Film and TV

Pirates of the Caribbean 4: Five great actors that phoned in iconic roles for terrible sequels

Johnny Depp gotta eat. And pay his mortgage. And Disney pays very well. Maybe that explains why he looks so thoroughly bored in the new Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, opening tomorrow. Captain Jack Sparrow was endearing because he felt, in many ways, like Depp's id run amok -- a swashbucking troublemaker that pretended to be far less capable than he was, Depp's portrayal of Sparrow scared the hell out of Disney execs. Upon the film's release, however, he was immediately granted the status of icon, giving everyone in the world a whole new character to do bad impersonations of (see: Austin Powers). Now he feels like a tired creation, hampered by studio choices (quick, prove he's not gay via a liberal application of Penelope Cruz!) and begrudgingly brought to life by a great actor going through the motions. Depp wouldn't be the first to do so, nor will be the last, and at least he can go to sleep at night comfortable in the knowledge that he's among (some) truly great company (and surrounded by money).
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Tim Davids