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I love the "POTC" franchise, but "On Stranger Tides" failed on a lot of levels. Oh, Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow has his moments; he's cute, and clever, and silly in a lovable way/lovable in a silly way. But when all is said and done, at least for me he wasn't, in this movie, a character I was more than mildly amused by. And that wasn't enough to keep me invested in the movie.
Penelope Cruz makes a fetching Pirate, but I just never bought into the back-story, which is that she's Blackbeard the arch-Pirate's daughter. She's pretty and she's fun to watch on screen, but there isn't enough plot/character to make me care about her.
There's a cute sub-plot involving a mermaid and a young male missionary, and as far as I was concerned, that was potentially the most interesting part of the movie. But it was a minor item, and the way it turned out was pre-ordained and obvious from the get-go.
Kevin McNally as Gibbs was actually the character that I felt was the most authentic, but he was just dragged along for the ride, as it were, and really didn't have a part in the action.
For the rest, there are Spaniards and British who swash buckle and flash swords at appropriate moments in the movie, but that's all they're really there for.
I know I'm swimming against the tide in saying this, but for me the movie just didn't work. In the climactic action sequence at the end, I found myself more concerned with how cramped and uncomfortable I was starting to feel in my theater seat than in how the movie was going to end.
So, in the end, I really can't recommend "On Stranger Tides." My suggestion: if you're hankering for a good action popcorn flick, skip this movie and watch "Raiders of the Lost Ark," either of the first two Brendan Fraser "Mummy" movies, or check your cable channels for any other big-budget action movie of summers past.
Can't get enough Narnia!
Having read the books and watched the old BBC TV show as well as "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" from 2005, I would never have expected such a rapidly fast film full of action and power.
The Pevensie-actors have developed very much, especially Skandar Keynes, whom you almost wouldn't recognize again. His rebellious little boy-Edmund from LWW has grown into a passionate young man eager to live up to the expectations Narnian people place in their former kings and queens. But also Ben Barnes as Caspian X. fits in without problems. This film is overall much darker and more dramatic than LWW. There is suspension and dramatic action all the time, and even the film score acts its part, being omnipresent and driving the plot forward. You almost never get a moment of rest and contemplation because the opposing forces never cease or even pause in pursuing their goals: Caspian and the Pevensies to free the Narnian people and raise Caspian to his inherited throne, Miraz and his Telmarine troops to secure their usurped reign over the country. Watching this film you shouldn't expect a one hundred percent visualization of C. S. Lewis' book. On the contrary, the film plot only extracts a quite rough plot outline from the book and weaves its own story around that "red thread". All the important parts of the book are in the film, as e. g. Caspian's education by Doctor Cornelius, the birth of Miraz and Prunaprismia's son, Caspian's flight and unification with the Narnian people, the help given by the Kings and Queens of Old (the Pevensies), the decisive duel between High King Peter and Miraz, etc. But the story around these parts is full of surprise and fierce action. And in my opinion that is the film's strength. You not only get a transformation of the book for the big screen, but something new and unexpected which quite often leaves you breathless and excited. I really like this film!