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Pirates of Caribbean sail to Cannes with star crew

Johnny Depp, Ian McShane and Penelope
Cruz team up for the latest, and silliest yet, in the Pirates of the
Caribbean series. Photograph: Peter Mountain/Disney

CANNES, France,
May 14 (Reuters) - The latest instalment of the "Pirates of the
Caribbean" movie franchise laid anchor at the Cannes film festival on
Saturday, bringing with it a crew of big stars including Johnny Depp and
Penelope Cruz.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" is the fourth
film in a series which has made a fortune for Disney with a
combined global box office tally so far of $2.7 billion.

Reviews of the new chapter, which hits theatres in the
United States on May 20, have been mixed, though, and some
analysts predict it may struggle to match the impressive tallies
of previous outings even in the 3D format.

Depp said in Cannes that there would be more ahead if the
films remained popular: "If the people get tired of it or
something, that's when it stops, I think," he told a news
conference. "If people want it, I'm there."

In On Stranger Tides, the actor returns to his role as the
indomitable Captain Jack Sparrow after a gap of four years,
Australian Geoffrey Rush is back as Barbossa and Rolling Stone
Keith Richards puts in another cameo as Sparrow's father.

There are new faces, with Britain's Ian McShane portraying
the fearsome Blackbeard and Spaniard Cruz his daughter Angelica.

Once the hero escapes the clutches of the English king, he
embarks on a race to reach the Fountain of Youth.

The English and Spanish navies take on Blackbeard's magical
ship, run by giant zombie pirates and spewing flames that burn
mutineers to a cinder.

They take on vicious mermaids, who lure their victims before
bearing fangs and dragging them to the bottom of the sea.


CAREER BUILT ON FLOPS

Cruz, 37, who was pregnant while shooting the movie, said
staying young was not a personal aim, despite pressure within
the movie industry to hold back the years.

"I think birthdays are always something to celebrate," she
said. "I'm looking forward to every step of the way. Maybe
because I'm from Spain that's looked at in a different way there
than for example in a place like Los Angeles."

For Depp, the Pirates franchise has turned him into one of
Hollywood's highest earners, but he has not forgotten his roots
in commercially unsuccessful features.

"It just so happens that for 20 years or so I made these
films that were considered for the most part failures, flops,"
said the 47-year-old. "I built a career on flops so I was quite
comfortable in that arena."

Reviewers of On Stranger Tides were divided.

Trade publication Variety's Andrew Barker said it served "as
a welcome corrective, reviving the fun, feather-light frivolity
that any film based on a Disneyland ride ought to exhibit."

But Steve Rose of Britain's Guardian did not agree.

"It's a succession of ever-escalating action sequences and
grand settings. At first they're stunning, then they're routine,
then they're wearying," he said.
(Reporting by Mike Collett-White)

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