Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011) Poster

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Captain Jack showed flashes of brilliance but everyone else failed
dlrpsteve19 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The Bad

I'm sure my surroundings had a lot to do with my enjoyment of the film, or lack thereof, but even without that it wasn't up to the high standard that I regard the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films. The plot was flaky and apart from Jack, the characters weren't that great.

After seeing Ian McShane in Deadwood I was convinced he'd make a fantastic Blackbeard, but I think his Lovejoy character was more evil than he was in On Stranger Tides. At the height of his devilishness (is that even a word?) he triggered his ship's flamethrower to kill a mutineer and gave us doubts over his true feelings to a daughter he'd only just found out about. He wasn't a patch on the Barbosa/Davey Jones/Lord Beckett trifecta of evil from the first three films. As someone once said, Luke Skywalker was only as good as Darth Vader was evil.

Speaking of the daughter, Penelope Cruz as Angelica was a character I felt very apathetic towards. The whole raison d'etre of her quest to find the Fountain of Youth was because it had been foretold that a one legged man would kill her father and she wanted to save him so she could have that father she never heard. I'm sorry but pass me the bucket - that sentimental dross deserves to be on Jeremy Kyle (Oprah Winfrey for anyone reading from the US) not as the main plot for the latest of one of the biggest film franchises of all time.

The dilemma at the end of the film sees both Blackbeard and Angelica about to die and only one can be saved by the Fountain of Youth. At that point I didn't care if either died and why should I? Blackbeard is an evil man, or so they tell us, and Angelica has used Jack to get to the Fountain of Youth. If I were Jack I'd have left them both to die and the film would have been better off if he had. At least then we'd have some of the darker side of Jack which never showed appeared in this film. Instead our scoundrel played a goody two shoes who seemed to be motivated by his concern for Angelica's safety. Please, this is Jack Sparrow we are talking about, like he really gives a damn about anyone apart from himself, a characteristic which made him so appealing in the previous films. Yes, he does have a softer side that we've seen before, but to not this whipped extent.

Don't even get me started on the Mermaids. They were great to start with, but as soon as it was just Syrena and her boring relationship with Philip the clergyman, all was lost as they gave us the dullest moments in Pirates of the Caribbean history, to date.

My last major moan is about the part where Jack left Angelica on the island. Remember, Angelica's whole motivation was to save her father, and Jack had just condemned him to death. So why in God's name, when his back was turned, did she try to attack him with a piece of wood and not shoot him in the back with the pistol he had just given her? Yes she had some feelings for Jack, but surely not enough for her to get over the fact that Jack had basically just killed her father and destroyed what she had spent the whole film trying to achieve? Don't give me the old 'he saved her life' spiel – Jack let Blackbeard , her father, die - end of story.

The Good

Whilst nowhere near as funny as in the previous films Jack was still a great character, in spite of his wimpy attitude change. The scenes where he escaped from the King and the clutches of the Spanish were a reminder of how great Pirates of the Caribbean can be at its best. It was great to see Gibbs back alongside Jack as their chemistry is great and a nice link back my beloved first three films.

As always, the film looked and sounded great, though the 3D wasn't essential and I found myself taking the glasses off from time to time and it made little difference. In fact I'd go as far as to say that while you lose depth in 2D, you gain richness in colour.

I'm struggling to think of much else to compliment the film for and at the moment I'm stuck in my post viewing disappointment funk. I really need to watch it again but after my horrific cinema experience I'll wait until it comes out on Blu-ray.
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Frustratingly Entertaining
diac22820 May 2011
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit is one of my favorite television shows, even though its gone a bit downhill lately. Is it the cast? No, because they are mostly intact. What is actually happening is that each of the main characters, known for their superb chemistry amongst each other, are suddenly spending less screen time with each other and more time to themselves. This story actually has a point. On Stranger Tides suffers the same fate: fantastic cast that don't spend as much time with each other as we hope. Add some pointless plot lines, a calmer first-third of the flick, and you have yourself the fourth installment of Pirates of the Caribbean.

That being said, its still quite entertaining. On Stranger Tides follows a variety of people searching for the fabled Fountain of Youth. Unfortunately for us, its not just Jack Sparrow. We have Blackbeard, the Spanish, the British (led by Barbossa), Angelica, and more doing the same thing. Subplots pertaining to this quest include Jack's past with Angelica, Barbossa's questionable change in character, some random guy falling for some random girl (I am serious, this part was totally pointless), and the pointless Spanish people that flock in and out of the movie.

This is by far the weakest part of the movie, the script. For some odd reason, they borrowed far too much from the novel (whose pacing and themes far differ that of the Pirates brand) and forgot that sometimes simplicity is best---which is what made Curse of the Black Pearl such a great film. It was the easiest to follow, and On Stranger Tides didn't learn from the previous two installments. To add to that, the script utterly separated everyone, even those with the best on-screen chemistry. Barbossa was barely with Jack Sparrow, Sparrow was rarely with his ex-lover, and worst of all reliable Gibbs spent minimal time with Sparrow. When they are together, the humor, the banter, tension, and the charm works well. When they aren't, well, the movie drags a bit.

Thank goodness the cast is still on their game. Johnny Depp once again breathes life into the pirate movie with his smart, unpredictable, and hilarious portrayal of Jack Sparrow. Despite what the reviews say, Jack Sparrow's shtick isn't getting old as he is still a delight to watch. Geoffrey Rush once again shines as Jack's best rival Barbossa, as his quiet intentions resemble that of Sparrow in earlier films. Penelope Cruz adds a layer of sexuality that we definitely did not have with the other Pirates of the Caribbeans--it's just a shame she didn't have much time with Sparrow. Director Rob Marshall was able to shell out good performances from everyone in the cast, but he definitely wasn't the man for this job.

Almost all the chase scenes or action sequences were done with very low-lighting and poor camera angles. With the exception of the mesmerizing and chilling mermaid sequence and the opening chase, all the action moments were missing that special touch. While the bizarreness of Gore Verbinski will not be totally missed (although his style worked perfectly in Rango), his ability to crank out excellent stuntwork and fights was sorely missing here. At least we got to see plenty of it, from the opening chase to the final dramatic (and short) showdown. Say whatever you want, but there has yet to be anything that can top the infamous three-way sword fight/old mill showdown from Dead Man's Chest.

Bottom Line: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is a mix of frustration and fun. There was plenty of potential that wasn't met because of questionable plot lines, pointless moments, lack of chemistry (once again: writer's fault. Good going Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio), and uneven direction. All that banter aside, Pirates is also plenty fun with several delightful moments, funny lines, and much more action than the last Pirates flick. Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz and company keep the movie afloat, and prevent it from being a pure bore. But I think the franchise works better when Verbinski is behind the camera. On Stranger Tides is decent summer entertainment, but doesn't have the inescapable magic and charm of the first two.
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Our favorite pirate is back!
Misagh9 May 2011
Firstly, this review does not contain any spoilers whatsoever so read on. I had the privilege to watch this in the El Capitan theater advanced screening. Johnny Depp, the goofy pirate that we have grown to love, returns to his iconic role of Captain Jack Sparrow in an action-packed tale of truth, betrayal, youth and demise.

The plot is when Jack crosses paths with a woman from his past (Penelope Cruz), he's not sure if it's love—or if she's a ruthless con artist who's using him to find the fabled Fountain of Youth. When she forces him aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge, the ship of the formidable pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane), Jack finds himself on an unexpected adventure in which he doesn't know who to fear more: Blackbeard or the woman from his past.

By being a fan this franchise, I can happily confirm that YES, it is as good as the first one! Be ready for an adventure and half! Brings everything from the classic bizarre comedy to the nail biting action scenes.

The marketing for the movie have been intelligently subliminal like some other great film releases, like Avatar, or Blair Witch (the real vs fake) and the recent awesome film production The Artifice (the-artifice.com) and so on.

This is not a film to miss, does not matter if you are a die hard fan of Pirates, or new to the series! I might be in trouble for writing a review of the movie this early, so please click Yes on the "is this review useful" as a thank you ;)
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Imperfect but worthy instalment
TheLittleSongbird18 May 2011
As far as the Pirates of the Caribbean movies go, On Stranger Tides may be lacking in the rollicking fun of Curse of the Black Pearl, which I absolutely loved, though it's closer in spirit to it than those of the two movies before, but I think it is better than Dead Man's Chest, which had great effects and a brilliant Bill Nighy but felt overlong and ferentic sometimes, and At World's End, which had the cast giving their all, great visuals, score and final battle but rather convoluted and bloated on the whole.

On Stranger Tides isn't perfect. I did feel it did have perhaps have too many moments of exposition and clichés, though the story if slightly rickety in places here is less bloated noticeably and better paced than the film released before it which is a good thing. I also felt the romantic subplot(s) felt underdeveloped and forced, and while there are some droll, bizarre and witty quips particularly with Depp, Rush and Cruz there is a bit of filler that could have been excised.

However, despite these complaints, On Stranger Tides is a worthy instalment. Once again, the production values are impeccable, the cinematography is skillful, the costumes, sets and period recreation is authentic and the effects are superb. The opening twenty minutes is an example of the writing being at its funniest and wittiest, and the scenes with the mermaids are beautifully shot and intriguing.

While not perhaps original, and not among his best, I did very much like Hans Zimmer's score, which was rousing and brought some much-needed energy. The characters are not the best developed, but they are fun and there aren't too many of them to interrupt the flow of the story, a big problem I found with At World's End, while the action sequences are both exciting and nail-biting on the whole.

I wasn't so sure about Rob Marshall as director, but he does a far better job than expected, and the film is livelier in pace than Dead Man's Chest and At World's End. The acting is good enough for what it was. Johnny Depp plays lovable rogue Jack Sparrow with a voluptuous swagger and sly humour and nails it again, while the idea to omit Kiera Knightley and Orlando Bloom here proved a good one, without them for my money the whole adventure carried less of a dead weight.

Instead we have Penelope Cruz, who proves a perfect match for Depp. She is feisty, beautiful, foxy and sexy, and also likable and fun. I was wondering what they would do for villains without Bill Nighy, but I needn't have worried. Ian McShane is a worthy addition as Blackbeard, who is charming in a grizzly way while committing acts of great evil. Geoffrey Rush is underused in a way, but he does have some great lines and a fun presence so he isn't a complete waste.

In conclusion, On Stranger Tides is not a perfect film, but as an instalment to a decent enough franchise it is a more than worthy one. And you know, what I've said about this movie was not something I thought I would be saying, because judging by what I'd seen of the advertising/trailers, it looked as though it was going be the worst of the series, but actually for me it wasn't. 7.5/10 Bethany Cox
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Captain Jack is back...
Fairyangel246 May 2011
I saw an advanced screening of this movie last night at the El Capitan theatre in Hollywood. I don't want to give away any spoilers, so all I'll say is that it was pretty darn good. By not having Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom in it, the film didn't feel like just a rehash of all the other PotC films. Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane really added a lot to the film, and I loved Sam Claflin's performance. But of course you have to have Johnny Depp, because it wouldn't be PotC without him, and Geoffrey Rush was spectacular as always. All in all, this has everything you'd expect from PotC: swashbuckling, sea creatures, sword-fighting, and lots of great comedy; but the new cast members keep it feeling fresh.
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Same old "Pirates" with a new simpler focus and more Capt. Jack
Movie_Muse_Reviews22 May 2011
After a four-year hiatus to regroup and determine the future of the franchise, Disney and what was once its surprise mega-hit "Pirates of the Caribbean" series have returned in "On Stranger Tides." Hard to believe that this franchise evolved from the once-lambasted concept of a theme park ride being turned into a successful motion-picture blockbuster. After exhausting the "Pirates" world with two back-to-back sequels of titanic and rather disappointing proportion in 2006 and 2007, a break in the action to recalibrate Captain Jack Sparrow's compass was much-needed. The "new" course set by "On Stranger Tides" uses worn sails, but with a fresh wind of characters and more importantly, a more direct purpose.

As promised in the end of "At World's End," Jack's looking for the Fountain of Youth if for nothing more than ships and giggles. First, however, he must take a side trip to London to rescue his old pal Gibbs (Kevin McNally) and subsequently the palace of King George (Richard Griffiths in a lovely cameo). There, he learns that his old pal Barbossa (Rush) has lost The Black Pearl as well as his leg and sold out to His Majesty's Royal Navy. He is to help the English find the Fountain before the Spaniards do. Jack, of course, knows the way there, thus continuing his ongoing role as an indispensable pestilence.

After a familiar improvised escape, he crosses paths with an old lover, Angelica (Penelope Cruz), who he once deflowered before she was to take her vows at a convent. She mentions she has a ship he can borrow, only it turns out that it's her father's ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge, captained by none other than Blackbeard the Pirate (Ian McShane), a feared and soulless scourge with a minor in black magic. So much for smooth sailing.

As overdone and cliché as the Fountain of Youth may be, it's perfect for the "Pirates" franchise and helps keep things very simple, something the last installment had more than a fair deal of trouble with. Only a few character subplots threaten to convolute the story, but all motivations lead to the Fountain regardless the reason. In fact, "On Stranger Tides" marks the first film to truly focus on Captain Jack. With Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley's characters out of the way, the franchise can keep the spotlight on the reason it's gotten four films deep. Depp has nothing new in store for us as the true center of attention, but by continuing to underplay the trademark quirks and mannerisms, he continues to prolong the deterioration of the Capt. Jack act. Some might disagree, but it depends how much you liked him the first place.

In terms of new faces, Ian McShane is impeccable as Blackbeard. Rush gave a wonderfully theatrical performance as the main villain in the first film, but McShane introduces the first true quantifiable force of evil the franchise has seen. Although his voodoo abilities and reputation for killing his men and bringing them back from the dead to serve as his zombie slaves are never entirely realized, he's the merciless villain this film needed. He never fully crosses into scare-your-children evil, but he could've at any instant and that feeling radiates from his performance. In general, this film aligns itself more with fantasy and traditional folklore than the supernatural like the previous film.

Among other new faces, Rob Marshall as the franchise's new director does serviceable work. The "Chicago" filmmaker chews the scenery well and creates effective moods and tones, but the action could have been a bit more inspired, especially considering the series' reputation for sword-fighting ingenuity.

Marshall's best work and the film's best sequence deals with mermaids, not the singing and seashell bra type, but seduce you with their looks and then try and devour you with fangs type. Quiet, suspenseful and culminating in a full-on action sequence, the mermaids constitute the one completely fresh element of the film. Their cove is the lone stop on the journey as well, so it's the only aspect of the plot that creates that classic seafaring adventure feeling akin to Homer's "The Odyssey."

Not much else deviates from the formula, so those hoping for a resurgence in the series or something as good as the first film, "The Curse of the Black Pearl," will remain wishful thinkers once again. It's hard to imagine where the series could go next without retreading over old ground or just introducing new characters for the sake of it, but Captain Jack Sparrow remains one of the few reliable comforts of blockbuster cinema, and any adventure with him at the wheel will struggle to be a total waste of time. "On Stranger Tides" makes just enough adjustments to the series to make for a successful installment.

~Steven C

Visit my site at http://moviemusereviews.com
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Totally in debt...
dany_skull20 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Jack Sparrow, Barbossa and Mr. Gibbs are by far, the best combinations, they are the real comedians of this movie. I missed the rest of the Black Pearl's crew.

Angélica doesn't show her role clearly and she has a pointless quest (save her father from death, who was predicted to be killed by one man that has a wood-leg ), somehow she could be lovely for some people and totally annoying for others.

Blackbeard doesn't show his role also, he has a great first entrance and "that's it"....then he moves between being an evil man and a scared old man.

The cleric and mermaid's love story is totally forgettable and bad acted by the cleric mainly.

The real problem of this movie is the lack of detail explanations... the Blackbeard's sword seems to be an important item, but its origin was never described (this role was played in the anterior movies by Pintel and Ragetti, giving details over every mythic character or legends) the same fact with Blackbeard , the lost of the Barbossa's leg just has a couple of lines without any image showing the event, even in "racconto" mode.

In general lines, the movie lacks of story and details.
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Wish I'd bought Lottery tickets instead of movie tickets for this one!
doubleclearjumper27 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Oh, Dear, I love Johnny Depp and the PotC movie experience, but this one is best left out... So sorry I bothered... The characters were so lackluster, I did not care about any of them... But the script was so poor, how can you expect the actors to salvage it??? Ian McShane: wasted, Penelope Cruz: looked as if she was struggling with pregnancy discomfort, Mermaids and the religious man: put me to sleep and pure filler... Filmed way too dark which made it difficult to see my several glances at my watch to see when I could leave... Tedious in all the darkness... Depp is reported to have earned $55,000,000 with this and actually had script input.... Get new writers! I wanted so bad to see a good PotC movie after the last (Land's End) rubbish, but I was disappointed once again... Depp and Cruz had zero chemistry between them... It was not a 'love interest'.... They appeared to barely know each other... At least O Bloom and K Knightly looked like they had feelings for each other... I don't think Capt Jack even needs a 'love interest', he's a rogue out for adventure and pirate booty (Ok, that does not mean 'women'!). Cruz did nothing for me and could have been left out entirely....

Where were the 'fun' characters that enhance the story? No laughs or even thrills... An incredible bore from start to finish.... I really, really wanted to like this movie, and I am easy to please, but I would have rather bought Lottery tickets for my money....

I did not view it in 3D because I did not see how it would add anything.... The production costs were scaled back, but 3D adds a reported $30,000,000 to filming, so it was wasted money... Get a good script via a good story! The 3rd PotC movie was written virtually on the beach as it was being filmed, and it showed.... This version suffered from a bad storyline and no plot.... I'm afraid the best is now behind us, and the 'make it fast, bring in the money' attitude has taken over....

I want another hilarious and unforgettable scene like the time Capt Jack appears walking onto the wharf as the boat he's on sinks into the depths... It still makes me smile every time I see it... Bring me that again....
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A boring lackluster installment to a series that fell off the world's end.
Neil King20 May 2011
So after a 4 year hiatus Disney decides to bring back Captain Jack Sparrow. A huge fan of the first one and moderately enjoyed the second one and confused by the third one I was ready to see a fresh crew for the this new installment.

The films opening scene was fantastic. It was fun and creative and really captured the essence of the Jack Sparrow that we love. It kept going for a bit. The first 20 minutes of the movie were the most exciting and fun parts of the movie except for one scene which I feel may be second best scene in all the Pirates films.

The infamous addition of mermaids was the best part in the entire film. It was very reminiscent of the powerful underwater march of the dead from the first film.

Lets move onto the acting. Most of it was decently solid but Ian McShane as the villain, Black Beard stole the show. He actually seemed like the only one who cared to make the film interesting. Another newcomer to the series was Penelope Cruz. She was nothing fantastic but completely necessary to bring in a much needed sex appeal to the film. Geoffrey Rush returned as Barbosa, I felt he was very confused as to if he was a bad guy or good guy which caused his acting to seem very indifferent. There were a few scenes that you knew he was having fun but otherwise he was just a drag. And of course Johnny Depp reprized his role as the witty fun loving Captain Jack Sparrow. Again he had his moments just like Barbosa that were fun and creative but he even came up a little lackluster in certain scenes.

The story was super simple, which I guess is understandable considering the convoluted mess of 2 and 3.There was an unnecessary sub plot that never got resolved, which I wish they spent a little more time on and made it a little darker. I am not going to spoil anything though, but you will see what I am talking about when you see the film. As you wait for the scene after the credits you want it to be the conclusion to this sub plot but nope. The climax could have been a bit more climatic and more exciting, but I guess they did what they could. Most of the action happens in the dark so I would not recommend the 3D transfer of it. I saw it in 2D and I thought the 3D wouldn't be worth it.

Marshall did a mediocre job directing. It was nothing special and definitely not Gore Verbinski. The way the film turned out, it looked like the director was even bored while shooting.

Positively though it is a summer blockbuster where your brain needs to be left at home and will be enjoyed by lovers of the series. It may not stay with you but for an hour and half of the movie out of the 2+ running time you will be enjoying yourself which I guess is not too bad.

On initial reaction to the film I gave it a 7/10 because at the time it was enjoyable. Then I thought about it and the reason I almost fell asleep twice was not because it was late, it was because the story was boring and nothing was really happening in this lengthy piece of work. Therefore on second reaction it gets a 5/10.

If they continue the series, which I am sure they will seeing as how this film will make bank over the weekend, they need to trim out the unnecessary sub plots that do nothing for the story except let it drag on and if anything bring back the gorgeous and creepy mermaids. Also have a little faith in the audience, you can make the plot a little bit more thought provoking instead of laying all the pieces in front of us and then watching you put them together after we already know how to do the puzzle in our head.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides 5/10 via The Reel King

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Swashbuckling fun! This Pirates made up for the last 2 sequels!
Kristine27 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Boy, the way some people are acting on the web, you would think that Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides was the devil. I saw this movie opening day with pretty good expectations, because I love the Pirate movies, even if the third one is too complicated at times, I really enjoy these movies. Let's face it, we wouldn't have been brought back to the pirate genre if it wasn't for these movies. I agree that the plots should be more simple, but I don't mind a movie that challenges you along. I actually did love On Stranger Tides, even though it's not as good as the first one, I give much kudos for giving us something very fresh. Not to mention that it's shorter so I would think that more people would be pleased with that. But I think the cast still has it, Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow is always such a pleasure to watch on screen. He and Penelope Cruz really lit up the screen and brought life into the series. This is a fun summer blockbuster with scary moments, funny characters and a swash buckling good time.

Captain Jack Sparrow travels to London to locate a person who has been impersonating him. The imposter has been recruiting a crew to search for the legendary Fountain of Youth. Jack is brought before King George, who wants him to guide an expedition to the Fountain of Youth before the Spanish find it. Heading the expedition is Jack's old nemesis, Captain Hector Barbossa, now a privateer in service to the British Navy after having lost Jack's ship, the Black Pearl, as well as his leg. Jack escapes, and is found by his father, who warns Jack about the Fountain's tests. Jack's imposter is Angelica, his former lover and daughter of the ruthless pirate Blackbeard , who possesses supernatural powers and practices voodoo magic. Jack is forced to join Blackbeard's crew and to lead them to the Fountain.

When I was a kid I absolutely adored the old movies, especially pirate movies like Captain Blood or Jason and the Argonauts. So these movies bring back the good ol' days and the magic of seeing these effects back on the big screen. While I do think that they are a little much for some children, I think any adult could get into these movies. Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush have great chemistry and bring the pirates to life, I could only imagine the type of fun they have during these films.

I know that not everyone is a fan of pirates, I don't know if maybe it's due to the fact that the films were released so closely together that people got sick of it, I'm not sure. But I think if given the fair chance, you'll really enjoy this movie. This one has mermaids in it and the actual way that the myth is told, Disney had softened it up with The Little Mermaid and now brought it back to the truth. A warning in advance, that is a very scary scene I'm pretty sure most kids wouldn't be able to handle. But I thought it was extremely cool and very well done with the special effects. I'm also glad that they didn't go the safe route with the love story between Johnny and Penelope. However I really got bored easily with the Christian missionary and his love story with the mermaid was predictable and I think was their way of trying to replace Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightly. But I had a good time watching this movie and I'm pretty sure if you're looking for a good time going into it, you will have fun. I'm honestly looking forward to the next pirates movie.

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This is NOT DONE - I want my money and time back
sayakboral-120 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Jack Sparrow...I mean Captain Jack Sparrow, it's probably time to hang your boots and bury your sinking pirate career before dirt-storm wrecks whatever remains of my sweet memories of the original Jack Sparrow legend, the Curse of the Black Pearl. Although, I wasn't half as impressed with its sequels, somehow even in those movies the Pirate magic weaved its way into the hearts of loyal fans, many of whom I'm sure are as aggrieved and disappointed as I am, just choosing to remain silent out of respect and love for the Jack Sparrow we all knew and cared about. However it needs to be said, the current version achieves nothing apart from making you scratch your head in frustration.

Someone here commented this was supposed to be better than at least its last two predecessors -bollocks. After all, who can forget the inspiring "Hoist the Colours" speech by Elizabeth in "At World's End", and that opening execution scene did it not send shivers down your spine? About this version, I don't recollect ONE memorable scene worth talking about. There's nothing, absolutely nothing inspirational or redeemable.

Before watching this monstrous travesty of a pirate story, I read each and every review on IMDb and was confused whether or not to spend a lot of money on it. Finally I listened to my heart who cares about critics, being a loyal Pirate fan I knew at least Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush wouldn't disappoint. My, couldn't have been any wronger. In fact, I never felt so disappointed listening to my heart. With a straight face, I managed to sit through the entire screening, taking a while to realise how casually the sublime Pirate magic was fading away into an appalling doom of mediocrity, clichés and earthy innuendoes.

Plot aside, everything about the movie was repetitive and easily predictive, "now comes the swordfight", "now comes the menacing Blackbeard", "the mermaid's about to bite". If they paid me a dollar for each correct guess, I'm sure I would have been rich by now. Even the soundtrack failed to strike a chord. About Jack Sparrow and Barbossa, I could notice a deep sense of fatigue in dialogue delivery with such fine actors despite the fact no one else can take their roles. Was it like let's just take our money and get over with this nonsense. About Blackbeard, impressive introduction but for the remaining film, I don't think that character could have scared a two year old in a dark room. Angelica, that Latina lover of Jack Sparrow, well she could have been a breath of fresh air but the character lacked depth and dimensions. Speaking of Latins, why did they make the Spaniard Kings and soldiers speak English? I've read a lot of history about Spain's naval prowess in the olden days, for greater authenticity couldn't they have made them speak Castilian Spanish with sub- titles in English. It's tiny details like these which make you angry about the lack of research in putting together such a fabled story. The "Fountain of Youth", again a great plot element but I wanted a genuine SENSE OF HISTORY with that like its legendary connections with Ancient Greeks and the lost kingdom of Atlantis. Again, deja vu remember how Barbossa made an introduction of those Gold nuggets in Curse of the Black Pearl, connecting them with Aztec civilisation and the Conquistadores led by Hernan Cortes. Now, that's called RESEARCH.

The mermaids were neither beautiful nor significant enough. I think they should have casted blonde Russian chicks straight from Moscow and St.Petersburg for that look of vulnerability. The priest who fell in love with the mermaid was neither convincing in his religious fervour nor his romantic passion for the woman.

VERDICT: Let this Pirate of the Caribbean storyline end now already, and not be resurrected until another 50-100 years!

P.S.: In all fairness, I've seen far worse movies than POTC- On Stranger Tides. If it were simply another movie, I would have rated it a Three Point Five. But, since you have the legendary POTC appeal to bank upon, expectations will always be much higher, so you just can't afford to disappoint. Thus, there you are - One Star.
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Appalling, boring, joyless, lifeless dismal waste of time
mark-palmos19 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I have enjoyed most of the other Pirates of the Caribbean movies, but decreasingly so. Now, it seems with 3D, you do not have to have a movie which has a story, just a bunch of fight scenes, people fighting to win a race to get to the fountain of youth.

Mr Rush was the only enjoyable thing about the movie. I am disappointed J Depp would sink to this kind of rubbish. There is LITERALLY no story, so it is hard to comment about it, but it is Hollywood in a very bad state when crap like this gets churned out as an excuse for entertainment.

Special effects and 3D does not excuse having no character development/theme/intrigue etc... there just was nothing there other than 3D and FX trying to puff itself up into a worthwhile entity. MASSIVE FAIL.
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Wow, almost as bad as The Happening
thebard200022 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Just be entertaining. But, you couldn't even do that could you Pirates4. Oh well, you'll be too busy counting your money to care anyway, wont you. Nice job marketing department.

I went into this with the idea that they were going to strip it down a bit, compared to the last two, and maybe reel in the silliness a bit. It looked like they did try to do that, but they forgot to insert anything to take the silliness's place.

The acting, except for Stephen Graham (he was good so his role functioned well), was RIDICULOUSLY bad. Johnny Depp was as idiotic, if not more, in his attempt to portray a character than ever. And his character was as inconsistent throughout the movie as ever. There is no definition of character in Jack Sparrow. It's just a matter of catering to the audience scene by scene. Jack Sparrow isn't a multifaceted man (manly, funny, romantic, etc.) he is just a plot device used by over-payed scared writers to illicit whatever response from the audience that their research has proved will entire people to continue paying for this product.

Penelope Cruz's character, was never anything more than just Penelope Cruz reading cue cards looking hot trying to exude sex appeal to entire male viewers. Neither she nor Depp ever looked like they felt what they were saying or ever actually became their character.

Ian McShane was also just going through motions.

Stephen Graham though somehow managed to understand his character and he disappeared into it, adding something to it. Kudos to him. He must have ignored the director and just went on instinct.

I liked Thor a lot because it entertained me. Pirates4 didn't. It was predictable and not funny. Instead of being a convincing charade it was a transparent one.

The audience I was with wasn't laughing much either. This movie is a waste of time and I'm betting the great reviews it's gotten on IMDb are paid for written by plants.

Hopefully it's another 2 years at least before the Pirates of the Caribbean machine begins casting it's misleading spell over the world with it's slick, sophisticated, tricky, deceptive advertising methods that lead people to believe the product is more than it is. The marketing for THIS piece of junk was great at concealing just how empty and pointless this film is.

Every aspect of this movie, every scene of it is designed only to cater to the audience. No vision other than cashing in.
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Better than the third
josh-carrigan25 May 2011
POTC-OST is not the best of the series, but it is a step in the right direction. If you, like me, were very disappointed with the third Pirates movie then I do not blame you for wanting to skip out on this one. In fact I was considering not seeing this one myself, especially when the critics reviews came out. I decided to give it a chance, primarily because I had seen the other ones. I was pleasantly surprised and ending up liking the movie. One of the major differences between this and the other Pirates movies (and it is one everyone is going to notice right off the bat) is that Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightely are not in this movie. I am not too disappointed, there story overtook the third Pirates movie, which is part of the reason I did not like it. I was also sick of Knightely terrible speech scenes (if you saw the third you know exactly what I mean). Furthermore a few other pirates who were franchise regulars were missing in this one. What is left from the original three is Jack, Barbosa, Gibbs and the monkey makes two brief cameo appearances.

There was a number of things wrong with the third Pirates movie, among them was the fact that it was long, or it felt long at least. This movie is the shortest of the Pirates films and it moves at a brisk pace. The third Pirates slowed down considerably in the middle, to the point it was almost unbearable to watch. This movie does not make that mistake. This movie is almost all action and because of this it did not feel long, at least in my opinion.

As usual the effects were great. The action is almost nonstop and when there is no action there is enough going on to keep the audience interested. There is also plenty of signature Jack Sparrow humor. Since the previous two (especially the third) were focused almost entirely on the story of Will and Elizabeth Jack was almost forgotten. Another reason the third suffered. It was great to have that story out of the way, because this movie is focused on Jack and that is a strength.

Despite the fact that it improved on a number of the things that made the third bad, this one still is not up to par with the original. It is a good movie all around. It is refreshing and reminds us why we liked these movies in the first place. I recommend giving it a shot, don't expect anything great, just know that this movie is superior in every way to the third.
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Back to the spirit of the Black Pearl
bassrourke16 May 2011
These Pirates films are all about entertainment and thankfully this latest adventure with Captain Jack Sparrow at the helm is back to basics, reminding me of the formula that made the very first one, Curse of the Black pearl so great. Don't worry I won't give anything away here but be aware that the opening 20 minutes is one funny sequence and quirky one liner after another. There is also a couple of hilarious cameos, one may be familiar but the other was a right royal shock. Depp walks through his lethargic swaying pirate character with ultimate ease, while new high seas bad boy Blackbeard is exceptional, but not as cool as Sparrows former flame played by Cruz. She is foxy, feisty and funny. The action is elevated by some wonderful 3D effects but I am sure the film would be just as rocking without it. Finally, the highlight is the Mermaid scenes. As dark as they are, they take the viewer into their web of intrigue. Australian Gemma Ward even sings during an evocative moment. Remember to stay on after the credits for an EXTRA scene. After the last two installments left me crying with disappointment, I Loved it.
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Captain Jack Sparrow at his best!
jerryfrank1721 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The movie was fun and Captain Jack Sparrow was at his best. But even though I enjoyed the movie overall because of Captain Jack Sparrow and the fun adventure, I do see what people mean by it feels empty. There are times when it just carries on with no sense of adventure in it. The second one was too long the third too many sub plots with a a messy script and too long, but they both had a sense of fun and adventure with memorable parts in Dead Man's Chest with the Wheel fight on the island, Jack and the crew escaping the cannibals was a fun action scene, Davy Jones and the Kraken scenes and with At Worlds End the fight scene in Singapore, the adventure to Davy Jones locker with the ship going through a ice cave, flipping the ship upside down, scenes with Davy Jones, and the epic last battle with the Pearl and Flying Dutchman fighting around a maelstrom. Gore handled the action scenes perfectly but the fault in them was that if they trimmed parts out and worked harder if could have been a much better film, but as were, still good adventures with a sense of fun. The beginning action scene in On Stranger Tides, I thought was fun as when they where trying to mutiny Blackbeard, but I thought the action scenes with Gore were funner and more arousing, not that on stranger tides were embarrassingly bad but not as edge of my seat fun action scenes as with the first three. This movie also provided memorable scenes, when we first meet the mermaids is going to be one of the most memorable scenes of the series, and the jungle scenes and fountain of youth and Jack escaping in London scenes look very good and cool. And like I said earlier Captain Jack is funny and having a blast in this. Going back to On Stranger Tides not having as many memorable set pieces, it does fix in having a shorter less all over the place feel. Captain Jack and Barbossa when together were great. I was little upset and felt I was going to be disappointed because of the reviews, so this movie had to prove me wrong and make me like it and it did, cause Captain Jack was silly/ witty and having fun and so was I. Did some parts feel like they weren't leading to places, yes and I would hire new writers because besides the first one there were faults with the script, its like if thats the ideas in the movie you want, build around that and make a better, sharper script. It might have faults like in the script and writing like the other two sequels but like those two it still has a sense of fun, this one being with Captain Jack at his best.
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Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
absolutely-ashwin24 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) travels to London to locate a person who has been impersonating him. The imposter has been recruiting a crew to search for the legendary Fountain of Youth. First Sparrow rescues his former first mate, Joshamee Gibbs (Kevin McNally), who is about to be hanged, though the two are captured. Jack is brought before King George II (Richard Griffiths), who wants him to guide an expedition to the Fountain of Youth before the Spanish find it. Heading the expedition is Jack's old nemesis, Captain Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), now a privateer in service to the British Navy after having lost Jack's ship, the Black Pearl, as well as his leg.

Jack escapes, and is found by his father, Captain Teague (Keith Richards), who warns Jack about the Fountain's tests. Jack then discovers that the imposter is Angelica (Penélope Cruz), his former lover and daughter of the ruthless pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane), who possesses several magical powers, including the ability to shrink other ships down to miniature size and contain them within bottles (the fate of the Black Pearl). Blackbeard is also a master of voodoo, and has rendered his most trusted lieutenants into completely loyal, seemingly invulnerable zombies, in addition to being able to create working voodoo dolls. Finally, Blackbeard possesses a magical cutlass that gives him total control over the rigging of any ship, allowing him to easily subdue a crew by tying them up with the ropes. Blackbeard forces Jack to join his crew and lead them to the Fountain to circumvent a prophecy that a one-legged man will soon kill Blackbeard. Meanwhile, Gibbs, who memorized, then destroyed Sparrow's map, joins Barbossa's crew in order to beat Blackbeard and the Spanish to the Fountain.

Aboard Blackbeard's ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge, Angelica reveals that the Fountain's water must be drunk from silver chalices once belonging to Juan Ponce de León, and that one chalice must contain a mermaid's tear. Whoever drinks from the chalice without the tear will die; while the person drinking from the chalice with the tear will have their life magically extended, by "all the years the other person has lived, and all they might have lived". Blackbeard intends to use this magic to circumvent his fated encounter with the one-legged man, and so the Queen Anne's Revenge heads to Whitecap Bay, where he traps a mermaid that a captive missionary, Philip Swift (Sam Claflin), later names Syrena (Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey). Blackbeard then sends Sparrow to steal the chalices from de León's grounded ship. Sparrow arrives finding only Barbossa: the Spanish have already taken the chalices.

Barbossa admits he only wants to kill Blackbeard for capturing the Black Pearl, forcing Barbossa to amputate his own leg to escape in the process. He and Jack devise a plan to defeat Blackbeard; they then steal the chalices from the Spanish camp nearby. Meanwhile, Angelica tricks Syrena, who has fallen in love with Philip (who returns those feelings), into shedding a tear, which Blackbeard collects, then leaves her to die while forcing Philip to go with him. Sparrow returns with the chalices and Gibbs, who he had reunited with while helping Barbossa. Jack blackmails Blackbeard to get back his confiscated magical compass (which points in the direction of whatever the person holding it desires most) and to free Gibbs in exchange for giving him the chalices and leading them to the Fountain. Blackbeard accepts Jack's terms and Jack continues to lead them, while Gibbs, who is let go, departs with Jack's compass.

At the Fountain, Blackbeard and his crew are attacked by Barbossa and the Spanish, who have been sent by the king to destroy the Fountain, believing its ability to grant eternal life to be an abomination against God. After a lengthy fight, Barbossa stabs Blackbeard with a sword laced with lethal venom from a poison dart frog, but Angelica is also wounded by it. Barbossa then steals Blackbeard's magical sword and escapes alongside Blackbeard's former crew. Philip, mortally wounded, escapes and returns to Syrena and frees her. After finding the chalices and giving them to Sparrow, Syrena returns and takes the dying Phillip underwater to heal him.

Angelica intends to sacrifice her life so that her father will live, but Sparrow tricks Blackbeard into drinking from the chalice without the tear while Angelica drinks from the other, killing Blackbeard and saving Angelica. However, suspecting she may try to avenge her father's death, Sparrow strands her on an island, intending for a passing ship to find her. After much bantering, they both declare their love for each other, but Jack still leaves her on the island knowing she is untrustworthy. Jack then meets up with Gibbs, who used Sparrow's compass to find the Revenge and has retrieved all the shrunken ships, including the Black Pearl, before Barbossa sets sail. The two head off, hoping to find a way to return the Pearl to its original size.

In a post-credits scene, Angelica, still on the island, finds Blackbeard's voodoo doll of Sparrow which has washed ashore.
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Spoiler Free Review
duwoppywop12 May 2011
Ahoy, and so here we are in 2011 with another Pirate's adventure on the horizon. An adventure that contains fresh humor, intrigue, mystery and visuals, yet reminds us what we love so much about the original.

Many critics complained that P2 and P3 were bogged down with sub plots, interweaving stories, and that it became to heavy for some to handle. Well, if thats how you felt, then you are going to love On Stranger Tides. It is a return to form in a sense, without feeling rehashed. Jack is forever brilliant as he goes on his search for the fountain of youth. However, Jack isn't alone. Penelope is brilliant as well, her charm and wit fit in perfectly to the Pirate's world. Less not forget the menacing foe, Blackbeard, who's retchidness is so vile that not once do you think to yourself "oh thats just Ian McShane".

The Pirates themselves aren't only thing propelling this franchise to the next level. The visuals themselves are absolutely stunning. The water shots are a site to behold and the jungle scenes are lush and vibrant. These guys did 3D right! So, if you're looking for an adventure thats fresh and doesn't carry any of the same complaints as the last two, while still seeming charmingly similar, this should be your pick this summer!!!!
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bad bad bad
lee fewtrell13 October 2011
I watched this film at the Cinema with very high hopes- Everyone knows the 2nd and 3rd instalments weren't as good as the Black Pearl and this certainly didn't improve anything. I sat through this with complete predictability- Purely a vehicle for Johnny Depp to stagger about doing his Captain Jack- and to be honest, this holds no novelty any more. A boring storyline that no-one cares about, Penelope Cruz attempting to take over from Keira Knightly, and Geoffrey Rush having no idea who's side he was on. The magic has well and truly gone- and sadly the Pirates legacy is one of being just a cash cow for Disney. A very Tired and uninspired attempt that would certainly put you off awaiting a fifth.
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Cash Cow Cinema
tieman6429 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise takes the oddball, zany adventures of early Hollywood pirate movies ("The Black Pirate", "Captain Blood", "The Buccaneer", "The Sea Hawk", "The Black Swan", "Captain Kidd", "Hornblower", "Blackbeard", "The Crimson Pirate", "Fairwind to Java") and spins them off into even wackier territory. Indeed, much of the joys of the first three films were in watching the various tales and characters veer off into increasingly mad, busy and nonsensical avenues. Unfortunately this excess quickly got out of hand, "action sequences" prolonged to boredom inducing lengths, dull subplots piled upon dull subplots. Eventually the franchise struggled to modulate its madness and started to take itself too seriously.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides", the fourth film in the franchise, has a shorter running time than its siblings. It's more light-footed, moves better and keeps the level of subplots and characters somewhat down, though its best madcap moments (mermaid attacks, Johnny Depp swinging from coconut trees, giant ships stuck in tiny bottles) never match the wacky highs, comedic power poses and ridiculous gags of the previous movies.

All actors love acting in pirate movies – it gives them a chance to chew scenery and munch on deliciously ridiculous dialogue – and so most of the cast is a delight to watch. The dull, straight faced Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley are jettisoned for this instalment, leaving more room for tongue-in-cheek grandstanding and juicy dialogue chewing. The dialogue here is itself really good, witty and injected with a kind of deliberate theatricality ("Death is upon us as we sail for the Fountain of Youth!", "I support the missionary's position!").

The plot is hokum, but the actual construction of the script is somewhat interesting. It revolves around a series of romances, each epitomising a different type of romantic love (love for one's self, unconditional love, selfish love, love for a father, love for one one cannot love, a love-hate romance etc). Director Rob Marshall is too much of a hack to make anything of this. The production belongs to its actors, set-designers and writers. Marshall's too prim and proper to properly marshal their madness.

7.9/10 – This is apparently the eight most profitable film ever made. Worth one viewing.
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Aggressively Mediocre
moonmonday9 August 2011
Warning: 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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A fantastic new addition to the pirates franchise
beez-69-5339356 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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Exceeds low expectations
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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Getting Old and Tiresome
pc959 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Here's a franchise that definitely needs to be put to bed and fast. Directed by Rob Marshall, "Pirates of the Caribbean, On Stranger Tides" is mostly a bore and more rehash and retread than anything else. Depp and Rush are back at it as their characters, but the characters themselves have completely worn out their welcome. The story is over-long, and has a couple of fairly interesting sequences - one being Depp's initial escape from the King of England, and two a Mermaid "battle", but these last only a scant 20 min of the bloated 130 min runtime. I fast-forwarded through a good chunk of this movie. You'd think they'd figure it out that a movie needs a lot more than a new character and quest for it to be worth your viewing time. Give it a miss.
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Show me that horizon!
anderson35614525 May 2011
Thoroughly enjoyable! Although the plot could have been more substantial, it is worth 2 hours and 15 minutes of your time. Because there were so many sub-plots in P.O.C. At Worlds End, I had to go see that one twice to make sure I understood it all - but I still loved it. On Stranger Tides was perhaps a little *too* simple, I think....but again, I still enjoyed it. Note: Ian McShane should have been nastier & meaner. In the scheme of things, Cutler Beckett (from P.O.C. 2 & 3) was a more despicable and unlikable character than Blackbeard turned out to be. Just for perspective, I am a grandmother and I am happy to say that I am still a die-hard P.O.C. fan. Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush might cringe if they saw this, but I could sit and listen to Jack Sparrow and Hector Barbossa read a dictionary for 2 hours and 15 minutes. Here's hoping for another P.O.C. in 4 or 5 years - and I am sure with a clever script they will get the formula just right. Forget the critics - it's a fun movie. Go see it. Now! Savvy?
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