Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Review

Drink up me hearties. Pirates Of The Caribbean is back with another installment. This time Jack Sparrow and the gang are out to find the fountain of youth. Does this Pirates installment a treasure, or should this be sent to Davy Jones locker.

Story - Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) crosses paths with a woman from his past (Cruz), and 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 (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. That's the synopsis of the film.

The story is very disappointing. Pirates Of The Caribbean On Stranger Tides suffers from many things. The story suffers from lack of characterization, tons of plot holes and a bunch of scenes that should have been cut. The main problem with the story is nothing is really explained. Who is Blackbeard? Why is he the most feared pirate in the land? We know why he is after the Fountain Of Youth? Besides his ruthless tactics, what makes Blackbeard the most feared pirate? Give us a little backstory on who he is. Blackbeard was ruthless, but there is no explanation or even a glimpse to his rise to power. The story started off strong, with Jack Sparrow in London. However after the hunt for the Fountain Of Youth begins, the story goes all over the place. Nothing really ties in together. For example Blackbeard does something with ships that he has destroyed, but how does he have the power to do that? Where is the explanation for that? There is one huge plot hole that involves Jack's doll. However I will leave you to come up with that conclusion. Another big problem I had with the story is that it's predictable. No element of surprise in this one. Once you find out that Blackbeard is afraid of this particular thing, you will know how the film will end. It's revealed too early what the outcome of the film will be.

The theme of the movie is fate. People who are after the Fountain Of Youth are either trying to delay their fate, or stop it all together. The movie adds a religious character name Philip. He is the moral compass of the film as he and Blackbeard clash on whether one soul can truly be saved. This debate I did find enjoyable to watch, but the theme and views from both sides seem forced. The story did do well by keeping Jack Sparrow an interesting character. The introduction of love interest Angelina (Penelope Cruz) keeps Jack enjoyable to watch. Some of the best moments of the film are with Jack and Angelina on screen together.

Acting - The acting is great. Johnny Depp is still wonderful as Jack. However the character might be getting a little stale. Jack wacky ways are tone down compare to "At World's End." He is more of the Jack we remember from the first Pirate movie. Geoffrey Rush is wonderful as Barbossa, however he is underused until the big moment. However the ending gives me hope that he might return to the Barbossa we know from the first one. Penelope Cruz is a breath of fresh air in the series. Her character is a true female pirate, with skills of the sword and just as cunning as Sparrow. Finally Ian McShane as Blackbeard stills the show. His delivery was spot on. Even without a backstory on his character, you can tell this guy has no heart, no soul and no emotion. I loved his performance.

Music & Filmmaking - Hans Zimmer returns for another round. For the most part the music is taken from the other films. However some of the new stuff are great. I really enjoy the Mermaid theme and Blackbeard's theme. The locations are great as well, most of the film was filmed in Hawaii and you really see the beauty of it. The action scenes are fun, but the highlight of the film is the Mermaids. If they made a movie based on a Mermaid war we would be in for a wild ride.

Final Grade C-/7.0: Pirates does have it's moment. However the movie runs too long and the lack of explanation on key items, characters and locations really hurt the film. The ending will have you wondering if the plot will get more crazy. Fans of Jack Sparrow will be happy to see he is still progressing as a man. Other than that this film needs the Fountain Of Youth, because the franchise is getting stale.