Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (PG-13) sails into theaters Friday, returning Johnny Depp to his scrawled-signature role as Capt. Jack Sparrow. And not a moment too soon.
Depp's fourth voyage into uncharted waters and limitless doubloons finds Jack searching for the Fountain of Youth, aided by his former rival Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush). Also seeking the legend is the infamous Blackbeard (Ian McShane) and his comely daughter (Penélope Cruz). Somehow zombies and mermaids are involved in the search, and we're promised this trip won't be as bumpy as At World's End.
Disney didn't screen On Stranger Tides in time for Weekend, the scurvy dogs. We'll post a review Friday at tampabay.com/features and Saturday on Etc., Page 2B.
Until then, me hearties, enjoy this fantasy throwdown among a few of our favorite movie pirates ever. We've included old-school choices, another drawn by hand, even one who sings. From an elite eight to a final four to the one who shivers our timbers most, these are buccaneers who can keelhaul us any time.
Steve Persall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (727) 893-8365.
* * *
Long John Silver (Robert Newton), Treasure Island, vs. Peter Blood (Errol Flynn), Captain Blood
Nobody could buckle a swash like Flynn, but that pageboy hairdo doesn't scream ñpirateî like Silver's peg leg and parrot on his shoulder. Plus his Alaskan pollock combo platter is mighty tasty.
Captain Hook (voice of Hans Conried), Peter Pan, vs. Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman), Hook
Not much difference in their villainy or yo-ho-hoism, but we'll take an animated pirate in a bona fide classic any day over a live actor behaving like a cartoon in a flop.
Long John Silver vs. Captain Hook, Peter Pan
Survival is a career goal for all pirates, so thems that lives are thems that wins (in a seafaring manner of speaking). Hook was gobbled by a crocodile. Silver lived to star in a TV series.
* * *
Dread Pirate Roberts (Cary Elwes), The Princess Bride, vs. The Pirate King (Kevin Kline), The Pirates of Penzance
The closest opening round matchup, down to their matching rakish mustaches. Roberts saved the day, but the King had a tougher task, mastering Gilbert & Sullivan's dizzying operetta lyrics.
Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), Pirates of the Caribbean series, vs. Captain Blackbeard (Peter Ustinov), Blackbeard's Ghost (1968)
A pair of Disney scalawags square off. Previous experiences with defeating supernatural enemies gives Sparrow the considerable edge.
The Pirate King vs. Capt. Jack Sparrow
You can't sing your way out of this one, Pirate King (although a sing-off with Sparrow slurring Gilbert & Sullivan might be fun). We'll go with the ace that launched a thousand Halloween costumes, or Depp's fans will have me walking the plank.
* * *
Long John Silver vs. Capt. Jack Sparrow
Let's see: One pirate survived a ghostly curse, being swallowed by the Kraken, raided Davy Jones' locker and kicked a rum habit. The other had his heart melted by a spunky kid.
LANDSLIDE WINNER: CAPT. JACK SPARROW