Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Aggressively Mediocre

Author: moonmonday from United States
9 August 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I enjoyed the first Pirates film, yawned through the second, and never saw the third. When this one came to the bargain cinema, the power was out and I was looking for something to occupy the time before the power company did their thing.

It was not two-plus hours well spent, but it was adequate to pass the time. There was some action to distract, a few laughs here and there, and some passable special effects, though they were sparing this run-through.

My main problem with it was that despite getting rid of the incredibly annoying characters of Will and Lizzy from the first three films, as well as most of the rest of the recurring cast, they still found a way to avoid Jack as much as possible. It wasn't really about him any more than the other films. The promises to explore his past were completely untrue, and we got little more than a few jokes about how he knew Angelica. He was always a treat when he was on-screen, but so much of the film centred around less interesting characters that it was at times off-putting.

Jack also seemed not to move the plot as he had in the previous films. In the first, he was always the driving impetus for movement. In this one, he seems to be swept up in everything else happening and never once actually drives anything. Instead of being a capable captain whose apparent buffoonery is often to get his enemies off-guard, he really does seem like just a very lucky idiot here, which isn't really fair to the character built through three films already.

Geoffrey Rush's Barbossa was well-acted, if frustrating, and Ian McShane's Blackbeard was full of personality and gravitas, if completely unsympathetic. Unfortunately Penelope Cruz, despite being a capable actress, has little to work with as Angelica, and she failed to be anything but irritating until her very last scene. Why couldn't we have had that interplay the whole film? Sam Claflin somehow manages to be more annoying than Orlando Bloom as the inane missionary Philip, but he at least fulfills his role as eye candy, inasmuch as he can. Astrid Berges-Frisbey is serviceable as the mermaid Syrena, but makes little impact. The rest of the cast is fine but not prominent.

The story is plodding and meandering, which is not surprising since it had nine screenwriters. It never seems to know what it's doing, and yet it manages to be rather unexciting. When the LEGO game released in tandem is more thrilling than your film, you know there's an issue.

The theme of redemption and faith, overwhelmed by clumsy religious leanings, was off-putting and interfered with most of the characters involved being in any way sympathetic or interesting. The two who seemed to embody the extremes of that faith -- Philip and the Spanish captain -- both came off as completely awful, with the first an ineffectual clod you wanted them to be rid of and the latter nothing more than an ignorant, disrespectful zealot. The Spanish also tended to be nothing but a deus ex machina, who never made any impact on the story and only did anything when the script needed a convoluted climax. It was tremendously unfulfilling that they received no consequences for any of their actions at all.

At least Jack's past with Angelica poked merciless fun at the seeming necessity for 'romance' in these films, even the pastiche between Philip and Syrena. Perhaps in the next film, they will dispense with the weak attempts at romance and concentrate on action and adventure, which is what people go to these films to see.

Overall, it was a film that was okay for wasting time, but nothing special. Not better than the first, although at least it didn't end like the second, and I hear it was far better than the third. It was just unfortunately rather dull and unexceptional, which is a shame since it is supposed to relaunch the series.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A fantastic new addition to the pirates franchise

8/10
Author: beez-69-533935 from England
6 June 2011

This movie is a top movie to watch this summer and I highly recommend it for Pirates of the Caribbean fans and people who just want to see a kick ass movie this summer. It is a great much anticipated addition to the pirates franchise.

The reasons why this is so good is it follows a more Pirates of the Caribbean Curse of the Black Pearl feel to it, which sat better with the people and the first movie was a classic, so smart move there.

Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) had great dialog in this movie that was funny and delightful, bringing back the same old Jack we all know and love and he still maintained everything about Jack that makes him great and he also still managed to surprise me with new sides to his character. Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush)is also brought back in this film and this was very good because in the film he is a great ally to Jack even though he doesn't like him too much and he and jack had great bits of funny banter and friendship at points but he also managed to be quite unpredictable and intimidating at times and also I think bringing back Barbossa brought a lot of pirate spirit back to this fourth installment.

The addition of new characters such as Black-beard (Ian Mcshane) and Angelica (Penelope Cruz) was also a good move as Angelica, acting as Jack's love interest and almost his equal, made it more interesting to watch because Jack has not had a love interest and nobody has really been able to outwit Jack Sparrow (sorry Captain Jack Sparrow) and Black- beard was also a great character, being very villainous and having the uncaring aspect of a villain in that he would just kill anyone and also to add he is probably the best pirate villain I have ever seen in a film in my opinion. Other new characters are brought in like Phillip and Serena the mermaid, which added quite a bit more to the film and Scrum, being a sidekick to Jack and quite funny which was cool also, so all the actors and actresses acted very well. Great Job!.

Another reason why the film was awesome would be the addition of new creatures like Mermaids, which where something pirates really believed in at the time and the use of zombie crewman, which is cool because all the crewman in the franchise have been some form of skeleton or creature, so that maintains some iconography and it is also good to see them in 3D.

Lastly the 3D, which none of the other films have had, adds unique qualities to the film and the 3D was very good considering this is a pirate film and not a sci-fi film. The 3D effects showed swords coming out at you and at one point fire coming out at you and a Monkey in a glass bottle screaming in your face which rocked. Although it wasn't like animation 3D, which is amazing, this was very understandable because this is not an animated film. The 3D brought to life the action scenes a bit more which were really adrenaline pumping, although land based and I would have loved to have seen a ship battle or battles in 3D. However overall this is a highly recommended movie for all to enjoy.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Exceeds low expectations

6/10
Author: Dan Franzen (dfranzen70) from United States
31 May 2011

Let's face it. The Pirates of the Caribbean movies aren't really awful, but they are no longer the ground-breaking spectacle that the original was. So it was with lowered expectations that I watched the latest effort, and I can gladly say that the movie exceeded those low expectations. Damning with faint praise? Yes.

This time around, we've lost the characters of Will and Elizabeth, which is a good thing. I don't know about the rest of you, but I was getting tired of the triangle they formed with Jack Sparrow. The two characters were just getting annoying and in the way of Johnny Depp, so when their stories were pretty definitively ended at the conclusion of the third movie, I was happy. Taking Elizabeth's place as the story's heroine is Angelica, daughter of Blackbeard and played by the luminous Penelope Cruz. Like Elizabeth Swan, Angelica can kick butt and take names; the difference is that Cruz is far more convincing in the role than Keira Knightley ever was in her. Cruz's presence gives the franchise a much-needed jolt of fiery Latin temper, to use a cliché that happens to fit nicely here.

As for the character of Will Scarlett, the noble Everyman/blacksmith played by Orlando Bloom, his replacement would probably be the clergyman who finds himself in the service of Blackbeard, trying valiantly to "save" him. As the movie progressed, I began to sense that Philip the Good would somehow let slip the bonds of his faith and fall for someone. I knew that someone wouldn't be Angelica the daughter of Blackbeard, and a quick glance at the trailer showed me his eventual target. So, like Scarlett before him, Philip finds love where he never thought he'd find it. Trouble is, that relationship was starkly uninteresting to me. I'm not sure if Sam Claflin, who played the character, or the screenwriters, is to blame, but boy and howdy was that part of the plot a giant bore. If there's a Pirates 5 – and who are we kidding, of course there must be – I hope Philip and his new love don't make an appearance.

So what made this one palatable, anyway? You minus the two more wearisome characters from the last one and add a temptress, and you're good to go. Plus you add in Ian McShane as the diabolical Blackbeard, and he's an actual bad guy, unlike Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), who's jumped sides about as often as Jack Sparrow himself – and here begins the movie in the employ of the British King.

The stunts are well staged as usual, and good use was made of the location shooting on Oahu and Puerto Rico. Never let it be said that a Pirates movie wasn't fun to look AT. But an added benefit for me was that I watched the movie in 2D, even though it was also available in 3D. Why, you ask? Well, I'm glad you asked, Imaginary Reader. You see, when a movie is shot in 3D, the 3D process absorbs some of the light; therefore, if a movie features scenes in darkened environs – like caves, the ocean blue, underwater, jungles – then it'll be so dark that one will have a lot of trouble seeing what's going on. And for this you'd pay an extra few dollars. Ain't worth it. So if you do see this in 3D, you may want dial this rating down a notch.

Overall, the movie – and the franchise – owes quite a bit to Mr. Depp. Yes, he IS Jack Sparrow, and it's impossible to imagine the movie without him. And even though this is his fourth go-round as Sparrow, Johnny Depp's enthusiasm doesn't seem to flag a bit; he sells the character wholeheartedly and joyfully. He is, as usual, a lot of fun to watch.

Oh, yes, the plot. Nutshell: Barbossa (with the British), the Spanish, and Blackbeard (with zombies on his crew, of course) are all trying to find the Fountain of Youth. Sparrow had the map, Mr. Gibbs – Sparrow's first mate all these movies – memorized it and burned it, and there you go. And there's a prophecy about a one-legged man, and there are mermaids. It's like Harry Potter without house elves.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A Waste of Time

1/10
Author: spk169 from Australia
16 May 2013

What a disappointment. Compared to this the third film looks like a masterpiece. I mean, say what you will about Dead Man's Chest and At World's end, but they were fun. They had style, and plot, and actors that looked like they gave a crap. The visuals where creative and cool to look at. This thing lacked atmosphere, cohesion, logic, and even a plot. What happened in this movie? I don't even think the writer's knew. This movie feels like if a film crew went into the jungle and got stoned, then just wondered around, occasionally dancing with swords. There are villains in this movie, but they don't do anything. They lack intimidation and focus. Everyone looks bored. What happened to Jack Sparrow, did someone castrate him? His character was so different from the way he was in the other movies, but then again in the other movies he WAS a character, while here he was a cardboard cutout who sometimes spouted a terrible line of dialogue. It was obvious that the director was trying to create memorable characters, but he failed miserably, and I remember pretty much nothing that happened. What became of the serious tone of the last film? The transition is so jarring and bizarre. The CGI was pretty bad too, the fountain of youth looked OK but was really quite uncreative. The mermaid scene was the only good scene, but the rest were either too cartoonish or too boring to work. Oh yeah, and the 3D sucked too. I can't believe I'm saying it, but bring Orlando Bloom back.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

painfully bad

1/10
Author: aka_tourette from Romania
11 March 2012

This is not Gore Verbiski's movie anymore, but I was very surprised to find out that the same writers of the previous parts wrote this pile of crap. To summarize, this is a collection of clichés, thin jokes and too clean pirates. Captain Jack is Captain Jack, but, yes, cleaner and much less inspired. Associating him with a forgotten love (Penelope Cruz), which is sassy and untamed, is a huge cliché. The plot, as a new adventure without any relation with previous stories but a map, is very poor crafted. The action sequences are just unreal, especially the escape from the court of King George. Everything feels artificial and crafted on commission. It's really an irony that this movie had the highest profits from the series. It shows that the public is really stupid or was unaware of how bad this is. Which is not an excuse, because I had the feeling this is going to be very bad from the first trailer I've saw( I watched the movie on HBO). Bad, bad, bad, worst corporate money making fast food type of a movie.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Please shoot me.

3/10
Author: judy from Waukee, IA
2 June 2011

I gave up on the Pirates after the second movie but my daughter wanted to see this and I wanted popcorn. I was hoping by the end that they would just kill everyone including me for sitting through this mess. Jack Sparrow was interesting in the first movie, with a kind of strangely intriguing but yet intelligent characterization. They left the character a mystery that we hoped would be explored in subsequent films to create an interesting story. We loved the love story between Elizabeth Swan and 'searching for his self worth' Will Turner. Though the second film was a mess, the third at least gave them a closure.

This film does nothing to enhance Jack's character it's just another meaningless quest of him to regain his ship again (so tired of this). Only Barbosa gets any kind of cohesive storyline and once again his character shines. Maybe he should be the3 star of the pirates instead of Jack Sparrow, then at least we might be entertained. I won't even begin to talk about how god awful all of the secondary characters were including Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane as boring Blackbeard. I also won't say anything about the pitiful secondary, poorly written so called love story between a mermaid and a member of Blackbeard's crew. It was laughable and not in a good way. I couldn't stop laughing when all I was thinking is that I wanted the poor lovesick boy to just die. Pitiful Pirates.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

excellent movie

10/10
Author: gollumbaggins
29 May 2011

i really really liked this movie a lot...it was SO great, everyone in it did a great job....i loved Jack Sparrow as always, Johnny Depp is such a brilliant actor...Ian Macshane did a wonderful job as Blackbeard, i really didn't want to leave after it went off, i wanted to stay and watch it again...Penelope Cruz was a welcome addition to the movie and it was great to see Barbosa again...if you haven't seen it you should, and wait till the credits are over to see a little more, its only about 10 seconds but I'm glad we waited around to see it..i gotta say i do not agree with people saying this movie was boring, there was nothing boring about it, it was funny like the others, there was plenty of action, new characters, (it was cool seeing Vernon Dursley from Harry Potter in it) i was very glad i went to see it, fans of the franchise will be very pleased...i don't want these movies to be run into the ground but so far i haven't been disappointed at all with any of them...so i give this one 10 out of 10 stars

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Just as good as the original

10/10
Author: lilsisasu from United States
28 May 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When I first decided that I was going to go see this, I was kind of skeptical about it. Rob Marshall was the director and I knew he usually did musicals. That caused me to picture Jack Sparrow doing a dance while fighting with swords. As funny as that sounded, it just wasn't something I wanted to see on P4. Still, I decided to go see it anyways. Boy, was I glad I did! It was just as good as the original. There was an excellent balance of comedy and action. And all the actors were excellent too. Johnny Depp was excellent as always as Jack Sparrow. Geoffrey Rush did an excellent job as Barbossa too. I have to say, however, I didn't like his look during most of the movie. He just looked to weird as a privateer. Thank goodness he changed back to his old look in the very end. Penelope Cruz did such a good job as Angelica. She made her seem like the type of woman you wouldn't want to get mad. Also, the actors Sam Claflin and Astrid Berges-Frisbey were great as Philip and Syrena. They really brought a spirit of youthfulness to the story. Finally, I have to say that Ian Mcshane did a great job as Blackbeard. I love how the brought in a real pirate as one of the characters. He gave the movie a sense of reality. Over all, I have to say that P4 is probably the best in the whole franchise. It is definitely worth going to see!

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

I knew it............

4/10
Author: ThisMark from South Africa
23 May 2011

I knew this was going to be not as good as the first Pirates movie, you could see it from the trailer. Not only is it not near as good as the first but the second and the third movie blows this one far far far away!

So what made this one in the series garbage well where to start: The story was just dumb and it had no point to it. The Actors in the movie sucked they could not act at all and Jack Sparrow could not safe it alone. The director made it into a mess, most scenes was so dark you did not know what was going on.

I really feel like they only mad this to make some money and they did not have any fresh ideas. This is no Pirates of Caribbean movie.

What also really made me mad was that guy and the mermaid! Comon were they cast to fill Bloom and Knightly shoes or what?! They really cant act at all!

Go watch the 2D and save your money do not waste it on 3D, or just over look this one and go watch something els ( Why did i not watched Thor or Fast 5 :( ).

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

not impressive

1/10
Author: jude wolf from United Arab Emirates
6 June 2011

This is a good movie, but some films just don't convince the audience and don't leave a mark in film history, I think they should have stopped at the third POC movie or let gore verbinski direct this 4th movie, with his special techniques that gave me a good view in the 1st trilogy, I like the idea of introducing mermaids and barbossa having a wooden leg which obviously contributes a lot to pirate films. The zombies could have worked out well but unfortunately they weren't displayed in a convincing way as we didn't learn much about them and I felt it was just a copy of Davy Jones and his crew but in a lame way...black beard was a great add 2 the series but its weird how they just suddenly added him as a "pirate all pirates fear" well where the heck was he when Davy Jones and Barbossa were considered lords of ocean? and angelica is a disappointment, her character was added to waste time and add more to the movie... Also Syrena and Sam were a fail at creating a replacement for will and Elizabeth, but if a 5th movie comes out, Sam and syrena will probably have stronger contribution to the movie...POC4 was a sort of rush, this movie seemed to have been made just to earn money, it was an obvious copy of the 1st movie (curse of black pearl), it was a quest to find something that brings u back to life as it was the same plot used by the Aztec treasure that removes the curse, and most the sword fights were very similar.. and black beard was a way to reprise Davy Jones' character...I also think its a little stupid how the Spaniards went looking for the fountain and then they stated that "its not the fountain that gives u youth, youth comes from God," well then why the hell did u bother going to the fountain?. Another stupid thing is how the whole crew went to drink from the fountain to get youth and at the end only black beard and angelica drank from it, and one of them had 2 sacrifice..but overall this movie is good for entertainment, but if your a fan of the 1st trilogy I don't think you will like this 1...I really don't see why its called on stranger tides anyway, I know its a novel, but the name of the movie should have been "pirates of the Caribbean: the fountain of youth"

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