Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides

The pirates are back!  The fourth installment of the growing Pirates of the Caribbean franchise sheds some main characters but Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) as the devilishly hilarious pirate remains.  On Stranger Tides focuses on Jack’s journey to the Fountain of Youth.  Unlucky for him, the Spanish, the English and Blackbeard all have the same goal in mind.  In order to receive the bounties of the fountain, a ritual including two silver chalices from Ponce De Leon’s ship, and a mermaid’s tear is required.  The race is off to find the needed elements and the fountain all the while battling each other and the bizarre circumstances they find themselves in.  Hector Barbossa (Geoffery Rush) returns as a privateer for the English Navy in a subplot as he seeks revenge on Blackbeard (Ian McShane).  Angelica (Penelope Cruz) stars as Jack’s twisted love interest and Blackbeard’s crafty daughter.

As you can tell from the short summary I just gave, the over-the-top mythological storylines are back.  Sword fights on rafters, Jack swinging through the streets of London, and explosions also continue throughout this fourth installment.  To some this may come of as repetitive as much of these elements were used in prior films.  Personally, I didnt not have a problem with this.  It is what i have grown and expected of a Pirates film.  I go to the theater to see grand sword fights and great effects.  The Pirates franchise is a great summer blockbusters and that is what I expect from them.

Similar to past films, this installment introduced a slew of new mythological creatures.  Along with the mermaids that were integral to the storyline, Blackbeard employed zombies, voodoo, and the ability to shrink ships into bottles.  These were fine to include but they came with little explanation.  I know little about mermaid lore but information about them was important to the storyline.  How to catch one, why they turn human out of water and why their tears are so powerful could have easily been explained and would have helped the audience.  Blackbeard’s voodoo also seemed thrown in without very much explanation.  Word to the wise; stay through the end of the credits to see what happens to Jack’s voodoo doll.

With a host of main characters left behind for this installment it was a pleasure seeing Barbossa return.  His first appearance on screen was in wig and full regalia as a English privateer, quite an interesting sight.  His revenge on Blackbeard has roots in Blackbeard’s defeat of the Black Pearl, encapsulating it in a small bottle, and taking Barbossa’s right leg.  Barbossa captains an English ship and crew as he sails after Blackbeard.  Barbossa’s better antics include collecting poisonous frogs and turning his peg leg into a flask. Rush shined as Barbossa, almost outdoing even Jack.  If I were to place money on the plot line to POTC 5, I would say that it might circle around Barbossa.

Make sure to be on the lookout for the short but sweet cameo by Judi Dench.  Sadly she does not play a pirates but a more prim and proper role.

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