Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)

“You are guilty of being innocent of being Jack Sparrow.” Really?

An entertaining successor to the first three films in the Pirates series, On Stranger Tides makes up in comical brilliance and swashbuckling action for what it lacks in ingenuity.

Seriously—the creativity all but evaporated half an hour into the movie. Or perhaps, as an avid fan of the Pirates series, I had unrealistically high expectations. Whichever the reason, the plot of this film is a huge disappointment.

The introduction is great. We see a hilarious court scene and then Jack Sparrow fooling around with the king. The part leading up to Jack’s duel with Angelica is pretty interesting too. But once Jack is seaborne, the movie turns very unoriginal:

  • Jack is searching for the Fountain of Youth, and later finds out that he must also find two chalices. He searched for the “dead man’s chest,” among other things, in earlier films.
  • Blackbeard’s foretold death from a one-legged man, his power to magically control the Queen Anne’s Revenge, as well as other supernatural events in the movie. The first three films were full of the supernatural.
  • They must secure a mermaid and keep her captive for a certain ritual. In At World’s End, they similarly held Calypso. And of course, in Curse of the Black Pearl, Elizabeth Swann is kept captive for a ritual.

In addition, this film did not see the return Will and Elizabeth, two major characters in the earlier films.

That said, there were many impressive positive features of On Stranger Tides. For one, the music was outstanding, combining the epic original theme with a fitting Spanish atmosphere.

Also, the actors Johnny Depp (Jack) and Geoffrey Rush (Barbossa) performed superbly. When you watch them for just five seconds, you know they’re pirates. The portrayal of Blackbeard and Angelica is convincing too, but they were clearly not veteran pirates.

And then there’s humor. The best part of the movie is Jack Sparrow’s remark about jumping off a cliff: “You know that feeling you get when you’re standing in a high place… sudden urge to jump?… I don’t have it.” Granted, I saw this quote in the trailer, but it’s just so perfect.

Rating: 7/10

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