Movie Monday: “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”

 Grade: B

Starring: Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush

Like most people I know I went to see Pirates 4 just to see how it was, because a story we all know is being continued so we want to see it. I went into this movie with an optimistic adittude, even though I knew it would not be as good as the first one and Disney sucks at making sequels. But, just like how Pirates breaks every Disney rule, it broke the sequel rule with this one (not so much with 2 and 3 though).

The one thing that made this Pirates movie work was the remixing of characters.

Of course there were the orignal major characters Jack (Johnny Depp), Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and Gibbs (Kevin McNally). Each of them were found in an entirely different situations than where we left them four years ago. Gibbs has been arrested in London because he is mistaken for being Jack Sparrow and Barbossa has lost the Black Pearl (and a leg) and has become a privateer for King George. Apparently Jack has been spending the time trying to find the fountain of youth and the Pearl, but we aren’t really told.

Because movies two and three could have just been one six-hour long movie, no new characters were introduced. So, it got a little boring. Movie 4, on the other hand, introduced us to a lot of new characters, which was fun because it made the movie into a new and different adventure for Jack, Barbossa and Gibbs. Best new character, in my opinion, is Angelica (Penelope Cruz), who was going to be a nun but was turned into a pirate by Jack. They also had some kind of relationship in the past, so finally Jack gets his first real love interest.

Angelica gets Jack onto the haunted/magic ship captained by her father, Blackbeard (Ian McShane). Like everyone else in the movie (Barbossa and Gibbs working for England, part of the Spanish Navy and Jack) Blackbeard is trying to find the fountain of youth. Jack and Angelica spend most of their time with Blackbeard’s crew, so we meet the other new characters. Pintel and Ragetti, the comic duo from the first three, are replaced by Scrum (Stephan Graham), who is equally as funny.

The best decision Disney made to make this one better than the last two was replacing the young couple. Sure, I was mad when I  first heard that Will and Elizabeth weren’t going to be in this one, but I was surprised by how the story was almost better without them. They had run their course and it was time for something new. So, we are introduced to kidnapped Christian missionary Phillip (Sam Claflin) and kidnapped mermaid Syrena (Astrid Berges-Frisbey). Their names aren’t said very often though, so my friends and I were calling them Bible Boy and the mermaid. They worked well because they were new, interesting and we got to see them become attracted to each other (like Will and Elizabeth in the first one).
The movie did do little things to remind us that it is a franchise. Small characters are brought back like Captain Teague (Keith Richards), Groves, Gillette, even the monkey. Someone ends up getting marooned on the same island from the first one and the Pearl is talked about throughout the movie. This mix of a new adventure, ties to the old movies and the re-mixing of characters made this the best Pirates movie. But still behind the first one, of course.

Watch “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” trailer

What Enterainment Weekley thought

What the New York Times Thought

Watch “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” parody trailer


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