*Warning* May contain spoilers.
So apparently, POTC4 has been receiving a lot of hate and I’m not sure why. I suppose a lot of people were expecting this movie to wash out the bad taste that the last two movies left. Look, this movie isn’t going to redeem the franchise. I think they tried to make it the best they could. Could it be better? Sure, but that can be said about anything.
The story is a little disjointed, but it isn’t the bloated mess that was the last two movies. Things begin when Spanish fishermen discover a man (alive!) in their nets and he’s holding onto a map that leads to the fountain of youth. The Spaniards set out, thus kicking off the Fountain race. Unfortunately, it’s never disclosed on how that guy in the net managed to survive underwater for who knows how long, or where he came upon the map.
Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is back, and no surprise, he’s caught in a bad place. He escapes the clutches of the British Monarch only to run into an imposter in a tavern. The imposter turns out to be a long lost love of his Angelica (Penélope Cruz). She has a ship. He doesn’t. So he joins up with her and her father, the voodoo pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane) as they too search for the fountain of youth.
I’m going to butt heads with some of the criticism, such as the one saying this movie is preachy! Okay, just because there’s a cute clergyman (Sam Claflin) doesn’t mean this movie is trying to push Christian morals down your throat. Every time clergy boy got on his high horse, he was always knocked off by Blackbeard or Sparrow.
Everyone is weird! Jack doesn’t stand out! Well, everyone is a pirate, yes. Are they all weirdos? Eh, I’d say each has unique qualities, but Jack doesn’t get buried. You have Blackbeard who’s a badass mofo on one end, and then you have clergy boy and Angelica (to a lesser degree) on the other end. Jack treads in the middle, being selfish, but also showing a selfless side.
Also, there’s another theme to consider, in that all the characters are essentially true to themselves, despite trying to turn a new leaf or two. Blackbeard says “I’m a bad man,” and guess what? He is! He tries to care for Angelica as the one good thing in his life and – he can’t, he just can’t. Angelica lies in the beginning and, well, lies in the end. Remember Jack showing he could be selfless? Well – it doesn’t last. He may care for Angelica but he ain’t stupid. And Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) is, and always will be, a pirate, no matter what hat he wears.
It’s too dark! Now this I agree with. There are some scenes, like the one beach scene before the vampiric mermaids’ attack, where all you can see are silhouettes. And mind you, I saw this in 2D. Apparently, no one took into account that people will be seeing this film in DARK movie theater. D’oh!
You know how movies have that extra little teaser scene after the credits? My advice: Skip it. I usually really enjoy these teaser scenes, like the one from THOR, but this one was wimpy and too short. You can easily wiki it to find out what it is.
So the bottom line is: If you love these characters and want to see more of Jack Sparrow and his zany adventures, then you’ll enjoy this film (I think). If you want something new, refreshing, with a twist of lemon, then go find something else. I mean, c’mon, it’s a franchise, what do you expect?
I give Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides 3 out of 5 seafaring stars.