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

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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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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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A Pirate's Life for Me
ferguson-621 May 2011
Greetings again from the darkness. I will make no apology for being a fan of the "Pirates" series. This is the fourth film and the best since the first. Though I liked them enough, I felt the second and third depended too much on special effects and the need to overwhelm, whereas this one concentrates more on the colorful characters. This latest entry is also directed by Rob Marshall ("Chicago") rather than Gore Verbinski, who directed the first three.

Of course, what really matters is that Johnny Depp is back as Captain Jack Sparrow. And in fine form, I might add. He comes across more clever, witty and less buffoonish than in the previous two. His character is much better as a worthy adversary than a clown prince. In this one, he alternates between matching wits and swords with no less than three characters. First, Geoffrey Rush is back as Barbossa. Only this time, he seems to have gone legit with the King's navy. Next we have Sparrow's long-lost love from Seville played by Penelope Cruz. They also match wits and swords (and facial hair). Lastly, we have the legendary pirate Blackbeard, played with full force by Ian McShane. Were it not a Disney movie, McShane could have made his Blackbeard one of the most frightening characters ever seen on screen. Even with the limitations, he performs exceedingly well.

The "plot" of the film involves the search for Ponce de Leon's ship and the much desired Fountain of Youth. The race is on between Sparrow, Blackbeard, the Spainiards and Barbossa who is acting on behalf of King George (a wonderful Richard Griffiths). As always, it's not always easy to tell which characters are partners and which are adversaries. That's half the fun! An interesting twist is that in order to have the desired results from the infamous fountain, one must drink from a specific chalice and include a single mermaid tear. Of course, everlasting youth shouldn't be too easy to achieve. The mermaid sequences are fascinating, though we really only get to know one of them - Syrena played with soulful eyes by Astrid Berges-Frisbey.

Thankfully, two long time characters are absent from this film - Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley. Both were dead-weight that caused major drag in the two most recent Pirates films. Cruz and McShane are infinitely more interesting and entertaining and play off of Captain Jack much better.

Speaking of Depp's Jack Sparrow, I would make the argument that this character has entered the rarefied air of film comedy icon. I would put him at or near the level of the all-time best recurring comic characters: Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers, NOT Steve Martin), Austin Powers (Mike Myers) and the Little Tramp (Charlie Chaplin). Of course, there are loads of others that have made a name for themselves but are a step below: Ernest (Jim Varney), Fletch (Chevy Chase), Wayne and Garth (Wayne's World), Riggs and Murtaugh (Lethal Weapon), etc. I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

As I have stated many times, comedy is such a personal choice that it's always difficult to review. What sets the Pirate's films apart (especially one and four) are the characters combined with action and witty banter. No, it's not for everyone, but if you like this style, it's difficult to beat.
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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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Captain Jack is back and helps this pirate move float.
Aaron137523 May 2011
I was not expecting this one to be quite as good as it turned out mainly because of the review I read of it that made it seem really bad. I have to disagree with that review, however, as I found it a good movie, better than the second and third installments of this film, but not as good as the still best first one. This one sort of picks up after the third one in that the object of everyone's desire is the fountain of youth as the pirate Blackbeard, the English and the Spaniards are after this most magical of places. For the waters of youth to work one most first get two silver chalices and a mermaids tears. Jack at the moment is in England, but he shall get around quite a lot in this one. His old nemesis and sometimes partner Barbossa is also back this time seemingly in league with the English. The action in this one is rather good and Captain Jack Sparrow is once again the best character, only this time he is the main guy with no others taking time away from him in bunches like the previous two installments. The scenery in areas of the film is just really gorgeous once they get to the area of the fountain of youth. There is also a very nice mermaid scene to be seen as well, just enjoyed most of the film. Granted there are questions one has while watching this film such as Blackbeard's mysterious powers that are not really explained and if it was I missed it, however I had questions like this one for all three of the other movies too. So a good movie, better than Pirates 2 and 3 for me and a nice ending to boot. I do not know this one just flowed better than the previous two pirate movies. At least for me, the one review made this film sound very slow and not all that entertaining aside from a couple of scenes. I guess I just enjoyed seeing Captain Jack Sparrow back sans Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly who I feel had to much screen time in parts two and three.
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Washed Up Franchise
claudio_carvalho27 August 2011
In London, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) escapes from the soldiers that are chasing him and learns that an impostor is recruiting a crew and a vessel using his name. He meets the impersonator and finds that she actually is Angelica (Penélope Cruz), a woman that he had seduced in a convent in Seville. Jack is abducted and when he awakes aboard, the ship is sailing, Angelica tells him that her father, the pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane), is cursed and he needs to find the legendary Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth to save his life. They force Jack, who knows the location of the fountain, to guide them.

Meanwhile, Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) is hired by King George to lead the British crew and dispute against the Spaniards and Blackbeard who arrives first in the fountain. But along their dangerous quest, they need to find first two chalices that belonged to Ponce de Leon and a tear of mermaid.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" is a disappointed adventure of a washed up franchise. I have just watched this film with my wife and son on DVD and we three had taken naps along the 136 minutes running time. The film has good cast but without Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom; top-notch special effects but the problem is the boring and weak story. I hope the producers have the decency to stop this franchise. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "Piratas do Caribe: Navegando em Águas Misteriosas" ("Pirates of the Caribbean: Navigating in Mysterious Water")
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Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is another enjoyable romp with Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz
tavm24 May 2011
I had previously enjoyed the first and third of the Johnny Depp pirate movies though I was confused by some of the sequences. This one that I just watched with my movie theatre-working friend, I understood a bit more and, as a result, I enjoyed a little more especially with the addition of the beautiful Penelope Cruz as a former paramour who may or may not be on his side. There's also some good sequences with some mermaids that positively floored me with how they operate here. And the return of Geoffrey Rush as the one-legged crew member was also a treat here. Plenty of witty lines from Depp and some good swashbuckling sequences here and there were also good under new director Rob Marshall. So on that note, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is highly recommended.
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New Ships
tedg7 June 2011
The franchise has shifted. The 'first trilogy' was visually-centered. It was quite literally a ride, allowing Depp room to creatively be silly. Some of the cinematic stretch was significant, and I still remember the Shackleford reference fondly.

This is something entirely different. Sure, it has busy sequences and characters from the same universe. But now we have something story- centric. Images are pasted onto the story rather than the other way around.

There's even an excess of story and excess within story with the excess being a character itself.

There are at least three love stories, one of them tender and conventional, all of them centered on Catalonian women.

There is something of an overarching battle between Christianity and the supernatural. The extreme irony is that the Spaniards are the token of the faith. In actual life, they were the ones who invented the notions of supernatural evil, the first continental faith-based genocide and New World slavery.

There is a nice little revenge story that references Moby Dick. And at the end two Peter Pan like affirmations of the (pirate's) life of adventure.

I liked it. I liked the gush and mix of narrative. I liked the appropriation of Almodovarian values. But I have to say that no one knew how to leverage Penelope the way Pedro can. She is not inventive like Johnny and Geoffrey. She is a vessel, a vulnerable vessel that can be filled with female assets. But she has to gather that from the environment. Making her into something even Geena Davis and her lover could not do is a sacrilege.
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A Nutshell Review: On Stranger Tides
DICK STEEL19 May 2011
I thought this film would never have happened, since the first three films wrapped themselves up pretty nicely as a trilogy, but I suppose studios never say no to profits there for the taking, especially if the point man in Johnny Depp is game to don his eyeliner and pirates garb one more time, and possible more films lined up since the final scenes and the coda after the end credits blatantly teases and flirts with its audience and fan base.

Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) is back to charm one and all with this swagger and wit, and this time sans his Black Pearl as he goes on a mission, or at least it's one of those self fulfilling rumours, that he's assembling a crew to set sail on a quest to locate the proverbial Fountain of Youth. As with what's characteristic of a Pirates of the Caribbean movie, there are always more than one party interested in either joining in or serving as competition, and here we have an English royalty keen on recruiting Jack amongst their ranks to led by Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), now an English privateer, the Spanish Inquisition team who are narratively the weakest of the lot save for one pivotal scene, and a true blue pirates outfit led by the villainous Blackbeard (Ian McShane) aboard his Queen Anne's Revenge ship, with his daughter Angelica (Penelope Cruz) as his first mate and one time ex-fling of Jack's tasked with luring the latter out and joining their quest rather reluctantly.

But everyone has ulterior motives, and in true Jack Sparrow fashion, the character relationships all play out like the reality game show Survivor as in previous films, where deals are cut, some allegiances are strongly forged while others being temporarily serving mutual self-interests of the moment. Part of the fun is to witness how Sparrow navigates through sticky situations and almost always come up tops, with the nagging suspicion that Fate smiles on his side consistently, seemingly having no plan at all when he embarks on various mini quests in gathering artifacts all geared toward the primary mission, from the capture of mermaids (and they're of the nasty in attitude variety) to chalices all part of a strange ritual required to get to the secret fountain everyone is craving for.

Joining the fray this time round are old hands such as Geoffrey Rush in bringing a lot more to the Barbossa character, and Gibbs (Kevin McNally) as Jack Sparrow's loyal and trusty first mate. Penelope Cruz becomes one of two token female characters here, although her real life pregnancy created some complications during the shoot, and the credits had to thank her sister Monica Cruz for standing in for the long shots so that there wouldn't be a need to hide that bulge in the tummy - it's quite obvious which scenes these were as her character's hat had to be tipped downwards. You can also tell that the presence of Sam Claflin and Astrid Berges-Frisbey as a priest and mermaid respectively were to counterbalance the loss of Orlando Bloom's Will Turner and Keira Knightley's Elizabbeth Swann as the film's requisite lovebirds, which developed too fast too soon, and left it hanging, possibly to be explored in greater detail in subsequent films.

As an action adventure, the action sequences if compared to the previous installments, have all been toned down, and are the same old routine often seen in other action adventures. Do we need another escape on a chariot, or yet another big brawled sword fight sans blood (this is a Disney film after all) with nary a vulgar word spoken as they are cut off at the right moment? Too many one on one swordfights amongst various characters also made this quite repetitive to sit through, and I'd secretly enjoyed more of the dramatic wheelings and dealings more than the action in this film, despite the middle portion sagging under its own talkie weight.

Gore Verbinski had given up the director's chair to allow for new blood to take over the helm and steer the franchise into a new direction, so enter Rob Marshall, whom I'd say has the unenviable task of continuing a very well loved, and profitable series of films. While the direction may be new and the storyline necessary to be branching off from where it left off, somehow On Stranger Tides failed to recreate the entire adventurous spirit that the original trilogy possessed. Perhaps it's the cutting down on funding that made the action sequences quite dull, also having to shoot those scenes in 2D before undergoing 3D conversion to keep costs down.

Sure the storyline is an adventure film for fans to follow up on the exploits of Jack Sparrow, but it sure felt more of the same with that air of familiarity not broken. Should another film be made, let's hope it has some of the swashbuckling cavalier feel to it rather than just another exercise of routine.
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Pirates Lite
3xHCCH24 May 2011
With "On Stranger Tides," the Pirates franchise gets to concentrate more on the character of Capt. Jack Sparrow. Johnny Depp really has this character down pat, and obviously has fun with it. Old characters are still there, such as Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), Gibbs and Jack's father, who are as we know them. But we also get to meet a woman from his past in the person of Angelica, who may or may not be Blackbeard's daughter. Honestly, I thought Penelope Cruz could not possibly be convincing as a pirate, but I was glad to be wrong. She could swashbuckle with the rest of them pirates.

While the relationship between Sparrow and Angelica was more on the comedy level, a new romantic pair was also introduced in the characters of the compassionate missionary Philip (Sam Claflin) and the mysterious Syrena (Astrid Berges-Frisbey). While I read a lot of criticism about how useless this angle was to the film, I actually felt the scenes of these new characters were well-executed by new director Rob Marshall. I do not think they bog the storyline down at all.

"On Stranger Tides" features a race to the Fountain of Youth which was a great concept. We watched in 3D and I was glad to see that these were not mere post-production effects, and they lasted the whole movie. The 3D was certainly not a rip-off in this one! Those fight and chase scenes in the palace of the mad King George were amazingly shot. The special effects of the pirates encounter with mermaids contribute well to the eerie and menace of those scenes.

This was the first Pirates movie that my two boys watched with me. After watching, I felt that indeed this film was the best way to introduce the Pirates to kids. It is shorter, lighter and faster-paced than the first three more "serious" films, which are more adult in orientation. This is not to mean that "Tides" is a lesser film quality though. I would think it could launch a trilogy of its own for its new fans.
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Probably better than it should have been
The_Film_Cricket21 May 2011
In movies, as in marriage, the fourth go-around can get a little tricky. As the fourth round approaches there's an apprehension of what has come before and what is new that is left to be discovered. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the third sequel in Disney's highly-successful series, is not a movie that I went into with much anticipation. Yet, as I always do, I allowed myself to be open minded (you never know when a movie will surprise you) and I found the movie quite enjoyable.

My apprehension comes from the experience of the previous films, which I complained were too long and so overwritten as to become convoluted. That's not good for what should be a simple pirate movie. Having left behind many of the familiar characters (Orlando Bloom, Kiera Knightly and Jonathan Price are absent this time), the movie is free to find new characters and a new arena to play in. With that, this is a kind of trimmed down POTC movie.

The movie finds the ever-plucky sea-going rascal Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) once again in trouble with the King's court and about to be executed. That is, until one of his crew produces a map to the fabled Fountain of Youth, rumored to have been found 200 years before by the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León. Jack makes a spectacular escape and the race is on race to find the fountain, which is headed off first by the Spanish fleet and then by the British fleet. Trailing them are Jack and his nemesis Captain Barbossa (Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush), who is a privateer under the orders of King George II (Richard Griffiths). Then there is Angelica (Oscar winner Penelope Cruz), who is first mate on the ship captained by Blackbeard (Ian McShane) - whose beard is actually gray, but never mind.

The plot to get to the fountain of youth is probably more complicated than it needs to be. Getting to the fountain is easy enough, but then we learn that it is not a simple matter of taking a dip and becoming younger, no. First, Jack learns, you must first get two goblets belonging to Ponce de León, then you have to mix it with the tears of a mermaid, then (I think I have this right), one person has to drink from one cup to become younger and then another person has to drink from the other and they will die. Something along those lines. As I said, it is more complicated than it needs to be.

The plot, as in the previous installments, is somewhat superfluous. There really isn't a need to get to the fountain of youth. There probably wasn't any need for mermaids that can suck your blood, nor, all that stuff about voodoo and shrinking massive ships until you can fit them into bottles. Yet, what I have learned about this series is that the plot really doesn't matter. These films are constructed more as a series of set pieces rather than a narrative plot. I appreciated the mermaids but, this being a Disney film, the all-out boob-fest that should have ensued sadly never materializes.

What keeps this series popular is quality control. Johnny Depp maintains the same swagger and slurry charm that he had in the previous films. He keeps from taking the film too seriously but avoids the temptation to make fun of the character. The first film got him his first Oscar nomination, and justifiably so. Eight years, and three sequels later, Depp maintains the fun spirit of the character and doesn't allow it to grow routine. Neither does Geoffrey Rush, in his third go-around as Captain Barbossa, which he plays with an evil wink and a pirate accent that he practically chews on. Penelope Cruz gives a nice performance here and proves - to me at least - that she should have been the female protagonist of the series all along instead of Kiera Knightly. Yet, I was surprisingly underwhelmed by Ian McShane's performance as Blackbeard. McShane is a wonderful actor but somehow Blackbeard seems subdued. He is pure evil, right down to the buckles on his boots but the character doesn't leap out with the lip-smacking vileness that I had hoped. The movie pins the character down as if they are introducing him to be in a future movie.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" is probably the best of the series since the first one. That is thanks to a leaner script and, mercifully, a shorter running time (it is actually an hour shorter than the last one). I could complain about it all day long, but I would rather confess that I was more entertained by this film than I was by the previous two.

Disney has found a gold mine with this series. Convoluted as these movies are, they do have an audience and I am glad to see anything that gets movie fans excited. Yet, there is a feeling that this series may be wrapping up. Johnny Depp has said that he is growing tired of playing Jack Sparrow (although it does not come out in his performance) and that may bring about an end to this "Pirates" series. With that, I started thinking that maybe Disney would do well to move on to something else, maybe Treasure Island, Captain Blood, The Sea Hawk, Moby Dick. Maybe the same fun-loving spirit that made this series so popular could be given to those classics as well.
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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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It's Jack's show.
insomniac_rod22 May 2011
My expectations were low and I was surprisingly pleased by this movie. It's all about Jack. He interrupts in the most important moments with his wacky sense of humor.

The movie is overall entertaining and funny. My beef with it was some dumb character decisions, and solving important events with improvisations. But well it's Jack's style.

Jack Sparrow carries the whole film on his back. Penelope Cruz was a great addition as her character is fierce, beautiful, and very angry towards Jack. Barbossa returns and wants to seek revenge against Blackbeard. So character wise, the movie is great.

The f/x are excellent although the 3D isn't at any point necessary but that's my opinion.

The score is also fantastic.

The production values are superb, the story gets you interested most of the time, the action sequences were just good (left something to desire); and the humor is fine. The highlights for me were the mermaids attack, the opening sequence, and the final match between Barbossa and Blackbeard.

Overall it's a popcorn movie that should please fans of the series. .
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It's great, even the 3D effects!
Gordon-1118 May 2011
This film is about Captain Jack Sparrow and his coerced voyage to find the fountain of youth that is heavily sought after by various individuals and even countries.

People in Hong Kong are lucky to get "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" earlier than the United States, and even luckier is that most cinemas here already have evening shows the day before its official release.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" has very good 3D effects. I have not watched a lot of 3D movies, but this is easily the best I have seen. Instead of the layered 2D effects that they call 3D, "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" has real 3D that gives you the feeling that you really are there at the scene, watching events unfold.

The plot is easily understandable, straightforward but very engaging. It's more action and adventure this time than previous instalments. It's also more funny, even adult humour finds its way into this Disney production (involving a comment on the viewpoint of a missionary). The mermaids are visually stunning, and I really thought the first mermaid is Amanda Seyfried, but it's a woman called Gemma Ward.

Of course, the ending paves way for a sequel. I am looking forward to the next one already.
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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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Another trilogy coming?
kosmasp26 December 2011
I'm assuming you have seen the previous installments of the Pirates of the Caribean saga/franchise. If you have, you know that Keiras and Orlandos character will not return for this one. But apart from Johnny Depp there are other people who do return from previous movies and lighten up the movie with their trademark humour.

How will you feel about this movie? It depends clearly on your love of the Jack Sparrow character (Captain, I know). If you like that character a lot, you will not mind a few faults here and there. If you are fixed on the fact, that Keira and Orlando are gone, you might as well not watch this, because you won't enjoy it as much.

The media tried to push other people in the cast as new Orlando and new Keira. But don't expect this to happen either. A fun ride (not as fun as the very first Pirates movie of course), that will entertain you, if you keep an open mind and your heart open for the one and only ... Captain Jack Sparrow!
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The best since the original Pirates
simonparker199020 May 2011
I would like to begin by saying that I very rarely review films anymore, but after reading many reviews for this film by various critics I felt compelled to give my own verdict. Purely because every review I have read has been unnecessarily venomous, and simply seemed to trash the film and its two predecessors at every given opportunity. I am a fan of the Pirates trilogy, the original is by far the best, and three may have some problems with its convoluted storyline, but there is nothing wrong with Dead Man's Chest and as a trilogy they all worked very well. This fourth instalment like the others is great fun, the storyline may not be Oscar worthy stuff but neither was the storyline in the others. It is an entertaining fantasy flick that you can sit back, relax and enjoy. The idea that Johnny Depp has become bored of the character of Jack Sparrow and plays him in this film as a shadow of his former self, is simply ludicrous. Depp is on top form in this movie, brilliant for me considering following the awful performance in Alice in Wonderland I had begun doubting him somewhat. On Stranger Tides is easily the best movie since the original, and I would be more than happy to sit through another two films.

Now onto the performances. As previously mentioned Depp is simply outstanding as Jack Sparrow. By putting him to the forefront means we get to spend more time with him, though thankfully the writers hold back on having him on screen too much. His one liners, especially one involving a Spanish Convent had me in stitches. His relationship with Angelica (Penelope Cruz) really adds that extra bit of spice to the film. It also helps that Cruz and Depp have outstanding chemistry together. While the character of Angelica can be a bit complicated at times, her motives are vague at best, this can be overshadowed by the fact Cruz plays her with some real gusto. Geoffrey Rush as Barbossa for me really stole the show, and it seems the writers gave him quite a bit more storyline this time as well. The idea of moving him to the kings navy really played off, and his scenes for me were definitely a highlight of the film. Ian McShane is a great villain, while not as good as Davey Jones or Barbossa for that matter, he still has a great storyline and some really menacing moments to make him a worthy adversary.

My one major issue with this movie would be the storyline of the missionary and the mermaid. While thankfully it isn't given enough screen time to be a really annoyance, I do question its point in the first place. Keira Knightly and Orlando Bloom are not remotely missed, so why try a romance replacement which just isn't that good. The mermaid action scene however is a thing to behold. As said the storyline is not amazing, the quest for the fountain of youth is entertaining and it has less betrayals than the far too long At World's End, but it isn't a story that will be winning awards. Nevertheless it maintains your interest and never feels like an excuse to get to the next action scene as it was in something like Transformers 2. The fact it is a one story arc is also a nice breath of fresh air following the second and third movies. Overall this is a great Summer movie, the kids will love it, and if you're a pirates fan you will also love it. The trashing of this film to me is slightly irritating as this is genuinely a very good film that deserves recognition. I will stand by the Pirates films until I genuinely see one that is rubbish, this film is a great Summer blockbuster and anyone that looks at it otherwise must either be deluded or trashing on it because they no longer see Pirates as "cool". I cannot recommend this film quite enough, just go out, watch it and have a great laugh, I know I did.
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View it as a spin off and it's a rollicking treasure seeking adventure.
hitchcockthelegend21 August 2019
Ok lets have it out front right away, this particular writer loved the first film (Curse of the Black Pearl), was disappointed with the second (Dead Man's Chest) and positively found the third (At World's End) to be an incomprehensible bore. Part 4: On Stranger Tides is a shift in another direction, where a group of piratical characters, some we know well, others new to the fold, embark on missions to find the fabled Fountain of Youth. So think "Indiana Jones", "National Treasures" like adventures (hell even "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World") and you get the drift here. Expectation of this franchise getting back to the heady days of that first film will be crushed pretty early on.

There's a little too much going on here for it to be safe children's fare, but the adults, especially those who remember the serial silliness of adventure films of yore, will have a good time. The action set-pieces are superb, enter high speed carriage chase through London, some spiffing sword play deep in the brewery, Blackbeard (Ian McShane) using his black magic whiles to incarcerate mutineers in a whirl of maniacal ropes, and a mermaid attack that quite frankly rocks - as do the mermaids themselves the vicious teasers they are.

Production is as expected top notch, and the cast, in spite of having to battle for screen time in a cast of thousands, are doing fine work (Penélope Cruz a welcome heaving bosom of spunkiness). For sure our main man Captain Jack Sparrow, with Depp just about keeping the characters charm on tap, isn't as dominating a force as we would like, but he leaves his trusty fun mark and the others (Barbosa is back drinking rum out of his newly acquired peg leg) pick up the slack. It's unlikely to get better on revisits, so if you be hardcore POTC from earlier adventures, there's no point going back to se tis one. Those who like the type of films mentioned previously, and don't mind a different direction for the series, then tis holds no fears. 7/10
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I don't get why this one wasn't liked by the majority?
rws_209 March 2021
Yes, there's no Bloom or Knightley in this one, and it might not be as action-packed as the others, but it's far from a bad film. Depp, Rush and McShane did a fantastic job at carrying the franchise to its fourth installment. There's plenty of laughs, some well choreographed action sequences, and it's a nice little tale of the search for the Fountain of Youth. This one is definitely up there with the first three films for me.
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Pirates of the Carribbean 4 3D is simple-minded and fun
helmutty19 May 2011
I must say I enjoyed Gore's Pirates of the Carribbean trilogy very much. Although the third one is crammed with many characters and confusing story plots, I still had a great time watching ships being wrecked apart. When a forth movie is announced, I was wary of it as I thought Gore has already concluded his vision. I did not actually show much interest in watching it until I heard it is shot in 3D and I am a big 3D fan. Pirates of the Carribbean: On Stranger Tides is an entertaining ride and much more simpler than the bloated At World's End.

The story: Johnny Depp returns to his famous role, witty Captain Jack. His friend, Gibbs is back. Barbossa returns too. And these are the only characters that are back for a forth outing. Jack is still as witty as ever. Characters wise is okay. Some characters are under-used like the mermaids. Those action fans who expect Gore's visual and epic battles scenes will be a little bit disappointed in here. Rob Marshall goes for smaller yet still thrilling action set pieces. On the note of ships wrecking, there is none here. Story wise is alright. The pace moves decently. Critics and audience who complained that the previous movie is too bloated now do not need to wreck their brains with characters and confusing/long-winded side plots. Hans Zimmer is top-notch here again with the famous Pirates of the Caribbean music. As a 3D fan, I was a little disappointed with its usage of 3D. Shots of scenery are good but when it comes to the action, it lacks of the visual effects it is supposed to have and in your face moments. I have to admit that this is a bit too long for a 3D movie, struggling to keep the 3D glasses on top of my glasses and craning my neck like in Avatar.

Overall: It is another Pirates and blockbuster movie to whet movie-goers's appetite. Of course, it is not like the Gore's movies or even as big as his but this still stand up with Rob's different directions. This might start up another series as this will no doubt earn a lot in box office.
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Jack Is Back.....
bk_connection16 May 2011
I can imagine that many has been sitting with a feeling if the Pirates concept is going too far(Specially after POC nr.3) but thanks to a tight script this fourths installment of POC is definitely worth a watch.

I personally didn't like the 3rd one cause of too much talk and confusion, but this one lives up to the first two.

Jack Sparow and captain Barbosa are the scene stealer s, their chemistry is Top-Notch. Cruz and rest of the crew did very well.

And thank god that Orlanda Bloom and that Skinny girl is not in the movie.

Go for this movie, it got everything from comedy, action, adventure and the most important: Captain Jack Sparow.
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Welcome back Pirates of the Caribbean!
jamez-maack20 May 2011
I thought the first Pirates film was excellent, the second one started to confuse me a little however I still very much enjoyed it while the third film was so confusing and I was beginning to fear the worst...

however the reason I say welcome back was that after the third film it had seemed there would be no return for the franchise, however now with a much simpler story than the third and still maintaining the action, humour and still an intense storyline this franchise has well and truly taken off once more.

The return of Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush with Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane added to the cast creates an experience not to be missed. With much more focus on Captain Jack Sparrow you know the film was heading in the right direction, the film grips the audience from start to finish (I was lucky enough to go see the first seeing in the cinema) and while it was first thing in the afternoon the turnout was still good.

I throughly enjoyed the film and I suggest everyone who thinks this will be the same as the third one IT IS NOT! It is much easier to understand and it is easier to follow for the younger generation also.

Well worth 9/10.
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Legend Back!
Vezon12320 May 2011
Six hours under the scorching sun in the huge crowd of fans near the "October". Six hours in anticipation of the most talented and just a great actor of our time! And as a result of expectations - a few photos of unrivaled Johnny Depp and a coveted autograph! And as a bonus - an invitation to the screening of "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides"! Who would have thought that on 11 May will be such a good day!

And now about the movie ...

What I can say - brilliant! In addition, the first time I watched a movie in the IMAX format, and has remained under tremendous experience! This live picture, everything on the screen as a body and realistically - the enthusiasm, in a word!

From the first seconds we return to the much-loved atmosphere "Pirates ...". History twists the first scene, and already it is safe to say - the film will be interesting! And even more interesting he becomes with the advent of on-screen Jack Sparrow! Oh, sorry - Captain Jack Sparrow! Johnny is great as always in this way, look at him with a smile and tenderness. No matter how much time Depp has not played this delightful pirate, how would the families and familiar it may seem, Johnny always be open to this hero is something new, to make the image more charm and charisma. And in the fourth film, Jack revealed before the audience with a new party, while remaining the same direct and funny queer!

Also, we again will meet with Captain Barbossa and Gibbs antiquity! The hero of Jeffery brought before us in a new role, but the old faithful habits ... Yes, and Kevin McNally character true to himself and also faithful to Jack with his crazy inventions!

New faces delight no less familiar characters. What stands alone Penelope Cruz in the role of the beautiful Angelica! Wonderful and deep character, with its history, its principles ... The girl, who is able to lie for their own benefit is not worse than Jack, and sometimes better than the beloved Captain! In general, from Johnny and Penelope went fine duo, this pair looks very harmonious, and their characters are each other's faces! All the scenes with rich, dynamic, and sometimes romantic ... in general - the complex relationship of Jack and Angelica will not leave indifferent!

We should not forget about black beard ... Ian McShane contributed to the gallery of images of pirates. His character is quite controversial, although to call him a villain can be quite fair. But the villain villain strife, as in life everyone has their reasons ...

Good storyline and Philip and the Sirens! Specifically, fresh blood in the face of new heroes "Pirates ..." only benefit!

Overall, the movie remains the most positive emotions! It is so beautiful and interesting, so it is sustained intrigue until the very end ... Oh, we must be able to remove SO! As always we will be pleased by a firework fun frazochek Captain Sparrow, and in principle this hero cheer anyone! There will be many spectacular things: fights, explosions, attacks monsters - it all brings genuine aesthetic pleasure. No cost and without the fourth part of his philosophy - there can be one ponder the eternal questions of life and death, about issues of faith and redemption ...

In general - the film is required to view! Thanks to all of its creators for the next pirate's masterpiece!

No such figures, which could be appreciated to appreciate the genius of the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides"! .. But, observing the rules
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pirates are back and better for it!
wotsonurmind14 May 2011
I watched the preview last Thursday.I cannot disagree more with one of the reviews which suggested the latest version is a bit dull.On stranger tides is not only better than the last two instalments but nearly as good as the the original.The storyline is lucid,plenty of jokes which made the first movie good,less use of nonsense CGI and absence of two characters actually gives a new lease of life particularly since Ian McShane is as expected just brilliant.Penelope Cruz appears to be hiding in long dresses to hide her obvious problem at that time.All in all the best movie outing for sheer fun since Inception.Its a popcorn movie and does a good job of what is expected!
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Pirates 4 a worthy adventure.
punch878 May 2019
Does pretty much what it sets out to do -- play up and on those things that have worked in the previous films. It's a lot like one of the later Crosby-Hope 'Road' Pictures.
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