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Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (DVD)

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  • PG 13
  • 136 Minutes
  • Tired franchise
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    13 Reviews
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      21.06.2014 18:41
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      • "Starring Johnny Depp"
      • "136 Minutes"
      • "PG 13"

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      • "Tired franchise"

      A Franchise on the Rocks?

      The first film was a genuine surprise hit. Everyone thought it was just another swashbuckling pirate movie and one to avoid, apparently based on a Las Vegas hotel thrill ride. But what fun it was and the sort of film that demonstrates exactly what movie magic is, able to make a run of the mill story come to life, Johnny Depp''s brilliant Captain Jack Sparrow the reason. The sequel was ok but it was washed up on the rocks by film three. But Disney only saw dollar signs and rebooted the franchise with the first in a new trilogy with Stranger Tides, which is currently the 13th highest grossing film ever and the highest ever grossing 4th film in a series, but two places behind POC: Dead Mans Chest. Worlds End is in at 22 and, somewhat ironically, the best one of all doesn''t make the top 50. It set records for the least time to reach $500, $600 and $700 million worldwide (in 10, 12 and 16 days respectively) in 2011 but the first of the four not to be Oscar nominated, director Gore Verbinski of the first three film jumping ship at the right time.

      After a failed attempt to rescue his first mate, Joshamee Gibbs (Kevin McNally) in London, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is brought before King George II (Richard Griffiths), who needs Sparrow to guide an expedition to the Fountain of Youth before the Spanish locate it. Heading the expedition is nemesis, Captain Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), now a privateer in service to the Royal Navy after losing his leg and ship, the Black Pearl Jack doesn''t fancy it and escapes. His father, Captain Teague (Keith Richards), stumbles into him at the local inn and warns Jack about the Fountain''s tests. Jack also has an impersonator out there, a female one, Angelica (Penelope Cruz), Jack''s former lover and the daughter of the ruthless pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane), who knows voodoo and wields a magical sabre that controls the Black Pearl.

      Jack is taken aboard Blackbeard''s creaky ship, the Queen Anne''s Revenge, and forced to lead the way to the Fountain, finding two important silver chalices in the process that once belonged to Juan Ponce de Leon, both believed to be aboard his lost ship. One must drink the Fountain''s water simultaneously. The person drinking from the chalice containing a mermaid''s tear has their life extended, while the other person dies and their sole ''donated'' to hell. On the voyage Mermaid Tamara (Gemma Ward) tries to seduce the sailors by singing haunting tunes before dragging them to the deep. But Blackbeard captures one (Astrid Berges-Frisbey), Syrene,. Missionary Philip Swift (Sam Claflin) kind to her and falls in love. Blackbeard then sends Jack to retrieve the chalices from de Leon''s ship as the fountain ears, all three vessels in hot pursuit.

      It''s not great, the franchise well and truly shipwrecked. You have seen it all in the first three films and Depp, the reason it worked in the first place, is grimacing throughout, edges in and out of the action and seems irrelevant and bored most of the time, like a rock band playing the same hits for 30-years. He clearly didn''t like working with director Rob Marshall and his box of CGI tricks and the film widely booed off the stage like a bad magic act by the critics. I was bored throughout and the kettle on in the first 30 minutes. This is the film I thought Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was going to be.

      You can sit the kids in front of it as they will know no different and I''m sure Depp fans will see it anyway. Penelope Cruz tries to rev things up with some Latin spice after Keira Knightley walked the plank into oblivion in the last film but can change the course of this films destiny. The rocks! It''s harsh but these are the sort of films are made for the proletariat and the films they want to see where brain and thought are not required. There are way too many CGI effects and the plot is all over the place as it tries to tie in the other three films and characters. But the money is great so the actors just shiver me timbers, aghhh me hearties, and count the millions.

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      02.01.2014 16:53
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      Will this be the end or will Disney continue to milk this cash cow?

      FILM ONLY REVIEW

      Pirates of the Caribbean

      On Stranger Tides

      ...is the fourth of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, Depp is still doing his wonderful impersonation of Keith Richards as Captain Jack Sparrow, but alas Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley are notable by their absence. The chemistry is just not the same without them. However the largely British cast do a good job with a weak storyline that does not have much swashbuckling to add excitement.

      In the film version the tale begins in London, First Mate Gibbs is on trial and Sparrow is determined to save him from hanging. Without wanting to spoil one of the funnier moments of the plot Sparrow succeeds in this part of his quest, however, as is so often the case all does not quite go to plan....

      Now, dear reader, I am not going to give away much of the plot here at all, the film for those of us that have enjoyed the previous three is a must see and an enjoyable enough lark where you can leave your brain at the door. The premise is that there is a rumour that Sparrow is recruiting a crew. Sparrow knows nothing of this and almost gets lynched as an imposter when he goes to find who is impersonating him and what they hope to gain. A little "swash is buckled" here and it is at this point in the film that he meets love interest Angelica played by Penelope Cruz.

      Unbeknown to Sparrow old flame Angelica is "pretending" to be the long lost daughter of Blackbeard played by Lovejoy actor Ian McShane. They are searching for the "Fountain of Youth" and decide that they need Sparrow to help them find it. Sparrow of course knows where it is and has lost the map.

      The King is also seeking the "Fountain of Youth and has employed Sparrow's old adversary Barbossa still played brilliantly by Geoffrey Rush.

      So there is a quest, a race, love interest. There has to be danger, the danger comes in the form of the necessity to capture a mermaid for her tear.


      The quality cast lack something and as mentioned I believe it is chemistry the believable far-fetched characters played by Bloom and Knightly are missing and hugely missed. Depp does his stuff, still mincing and staggering whilst using his boyish charm and good looks to continually find his way out of trouble as Sparrow. However, he was playing the same old character, perhaps with the idea if it ain't broke don't fix it, maybe just thinking of the pay-check, but the formula here was a little tired.

      Cruz plays the character of angelic yet villainous (yes really!) Angelica with the villainous side of the character being much more believable and it would have been nice if further exploration of a relationship between her and Sparrow were used in the film.

      McShane's recognisable voice seemed to be the best part of the character of Blackbeard. More air time for Rush as Barbossa, would have lifted the film somewhat too and he enjoyed some lovely comical moments.

      In conclusion the fourth of a series is a tricky place to be, especially when two of the main actors are absent. The plot is slower and less edgy than the last two offerings and Depp's character of Sparrow has not grown, which is a real shame. A bit more time could have made more of Barbossa and the Sparrow/Angelica relationship which would have been nice. However, it is a good family adventure, suitable for all but the very faint hearted and passes a wet windy afternoon pleasingly enough.

      The film has a UK certificate 12 came out in 2011 ....

      And was directed by Rob Marshall replacing Gore Verbinski who directed the first three films.

      The main cast members are:

      * Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow,
      * Geoffrey Rush as Captain Hector Barbossa,
      * Penélope Cruz as Angelica,
      * Ian McShane as Edward "Blackbeard" Teach
      * Kevin McNally as Joshamee Gibbs
      * Greg Ellis as Lieutenant Commander Theodore Groves
      * Damian O'Hare as Lieutenant Gillette
      * Sam Claflin as Philip Swift
      * Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey as Syrena
      * Stephen Graham as Scrum
      * Óscar Jaenada as The Spaniard, King Ferdinand's most trusted agent
      * Gemma Ward as Tamara
      * Richard Griffiths as King George II

      Available on DVD and Blue Ray as well as download from many on-line outlets from as little as £2.00 at the time of writing.

      STARS: 4/5

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        31.12.2013 18:47
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        A welcome return for Captain Jack Sparrow, but perhaps his last outing?

        -Film Review Only-
        This is the fourth outing in the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' franchise, one that was beginning to get a bit old and tired. I can't say that this film quite returns to the dizzying heights of the first, but it is certainly an improvement on the bloated third film.

        Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is in London, trying to rescue first mate Gibbs from hanging. This he succeeds in, but this is only the start of his troubles. For someone in London has been impersonating Jack, to recruit a crew searching for the fabled Fountain of Youth. The king gets wind of this, and deciding he wants the fountain for himself, has his soldiers haul Jack in. Unfortunately, they get the real Jack Sparrow, who has no idea about such a quest, but is desperate to find the person claiming to be him who does.

        On escaping from the palace, he soon comes across that individual, finding them to be none other than an old lover, Angelica (Penelope Cruz). Along with her father, the infamous pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane), she is determined to find the fountain, to avert her father's prophesied death. She knows Jack has searched for the fountain in the past, and she wants him along now, so he is reluctantly dragged into their quest.

        The journey will not be easy, however. To complete the ritual, they need the tears of a mermaid, and two silver chalices from a shipwreck. Getting these, then finding the fountain's location will not be easy, but they are also racing against adversaries: the Spanish, who received directions from a ship-wrecked sailor, and Jack's old adversary Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush). He is working for the English king, but also has a score to settle with Blackbeard...

        The acting is of variable quality; Johnny Depp does what he does best as Jack, mincing and grinning his way out of trouble, but he fails to bring anything new to the character. We've seen it all before, and it's beginning to get a bit tired. Captain Jack is one of my favourite film characters of all time, and he doesn't disappoint exactly, but he lacks the sparkle and flair we've seen before. The major change in the fourth film, of course, is the loss of Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom, and while they didn't exactly carry earlier films, they are sorely missed here. Angelica attempts to take the place of Knightley's Elizabeth Swann, but she doesn't have quite the same chemistry with Depp as Knightley did. Overall, she's a rather two-dimensional character, with a confusing back story. She is highly religious and met Jack in a convent where she was about to take her vows; this doesn't match with the pirate's daughter we see on screen, and explanations involving trying to redeem her father don't quite wash.

        Next to the villains of previous films, Blackbeard doesn't really compare. He lacks the menace of Davy Jones, and the charm of Barbossa, making him a poor substitute. Barbossa, meanwhile, is wasted, with not nearly enough screentime.

        The film has a few decent action scenes, with the fight for Jack to escape the palace being particularly good. It is also beautifully shot, with the grimy streets of London lovingly recreated, along with the jungles surrounding the fountain. The special effects are good, the scene of the mermaid attack being my favourite; beautiful temptresses transformed into ranks of ravenous killers in seconds.

        Despite the above complaints, the plot zips along nicely, and there is rarely a dull moment, even if those moments don't quite always fit together as logically as they could. It's a little overlong, but it's full of fun. Overall, not a bad watch, but it can't quite match up to the spark and energy of Jack's earlier outings.

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          28.12.2012 18:52
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          They are Milking this franchise dry...No more please!!

          I have put off seeing this movie for a long time as I thought it was just a ploy to make more money and given that my favourite characters Elizabeth Swan (Keira Knightley) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) will not be returning, I saw no reason to continue apart from wanting to know just what they manage to bring that is new.

          ~~~THOUGHTS ON PLOT~~~
          In 'On Stranger Tides', Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is trying to find the fountain of youth, but so are the Spanish, which sparks the British to follow, led by Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush). When Jack meets previous love Angelica Teach (Penelope Cruz), he discovers that she too is looking for the fountain of youth, with her father, the infamous Blackbeard (Ian McShane).

          Racing against everyone else, Jack must use his charm admist the competition in a story full of passion and vengeance.

          The plot was somewhat slow to start but once it got going, it followed a very typical 'Pirates' formula. Fight scenes, escape scenes, though heightened in tension and more drama was thrown in, was pretty much seen before. However, I did like that everyone was racing against each other for the same goal, which gave it a bit more of a punch.

          The inclusion of myth and mystery with the beautiful mermaid creatures added a touch of freshness to the series, with the love arc between Philip (Claflin) and Syrena (Frisbey) more intriguing than the main story itself.

          As the parties neared the fountain of youth, there was a climax which evolved into a predictable ending, but there was still humour right till the end and left open enough for a fifth 'Pirates' movie, which if made, seriously needs to reinvent itself.

          ~~~CAST~~~
          Johnny Depp- Captain Jack Sparrow
          Penelope Cruz- Angelica Teach
          Geoffrey Rush- Barbossa
          Ian McShane- Blackbeard

          Also stars Sam Claflin and Kevin McNally.

          Rising star Sam Claflin was likeable in this movie and has just landed the role of his lifetime as Finnick Odair in 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'.

          Penelope Cruz added a great Latino sass- I'd only wished she would've been more mischievous and manipulative as described- she seemed far too nice most of the time.

          ~~~OVERALL~~~
          'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stanger Tides' would no doubt satisfy fans of the series, but for those who still seek a great story, the latest film has departed from the first three, however much it tries to cling onto threads from before (bringing back Barbossa etc). Unfortunately, many of the sequences are 'seen before', which could be argued as the style of the movie but it no longer captivates.

          If indeed there is going to be another sequel, Jack Sparrow will certainly need to embark on the greatest adventure yet if I'm to watch it.

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            29.02.2012 13:18

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            Not disappointed, just underwhelmed.

            The Curse of the Black Pearl was and still is one of my favourite films of all time. The trouble with sequels is they try and be bigger and better, more funny and witty, and try to expand the character too much! The Black Pearl was a great film because it did the simple things well; it had the action, the comedy, the tragedy and the ghosts! This made it a perfectly rounded film. The difficulty with sequels is there is always that deep burning desire from the director to better his last project; this is usually why they never compare as they just try too hard. The second pirates film was arguably the best of the 3 sequels, with the introduction of a great new character in Davy Jones. However Stranger tides had a brilliant opportunity to be the best. They had pretty much a new cast, only leaving the best characters from the last films, they had a new director to bring his own scope to the franchise and they also had a potentially good story line in the search for the fountain of youth. I'm not saying this was a massive flop because there were some good elements to the film. Jack Sparrow was still his camp weird and wonderful self, and Geoffrey Rush was great once again, this time as Commodore. This is all well and good but when so many other stars fail to make an impact it brings down even the work of two greats like themselves. Where was the passion in this film? The Black Pearl was great because it fully immersed itself within the pirate world and got every part right. It's not that there was no effort made in stranger tides, but it was always missing the spark that made many fall for the first instalment of the franchise. If there is another one made, and i hope they do because i do love the films, i really hope they find and passion and flair which came with the Black Pearl.

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            06.10.2011 00:58
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            Great watch, definitely worth the money.

            Firstly, I am going to be very careful on what I say in this review as I don't want to risk ruining it for anybody who hasn't watched it yet.

            Although I have loved every single one of the films with The Pirates of the Caribbean title, I was a little dubious as to what this one was going to be like because I had heard so many people say it was a let down. How glad am I that I decided to make a judgement for myself!

            As is to be expected with any of The Pirates of the Caribbean films, you are taken straight into the action. There is no dragging it out where these films are concerned and this one was no exception...I was immediately glued to my television screen and this didn't change throughout the whole film.

            This is only my opinion, but the reason I think for some people not enjoying this one as much as the previous three was the fact that two of the usual main characters, Orlando Blume and Kiera Knightly, were not in this one. I think that a lot of people find it hard to warm to new characters and if they have gotten to know the original characters previously, it can sort of instantly lower their enjoyment of the whole film. However, this was definitely not an issue for me.

            I am going to keep it short before a slip of they keys gives any of the plot away but this is definitely one to watch. Even though it is a rather lengthy film at around two hours and twenty minutes, there is so much going on that the time flies by and when the film ended it felt like only a fraction of that time had passed.

            I will definitely be watching this again and again, and would recommend anyone to watch it. If you, like me, have been told that it doesn't measure up to the other three, please, please give it a chance and judge for yourself. You will not be disappointed.

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            25.07.2011 22:02
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            A Great Movie!

            Despite not really being a fan of 'adventure' movies, I suprised myself when I realised that I really liked the Pirates of The Caribbean movies! So when I heard about a fourth movie, I couldn't wait to see it.

            Pirates of The Caribbean : Stranger Tides is the fourth movie in the Pirates of The Carribean sequel. The movie was released in the United Kingdom in 2011. The movie stars Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz. The movie is a 12 which means that it must not be viewed by persons under the age of twelve. The DVD will be released in September 2011!

            Plot: Captain Jack Sparrow is back! This time he ends up meeting someone from his past; he's unsure whether it is really love of whether she is after something. She then forces him onboard a rival pirate ship which turns out to be a right adventure. But who is he more afraid of, the ship or the woman from his past? Watch Pirates Of The Carribbean: Stranger Tides to find out!

            I was pleased to see that this movie is just as good as the first movie and so I was disappointed. I really enjoyed the plot and thought that it was a really exciting plot which made you sit on the edge of your seat!

            I was disappointed that Keira Knightley wasn't in this movie, and I was half expecting her to 'pop up' somewhere whilst I was watching the movie. It was interesting to see a new female character in the form of Penelope Cruz; I thought that she did a great job!

            I was also disappoined that 'Will' (played by Orlando Bloom) wasn't in this movie as like Keira Knightley, he has been in the movies since the beginning and so I have always associated them with POTC.

            My favourite character was definately Jack Sparrow (who has always been my favourite POTC character). He has such great charm, and there is something quite 'hot' about him! He's everyone's favourite pirate!

            The acting in this movie was great; especially Johnny Depp; he's so brilliant, and I love his British accent! All the 'new' actors did as good a job as the old actors - well done! They really made the movie come to life and made it really believeable, despite being quite far-fetched!

            I loved this movie! I loved the first one, and whilst I enjoyed the second and third movies, I didn't think that they were as good as the first movie, however, this one is just as good as the first movie!

            If you liked the other movies then I would definetely recommend this movie to you! Also, if you have the other three movies, then you will just have to add this one to complete your collection!

            Thanks for reading!
            July 2011
            xd-o-n-z-x (also posted under xdonzx on ciao)

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              25.07.2011 14:52
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              The franchise has truly lost his head now - it's hardly ever entertaining, but is more embarrassing

              Captain Jack Sparrow is back, and quite fittingly for its title, his new adventure is a very strange one indeed. Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan have both been written out of the franchise, which would have been a welcome change except for the fact that there are annoyingly unnecessary similar replacement counterparts that fill their absence. Jack is once again going on a quest filled with betrayals and double-crossings at every corner, whilst looking to find something powerful and mythical. Dangerous creatures and rough water somewhat attempt to hinder Sparrow and his crew, but as we all know from the previous two films, Jack has a cunning escape route planned every single time - plans he manages to set up to perfect timing.

              Perhaps that's the main problem - no matter what situation he finds himself in, we all know that in less than 5 minutes, Jack will be a free man, making some villain look like a complete idiot. It worked the first few times, but now even Depp's consistent quality portrayal of his character and charm cannot be the only appealing nature of the film. His delivery of smart wit and his famous swagger are all captured brilliantly by the talented star, but it's just not enough to save the chaotic film. So much rests on Depp's ability to play the goofy Captain, and his acting is as enjoyable as ever, but when there is hardly anything worthy of mention that goes on around him you know the 2-hour running time will be repetitive and dull to sit through.

              Throughout its numerous sequels, the "Pirates" franchise had less and less to offer to its large number of audiences. With "On Stranger Tides," director Rob Marshall once again fails to find the right tone and voice for what made this swashbuckling series such a fun and memorable one. The Fountain of Youth is everyone's goal this time round and no, the legend doesn't end there. You must first acquire a mermaid's tear, find a couple of chalices that the Spanish have taken a while back, make a sacrifice, blah blah blah - it all sounds so formulaic, petty and tedious that it never gives us time to truly engage in this journey. It's hard to take matters such as this any seriously, and yet the film is strangely eager to put a dark, mature spin on its themes. What happened to some good-old, fun-generating, light-hearted, action/adventure? And why on earth are we seeing zombie pirates?

              Jack is joined by Anjelica (Penelope Cruz), a feisty old flame (what else?) of his and her father, Blackbeard (Ian McShane), whose terrifying black magic controls his ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge. Also on board is Philip (Sam Claflin aka Orlando Bloom's replacement), a priest brought on by Anjelica who fears for her father's eternal soul. His intense, righteous emotional outbursts happen frequently, whenever Blackbeard's actions become too cruel and immoral for him to bear, but Blackbeard amusingly shrugs these off, insulting him and his faith in the process. Philip must of course get his own love-line, and this occurs with a young beautiful mermaid Syrena (Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey aka Keira Knightley's replacement). Their romance is a sudden, cringing one, and more irritatingly, is left hanging in the lazy final act.

              Ah yes, the mermaids, one of the very few entertaining aspects of the film. Don't let their wet, slender body nor their sparkling eyes fool you in the slightest. When the timing is right, out come their fangs along with a violent hiss and they jump out of the water, taking whatever human flesh they can find underwater for feasting on. These are mean water creatures who wreak havoc among seamen who are craving for some female presence. The beautiful mermaids (all of whom possess "natural" breasts, as the casting directors have so proudly highlighted), who all have long, gorgeous hair to always immaculately hide their chesty parts, are savagely ferocious, showing zero mercy to their helpless prey.

              Several critics have commented favourably on the fact that "On Stranger Tides" is shorter than the massively convoluted and confused third film - so what? This one criminally feels longer. The action is far too restraint and limited, without any sense of pace or excitement. The love-hate banter between Jack and Anjelica that plagues the script is utterly pointless after a while - we know Jack Sparrow too well. A meaningful, deep, loving relationship with a woman? Surely not. And the outcome of their doomed romance is played out exactly as you would expect it to. There is no romantic or sexual tension between the two, despite the writers' (Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio) desperate attempt at giving its two talented stars something significant to do.

              Disney, it seems, is trying hard to squeeze every last penny out of its poor cash-making cow. Please let us hope this is the last outing for the ever-so resourceful Jack Sparrow. It was starting to show its age in its third instalment, and now this is just embarrassing. What a waste of 200 million dollars and its range of excellent actors. McShane in particular, whose frighteningly stern performance in "Deadwood" was the highlight for the HBO western drama, has very little to do and the Queen Anne's Revenge, apart from the fact that it is equipped with a gigantic flamethrower that is used at most three times in the film's entire running time, is nothing compared to what we have seen in the franchise. Has creativity run out and is Jack Sparrow's appeal slowly losing its touch? "On Stranger Tides" feels like a gigantically long trailer. You wait and you wait for its climax to arrive. And when it does, it leads to nothing but disappointment. There is a surprise Judi Dench cameo in the film's first action sequence that sees Jack chased through the streets of London. Her single line is most likely to generate more laughs than the rest of the script put together. That says something about just how lazy and floppy this sequel is. And another piece of trivia for those who want a "fuller" experience of the film - there is a meaningless post-credits scene that has the audacity to hint at a sequel. Let's hope no such project comes into fruition.

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                06.07.2011 14:56
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                Franchise-rejuvenating adventure film

                Embarking on a journey to find the fabled fountain of youth, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) - along with old rival Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), infamous pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane) and his daughter Angelica (Penelope Cruz) - happens upon something unexpected: a good old-fashioned, franchise-reviving pirate movie. Though it's difficult to imagine the magic and charm of 'The Curse of the Black Pearl' ever being recaptured, Rob Marshall, taking directing reigns from Gore Verbinski on the fourth picture in the series, makes a good go of it.

                It goes without saying that the writing is an improvement on the last two instalments. 'Dead Man's Chest' and 'At World's End' were bloated to the point of incoherence, so it's good to see 'On Stranger Tides' going back to basics. The tighter story moves along at a neat pace, while the dialogue is vastly superior, one such shining example coming courtesy of mortality-botherer Keith Richards as Sparrow's dad: "Does this face look like it's been to the fountain of youth?"

                Stylistically, the director swap isn't noticeable - Marshall has a painterly eye for grandeur and opulence as much as Verbinski, while tonally we still find ourselves in the midst of a darkly comedic, fantastical fairytale. It's panto on an epic scale and budget - instead of treading boards in the crumbling local theatre, Depp, Rush and co. bring their high-campery to some of the world's most exotic locales and some excellently-designed sets.

                And bring it they do. Depp's Sparrow appears more severely wasted than ever, while Rush has the most fun he's had so far as craggy-faced nutjob Barbossa. The newcomers know their place too: McShane is a dastardly Blackbeard and Cruz has more feistiness in her than Keira Knightley ever did.

                It's not a perfect picture, not by a long shot. Clergyman Sam Claflin and mermaid Astrid Berges-Frisbey (replacing the not-noticeably-missing Orlando Bloom and Knightley as love interests) are expendable in a shoehorned romantic frisson, while minor rewrites could have solved those nefarious plotholes. A lot is left unexplained - why Blackbeard has superpowers, how he bottles the enemy ships he captures, how Keith Richards is still alive - which might frustrate if you dare engage for more than two seconds.

                Still, this is the most straightforward, comical and - crucially - entertaining Pirates film since the first outing. It requires you switch off your brain for maximum enjoyment, but what Hollywood blockbuster, what weekend pantomime doesn't?

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                  28.06.2011 20:42
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                  This film is a booty of fun action and laughs

                  Shiver me timbers, a few weeks back my buddies managed to drag me out of the house to do something. We set sail and followed our recently acquired treasure map in search of entertainment gold. X marked to spot of the local cinema where it was decided that we would check out the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie. A strange decision as I haven't seen the previous three films and I don't normally watch flicks at the overpriced movie theatre. Yes as you may have gathered from prior reviews I do watch quite a few movies, but I normally "pirate" them from the internet yarrrrr.

                  This fourth instalment of the movie franchise, based off a Disney ride which I rode during a trip to Orlando many moons ago, sees the directorial duties switch from Gore Verbinski (The Ring) to the much easier to spell Rob Marshall (Chicago.) Not a bad move as I hear that the series has been going downhill since the success of the original. I recall a review by oriental assassin funny man Ask A Ninja who commented that the second film needed more Gore and less Verbinski (which he claimed is Russian for bad dialogue.)

                  Johnny Depp reprises his role as Jack Sparrow, the biggest fan of eyeliner to sail the seven seas. Captain Sparrow has become rather popular after rumours circulate that he knows the location of the fabled fountain of youth. The British monarchy, interested in acquiring the secrets to eternal life, try to recruit him without success. Jack ultimately ends up on the ship of the infamous Blackbeard the Pirate who is keen to find the fountain himself in order to cheat death. This sets up an exciting three (sea)horse race between the Brits, their rivals the Spanish and Blackbeard.

                  The role of Blackbeard is played by Ian "Lovejoy" McShane who did a fine job portraying the villain of the piece. He's a sinister character who commands a living ship that obeys his commands along with a crew that includes zombified underlings. Another new addition to the pirates series is Angelica (Penelope Cruz), one of Sparrow's old flames, who rivals Jack in terms of greed and deception. Whenever Angelica and Jack are onscreen together the sparks fly which was fun to watch. Their love/hate relationship was the catalyst to some very entertaining banter.

                  One other character worth noting is Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) who I understand has appeared in the earlier movies. This time round Captain Barbossa is in the employment of the British Crown as a privateer. He's a good rival for Jack Sparrow although the two, in an adventure were allegiances are constantly changing, are also forced to work together on occasion. Barbossa is officially trying to seize the fountain of youth for Blighty, but he also has his sights set on Blackbeard who is responsible for seizing his ship during an attack which cost him his leg.

                  I have to say that I really enjoyed Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. The swashbuckling action was a treat with my favourite scene coming around the halfway mark when the crew gets swamped by vicious mermaids. After associating these sirens of the sea with the cute Little Mermaid it was quite a shock to see how vicious these fishy babes can be. The only thing that trumps the action would have to be the comedy. There are many laugh out moments were Jack Sparrow steals the show. I can see why this lovable rogue is so well liked my movie audiences everywhere.

                  Overall I would say that Pirates of the Caribbean four is worthy of at least three and half stars which I will round up to four stars. The only thing I didn't like about it was the forced romance between a preacher in Blackbeard's crew and a captured mermaid. Sure it gave the makers the excuse of treating us to semi-naked mermaid fan service, but it didn't convert me from being a movie goer who dislikes mushy stuff in films. The romance slowed down the pace of the movie, was ultimately pointless in the grand scheme of things and I didn't find the way it wrapped up to be satisfactory.

                  Please note that my praise for the film comes as a Pirates of the Caribbean newbie. It's possible that the elements I enjoyed have already been done to death in the first three films which would make this less enjoyable to someone more familiar with the series. As a new viewer I would however say that this is a good place to start if you haven't seen the first three films. I didn't have any troubles following what was happening as they didn't seem to reference events from the earlier instalments. This may have been due to the addition of new characters replacing Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley who did not feature in this latest outing.

                  For what it is worth I liked the film and after watching it wouldn't mind seeing another sequel. Heck after leaving the cinema I felt like checking out the first three as I had such a good time with On Stranger Tides (aside from the poisonous coca cola I bought at the concession stand which seemed to make me cough every time I took a sip.) Nine out of ten pirates give Pirates of the Caribbean 4 a thumbs up... the tenth guy couldn't as he had a hook for a hand.

                  Review also posted on Ciao.

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                    13.06.2011 17:38
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                    SWSt's 4th Rule of Cinema: Quadrilogies Suck.

                    If you ever want solid proof that the Law of Diminishing Returns really does exist, then I suggest you watch the Pirates franchise back to back. Number one was like a breath of fresh air; quirky, full of action and comedy and featuring a lead character that was madder than a box of frogs. Number two was mediocre and confused, whilst the third (final climactic hour aside) was overblown and far too convinced of its own cleverness. Sadly, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides does little to reverse the trend.

                    The plot of On Stranger Tides makes little sense, although that's not necessarily an issue, since they didn't make a huge amount of sense in the original trilogy, either. The terribly convoluted story is essentially the one hinted at in the epilogue to At World's End. Jack Sparrow comes into possession of a map which will lead him to the fabled Fountain of Youth. Sadly, Barbossa, Blackbeard and the King of Spain are all after it too...

                    As usual, this leads to much chasing around; sometimes at sea, sometimes on land, lots of narrow escapes, squabbles and unlikely adventures. The more excessive elements of the second and third film have been reined in and, whilst still a little too long, the run time is not as wildly excessive as the previous instalments. There were still several scenes which could have been edited more tightly but after the earlier films, I was just glad to see it coming in at under two and a half hours!

                    The real problem is that most of the cast from the original franchise have jumped ship. Apart from Johnny Depp himself, only Geoffrey Rush (Captain Barbossa) and Kevin McNally (Gibbs) return. In some ways that could have been a blessing; by freeing the franchise from the constraints of previous plotlines and characters whilst opening up whole a whole new set of characters for Sparrow to swap repartee with. Sadly, this opportunity is squandered and the earlier cast is replaced by a series of dull cardboard cut-outs that really fail to generate any sense of excitement and never capture the camaraderie that the original crew of the Black Pearl brought to the film.

                    Penelope Cruz makes the least convincing pirate since Steve the Pirate in Dodgeball and frankly, she seems far too dull to be someone that Jack Sparrow would ever consider having "stirrings" for. Ian McShane tries his best as evil pirate Blackbeard, but seems unable to make up his mind whether he should go for "pantomime villain bad guy" or "played straight to make it funny" pirate. He ends up doing a bit of both, leaving Blackbeard a bit of a non-entity, not the fear-inducing figure he should be. Stephen Graham's Scrum has his amusing moments (although is still no match for the original's comedy double act of Pintel and Ragetti), but his is little more than a cameo role. Even Geoffrey Rush, reprising his role as Barbossa seems rather subdued, as though he lost some of his spirit along with his leg (yes, in true stereotypical pirate fashion, Barbossa now has a wooden leg). He still has his moments, though and there is some good verbal sparring with Sparrow and his wonderfully outrageous "Poi rat" accent remains.

                    Luckily, it's not a dead loss. It's unlikely that any film with Jonny Depp in ever could be. Depp, as ever, brings plenty of swagger and humour to the role and he is the film's one saving grace. I honestly think that without this presence I would have had no choice but to relegate this film to one star territory. With him, it just about remains watchable. Depp's gloriously camp pirate, his curious slurred delivery of lines and his skewed sense of morality provide most of the film's amusing moments and whilst I didn't enjoy the film much over all, virtually everything I did enjoy centred around Depp.

                    Yet, even here, Sparrow's antics are starting to become slightly tiresome. When he first staggered onto our screens, he was like a breath of fresh air; quirky and different. After spending four films and almost ten hours in his presence, they are perhaps starting to wear a little thin. The character is still great fun and played to perfection by Depp, but the last couple of films have simply brought us more of the same and that sense of originality has long since faded. There are even times when (shock, horror) you feel that Depp's heart is not really in it and he is just going through the motions, recycling the same strange tics in an effort to wring out a few final laughs.

                    On Stranger Tides certainly has its moments that suggest it could have been so much better; in particular there are some good, imaginative set pieces. The cleverly staged opening escape typified all that is good about this franchise, mixing humour and action to great effect, the apparent randomness of Sparrow's actions slowly being revealed as a demonstration of his off-beat cunning. On the basis of that opening 10 minutes, I raised my hopes that On Stranger Tides would recapture at least some of its former glories. Sadly, in the film's own words, I was being deceive-ed. After that high point, it's all downhill. Action becomes more formulaic (at one point even shamelessly plagiarising a fight sequence from the first film), humour less frequent and there's a lot of dull, pointless and confused wandering around that achieves little other than to stretch the film's running time.

                    Special effects are also amongst the film's strong points. Although it has been made in a 3D version, you will lose absolutely nothing by seeing it in 2D (as we did). Indeed, I'd advise going for the 2D version, since it's a lot cheaper. Another plus in the film's favour is that the ludicrous over-the-top special effects heavy sequences of the second and third films have gone. Whilst On Stranger Tides has plenty of special effects, these are mostly low key and appropriate, not special effects purely for their own sake. Director Rob Marshall - a slightly odd choice to take the franchise forward in some ways - does a good job of blending special effects and action seamlessly, so that one does not dominate the other. Sadly, it's the characters that let him down.

                    On Stranger Tides is everything I feared it would be - a pale imitation of all that was good about the original. The franchise reached the end of its natural life a long time ago (arguably at the end of the first film, but certainly by the time the credits rolled on number three). Like I said at the start, if you ever want to see how far a franchise can fall, watch Pirates 1-4 as living proof. On the basis of this, I fear for Pirates 5.

                    Basic Information
                    --------------------------
                    Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
                    2011
                    Director: Rob Marshall
                    Certificate: 12A
                    Running time: 136 minutes

                    © Copyright SWSt 2011

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                      07.06.2011 16:45

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                      Captain Jack Sparrow sets off to find the fountain of youth but encounters a few obstacles on the wa

                      I went to see the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film last week with a group of my friends.I went to see it in 3D and to be honest,I wasn't expecting to like it much.I was very wrong however.I had missed out on the third Pirates of the Caribbean so I was expecting to be completely lost but to my surprise and delight I was well able to figure out what was going on.

                      The film focuses around Captain Jack Sparrow and Barbossa who set out on a quest to find the fountain of youth,a fountain which is supposed to make anyone who drinks from it younger.Jack soon finds out that he is not the only one looking for the fountain.His rival Blackbeard and his long lost daughter are after it too.

                      I thought,when I saw the length of the film that I would find it painfully long.I think now,after seeing it that it was the right length though.I was not bored at all during it and Johnny Depp played his part really well,his humour and wit giving me a good laugh throughout.My only complaint is that I don't think the 3D effect suited the movie.Yes,you could tell it was in 3D but it was nothing special.I would consider going to see it in 2D if I was to go again.

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                      02.06.2011 12:37
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                      A really enjoyable and fun film!

                      * FILM ONLY REVIEW*

                      My favourite pirate has been in Warsaw this week and part of me was so desperate to see him. Note, I say 'part of me.' This is the part that loves Johnny Depp dearly and has been a fan since he was a youngster and I was a little bit older. The other part that wasn't desperate to see him was the part that really doesn't like this tiresome franchise. Okay, the first film was good but 2 & 3 were dire. Having read hundreds of reviews about the new film I wasn't convinced this one was going to be any different but out of devotion I went along to find out.

                      I am always bemused why people love these pirate films - surely it isn't because of their love of the sea and pirates in general. It certainly isn't because of the plots. I have failed to find any plot in the last two films. So it's safe to say that the magnetic draw is the wittiest, cheekiest and the most endearing character, Captain Jack Sparrow. Never has a pirate worn so much eye-liner and bewitched his audience with his swishy walk and balancing acts as this cheeky fellow. So how does he fare in, 'On Stranger Tides?'

                      Let's have a look and see. Well I could only just see - the beginning is very dark - I struggled taking the wrapper of my Cornetto.

                      Is there a plot?

                      Oh, I think it's my lucky day. I spy some sort of plot.

                      Here's the thing.........Jack somehow gets tangled up in a scheme to find the Fountain of Youth and it's a race against time. Why is he involved? Because he can never keep out of bother and is always involved with past lovers. Angelica (Penelope Cruz) is the jilted lover and she is a rare beauty but she is also the daughter of evil Blackbeard who is dying. The mission is for Jack to lead the ship and Blackbeard's (Ian McShane) entourage to the fountain so he will have eternal life.

                      Simple enough - surely Jack can bluff his way through this?

                      Except he doesn't know that there are two other teams in the race; the Spaniards who are on a religious mission and his old sparring partner, Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) who has been commissioned by the King of England, to reach the fountain before the Spaniards. Barbossa, wearing a hideous, grey poodle wig, skin that looks like it has had a bad dose of psoriasis and minus a leg is now a privateer working for the crown. He doesn't look or seem half as scary as the mighty Blackbeard who dominates his crew with black magic and evilness but perhaps he is fooling us all..........

                      So does Jack know where the fountain is or is he scamming again? What is Barbossa's real mission? Will the evil Blackbeard find eternal youth? And what about Angelica?

                      What makes this pirate film different than the others is the fact that there is another love story entwined and has nothing to do with Jack Sparrow. It involves the young, handsome preacher man (Sam Clafin) aboard Blackbeard's ship who has been tied to the mast for preaching and trying to save Backbeard's soul which we can all see is a futile experiment as the man is pure evil but all the way through the movie there is some sort of thought experiment on this subject which keeps you thinking.

                      But who does the compassionate preacher man fall in love with? A mermaid of course! Whether it is inevitable or inspirational that is another matter but it adds a bit of weight to the plot and is very beautifully done.

                      Mermaids? Yes, those beautiful, graceful creatures that swish and waggle their tails just like Sparrow as he jumps from one end of the schooner to the other. Mermaids are such gracious creatures but are they? You will have to wait and see but this section of the film where the mermaids appear is beautifully filmed and very emotional. Also, in a way very trippy. When the first mermaid appears at the side of the small boat I was intrigued - the quality of filming was excellent and she was really spooky as she glided so slowly and moved her head at precise moments. A tear from a mermaid's eye is needed to accelerate the power of the Fountain of Youth. To obtain a tear a trap has to be set to catch at least one mermaid. Again, a great scene and one I think that has been inspired by the 'Cove', a documentary about the destruction of whales in Japan.

                      Apart from this scene were there any other magical moments? Yes, I certainly enjoyed the scenes in England especially when Sparrow was escaping on a wagon loaded with hot coals. The effect as the burning coals fell off the wagon on to the road was pretty cool but in reality hot coals wouldn't let out sparks and flames like that. Have you ever tried to get a piece of coal to light? Still, this is a movie and a kid's movie at that - so anything goes.

                      There's all the usual swashbuckling stuff but not as much as usual which I was pleased about. Plenty of rolling barrels and water gushing here there and everywhere. I thought Jack Sparrow was a lot more acrobatic in this film and some of his movements were very agile - he was a bit like a ballerina at times - very camp. What is different here is that nearly all the action is filmed on land either in London or Hawaii or Puerto Rico - not on the sea. I thought pirates sailed the sea???

                      What about the actors?

                      Who should I choose first - we will leave Depp till last.

                      Judie Dench - didn't see the point of her in the film.

                      Penelope Cruz - Thank God they have replaced Keira Knightley ('twice nightly,' as my husband calls her) with this Latin beauty and she is beautiful, fiery and has just the right chemistry to work along side Depp. She can outwit him - well nearly, and is certainly a match with a sword. A great choice.

                      Ian McShane. Lovejoy has come a long way. He is good in the role of Blackbeard although I don't think he is that scary - it's just the eyeliner again and the deep voice. Still he was fun to watch and a good character to include.

                      Geoffrey Rush - he's a bit of a silly, old duffer but I like him in the role of Barbossa in this particular film. He is softer and more humorous and Sparrow and him seem to get on well. I love the cheeky look on Sparrow's face when Barbossa takes off his wooden leg and takes a sip out of it. Being partialled to a drop of rum Sparrow says, 'I want one of these.' The make-up artists must have had great fun making him up as his powdered wig is amazing and his skin - it looks so horrible, like someone with a horrid disease.

                      Sam Clafin - I can't make my mind up about this character - he is meant to be considerate, kind and loving which he portrays well. He is also meant to be very handsome - I just think he looks a bit drippy and too godly. That' my opinion - others might think he is all the things he is portraying.

                      Mr Depp - You know I am going to praise him but to be fair I didn't think his contribution in the 3rd film was up too much mainly because he wasn't on set long enough. This time it looks like he has taken the lead and I think the film benefits from it. He cracks more jokes, interacts with all the other characters a lot more and is more acrobatic. He certainly looks very handsome even with all the tons of make up on. There will never be another face like Jack Sparrow's, never.

                      Overall

                      I really enjoyed the film and thought it was a lot of fun. The locations; London, Hawaii, California and Puerto Rico, look amazing on screen and the last shot on the island is unbelievable. It just makes you want to throw some clothes in a bag and get on the road or a plane. Half way through I looked at my husband and he was still awake and not twitching, snoring or complaining. Usually he falls asleep through a pirate film. At the end I felt like a child. I was so happy, clapped and wanted to stand up and dance - but then this is a children's film and that's what children do. It's good to feel like that and that a film or a song can make you feel that way. So yes, this one gets the thumbs up. Highly recommended.

                      Footnote: "As we walked to catch the tram my husband said, "I really enjoyed that - I wasn't bored at all." That's a first so it must be good!!

                      I'm not going to list all the usual film blurb because you can look it all up on line on IMBD. Except that the film is PG13 and I think this is about right. There isn't anything untoward here except a few innuendos which nobody else in the audience seemed to get and a couple of scary images but they are flashed on screen so quickly that I don't think they would be too scary.

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