A Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Review

Review for “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”

I didn’t have very high expectations for this movie. I had seen the original trilogy in theaters and somehow couldn’t really muster up the energy, time or money to bother with seeing this one, so I waited for it to come out on DVD. I’m extremely glad I did. 

The plot: Captain Jack Sparrow and Barbossa are still seeking out the Fountain of Youth. Blackbeard had taken the Black Pearl away from Barbossa after a fight that left Barbossa having to procure a wooden leg to replace his missing one. In all this, there is a missionary who is on the ship in an attempt to save Blackbeard’s soul, a mermaid who was captured so she could be used in the spell needed to be preformed to gain eternal youth, and Angelica – an almost nun turned pirate who was in love with and betrayed by Sparrow and also in search for the Fountain of Youth. She also happens to be Blackbeard’s daughter and the only one who knows the spell to gain eternal youth (which is not so eternal, after all).

The Fountain of Youth is not as eternal as “At World’s End” boasted it to be. One can drink from the fountain, but there must be a ritual spell performed. Also, there must be two people involved. They both drink, but drinker #1 steals the years of drinker #2 causing #2 to die and #1 to run amok with extra years of life. The movie never stated that the drinker would never die, just have more years of life.  

 As far as the antagonist of the film, Blackbeard wasn’t even near to being as menacing as Davy Jones or even Barbossa from “The Curse of the Black Pearl”. And Angelica’s quest to save her father and absolve him from his sins came up short and lacking the same fire and passion as Will Turner had to save his own father. In fact, many parallels to the previous films fell short. The closest love story we got was from the missionary and the mermaid, who are the only sympathetic characters in the entire movie. The rest is just pirating with no sense of loyalty, conflict, or passion the previous three “Pirates” possessed. Jack saving Angelica by having her drink the elixir of life instead of her father so she wouldn’t die mirrored a similar sacrifice he made for Will in “At World’s End”. Except in that movie it was understood why Jack did what he did and it carried far more weight because of the history Jack and Will shared.

There was also a lot of cast from the previous movies who did not make an appearance this time around. I don’t believe Jack Sparrow “makes” the Pirates movies what they are. I think it is the combination of his questionable actions and loyalties and quirky personality combined with the rest of the cast are what made the movies complete. Sorely missing from “On Stranger Tides” were Will and Elizabeth as well as the entire crew of the Black Pearl save Barbossa. Everything seemed contrived and repetitive, lacking the magic and epic meaningful adventures of the previous three films. I felt even some of the humor was forced as well. Jack just being Jack does not make a two hour plus long film enticing. Over all, it just felt like more of the same, only a lot less than what was previously given by its predecessors and no new interesting characters.

This movie’s investment was obviously not in any kind of personal agenda or development for the characters. Its investment was in the action and humor. What it lacked was chemistry between its main characters (except for the mermaid and missionary) and even the verbal sparring between Barbossa and Jack Sparrow wasn’t up to par. So, if you’re a big fan of the first three “Pirates” movies, you may only want to watch this one out of loyalty to the franchise and sheer morbid curiosity.