Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)

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IMDb Rating
6.7 out of 10 (view IMDb page)

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

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(Based on 0 Ratings)
MPAA Rating:
137 Minutes
Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Rob Marshall
Ted Elliott

Weekly Volcano's Review

Rev. Adam McKinney on May 18th, 2011

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Purely by coincidence, I showed up at the Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides screening wearing nail polish. Two days earlier, I had gotten drunk and painted them a kind of Pepto pink. As I readied myself for the trip to the screening, I realized that the polish was still there, and still very pink. Being that I own no nail polish remover, I inadvertently attended the film in mild Jack Sparrow attire.

As might be expected, the fourth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean films is eminently forgettable. Maybe this isn't the worst thing in the world. It is, after all, intended as brief popcorn entertainment (brief meaning over two hours, in this day and age). PotC seems as if it strives to take after those fluffy swashbuckling series of the early days of sound and color in film. But fluff shouldn't be charged a premium for bulls*** 3-D "effects" (please note that "effects" is dripping with all the sarcasm my body can muster), nor should it skimp on ridiculous action scenes and preposterous set pieces.

PotC fails on both counts. Doubtlessly, you are tired of hearing people complain about 3-D - the most insulting affront to a moviegoer's intelligence that we are so unlucky to experience. The action and swashbuckling fun is missing for precisely no reason. PotC's running time is padded out to an exorbitant level by limitless, confusing exposition and dead ends of plot. It's as if the previous installments in the franchise had such absurd running times that this new feature had to match them. Knowing this new installment was based on a novel called On Stranger Tides - and then Captain Jack Sparrow was plugged into the story - surely points to how exhausted writers are about making new adventures in this world. One hopes audiences have grown tired, as well.

This new adventure involves Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) searching for the Fountain of Youth, which Ponce de León searched for in Florida. It's unclear where Sparrow and his pirates go searching, but I never saw any alligators. On Sparrow's tail are the Spanish military, the nefarious Blackbeard (Ian McShane, who has magic powers, but never mind), and the one-legged Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush, chewing up every scene he comes across).

Also complicating matters is Blackbeard's daughter, Angelica (the unassailably gorgeous Penelope Cruz). She and Sparrow have a love/hate relationship, which only serves to further complicate the already complex story. Tete-a-tetes abound, with very little in the way of substance to rub between the two.

The film is not without its moments. Take, for instance, the eerie encounter between the sailors and the mermaids. Or, the sudden change in musical cue when Sparrow and Angelica talk on that beach. But these moments are painfully few and far between. The audience I saw this film with were definitely fans: every time a familiar character would come onscreen, there would be a delighted murmur throughout the crowd. In between those murmurs, there was deathly silence - a silence that I sadly shared. - One and a half stars

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