Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Review

It’s not saying much for a film that only gets about 30% on RottenTomatoes.com. But after reading some of those reviews, I decided to check the film out for myself. I did make the mistake of seeing the film on Monday, rather than my usual Tuesday (due to other circumstances), so I ended up paying more for the film and the popcorn (Tuesdays are Stimulus Tuesdays at my local movie theater and everything is cheaper). Fortunately for me, it was a good film and I didn’t feel ripped off.

Okay, considering I paid more for the popcorn and soda than the movie, maybe I felt a little ripped off. But I have to have popcorn. It’s just one of those things!

The film itself is what you would expect from any Pirates of the Caribbean film. It’s a swashbuckling adventure with lots of sword-fighting, action sequences and Johnny Depp chewing scenery. That, in and of itself, makes for a good movie.

The story was also fairly entertaining. It’s about the quest for the infamous Fountain of Youth and obviously, several different groups are out to find it first. There are the Spaniards and the British and the most feared pirate of all, Blackbeard. It is with Blackbeard that Captain Jack Sparrow falls in with against his will. Interestingly enough, the British are led by a one Captain Barbosa (Geoffrey Rush), who is now missing a leg.

Penelope Cruz plays Angelica, a woman (and pirate) from Captain Sparrow’s past. And unfortunately, she is one of the few problems I have with the film. I think her role was miscast as I saw it as supposedly being a female version of Jack. I don’t feel Cruz could keep up with Depp, but then again, that may have been an impossible task to ask of any actress. I also didn’t see a lot of chemistry between the two actors, at least not until the very end.

That’s a minor criticism, though, for a film that was just all out good fun. Yes, of course, it’s not a serious piece. It’s not meant to be. And anyone expecting something serious has obviously not seen any of the previous films.

I loved Ian McShane as Blackbeard, although I didn’t see the role as much of a stretch for the man who played Al Swearengen on Deadwood.

Please note that I did not see the film in 3D. I did see some scenes where the usual 3D effects would have been in full effect, though. Swords pointed at the screen, for example. I hate this sort of pandering for 3D, but then again, maybe I should have seen it in 3D. But I hate 3D. So I didn’t. I’ll be glad when this little fad is over.

For me, the first film will always be the best, mostly because it was our first introduction to Captain Jack. We know him well enough now that I did find much of his behavior in the newest film to be predictable. However, it was predictable in a way that a good friend is predictable. It’s all those little things that made you smile in the previous films.

And smiling I did. And at times, outright laughing.

And then I began to wonder how the critics could have been so wrong. No, it’s not the best movie ever made. But it’s also much better than they’re giving it credit for.

Also, how can you criticize a film that features a cameo by Dame Judi Dench herself? You can’t! Savvy?

In the end, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is a highly entertaining summer romp.

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