratic demeanor and speech is often cited as the inspiration for Depp’s portrayal of Sparrow, makes a cameo appearance as the pirate’s father.

“Does this face look like it’s been touched by the water of life?” the wizened rock star growls at his son in a dimly lit tavern.

Young French actress Astrid Berges-Frisbey plays a mermaid who can’t quite bring herself to drag sailors to the bottom of the sea, and Ian McShane plays the fearsome Blackbeard. Geoffrey Rush returns as Captain Barbossa.

The series has already brought in $2.6 billion, a figure producer Jerry Bruckheimer describes as “wonderful,” and the film leaves the door for another installment open wide enough for further billions to be made.

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