Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

After more than one year, Captain Jack was finally back, to charm us again. This time, there was no Will or Elizabeth, so he had to carry the weight of the whole movie by himself. Of course, Johnny Depp could be trusted for such a difficult task, but I still prefer having the couple fighting alongside him. That was more fun, and it made the movie deeper.

The fourth installment continued from what the third movie left off, with Captain Jack on the path to finding the Fountain of Youth, after his plan to stab Davy Jones’ heart suddenly failed at the very end, so that he could still live forever and sail the seas for eternity. However, his journey was not as smooth as he had expected, no thanks to the unwelcoming company of a fearsome pirate and two countries’ armies. The odds were stacked against him, and he had to walk the line again to avoid getting caught and to save his own life.

The previous movies have been quite well known for their carefully built plots with lots of surprising twists and turns, as well as short lived alliances. In terms of that, this movie seems to be weaker. Although Jack was still jumping from side to side, turning from allies to enemies and back, I feel that the plot was not as deep as its predecessors. Last time, both Jack and Will, and even Elizabeth, kept switching sides and giving us surprises after surprises. Now, apart from Jack, most of other characters sticked to their own sides, which made the story more predictable. That made Jack become quite lonely, and it seemed that he was trying too much, with not enough help from others.

After Elizabeth left the scene to take care of her son and wait for her husband, a new female character was introduced. She was Angelica, Jack’s former girlfriend and bride to be. It was a long time since they last met, and she had changed a lot since then. Their path suddenly crossed again as they both headed towards one destination, and in the face of strong enemies, they had no other way but to put the past behind, at least temporarily, to rely on each other so that they could outsmart and outrun their competitors.

Personally, I still prefer Keira to Penelope. She was more charismatic, and she had stronger acting skill. Penelope was hot, but maybe because she was not a native English speaker, she seemed to struggle a bit during long dialogues, and was not as comfortable. Her face was a bit stiff, even though her fighting skill was cool, and she had an awesome body with killer curves that were highlighted even more boldly in her tight and fitting pirate outfits. I have no doubt that we will see her again in the next installment, but I also hope that she will be more comfortable onscreen, and escape from the silhouette of Keira. She is talented, and with a richer plot she will be able to show more acting skill.

This movie also introduced a new pirate, the fearsome Captain Blackbeard, captain of the Queen Anne’s Revenge, one of the legendary pirate ships besides Black Pearl and Flying Dutchman. Blackbeard had dark magic, and harbored some zombies onboard his ship. Moreover, he could control the ship on his own, and the ship followed his order like a loyal servant obeying his master. That made him become dangerous, as there was practically no way to snatch the ship from him, or to fight against his zombie soldiers.

However, Blackbeard was living under a prophecy of a death drawing nigh, and that put him on the path to the Fountain of Youth to fight his destiny.

Finally he could reach his prize, but the there was a sudden twist that made all his plans go wrong, and that was one of the details that made the movie worth its price, although it was quite predictable, especially if you are already used to Jack’s nature and game plans.

Jack was still witty, as usual. Angelica was his ex, but he did not let that get in his way towards his desired goal. There were some sparks between them, but none was big enough to initiate a fire from the long cold ashes.

This movie also introduced the charming mermaids, the mythical creatures of the sea. They were beautiful and mind boggling, but they were also ravenous and aggressive and thirst for human’s blood and flesh. To human, they are angels, but to them human are just meat. Nothing more, nothing less. That was a stark difference from the mermaids in Disney’s Little Mermaid.

The mermaids added something new to the movie, but not crucial. They made the journey more challenging, but did not really change the course. I have the feeling that their introduction in this movie is to prepare the way for the next movie, where they will feature more boldly. Let’s wait and see 🙂

There was love at fight sight, between a missionary and a captured mermaid. Again, it was a bit unnecessary and might even make the story less condensed. The missionary appeared from nowhere, with just a very simple explanation of his presence onboard Queen Anne’s Revenge. Anyway, it was no harm having a handsome guy and a pretty girl who appeared half naked (nothing was exposed) in all her scenes. If they do not come back in the next movie, then I have no other way but to conclude that their presence was just for marketing purpose and to make the film appear longer and more sophisticated.

Blackbeard was quite interesting. Unlike Jack, or Barbossa, he was no nonsense kind of guy, who focused on his goal and dared to do everything for it. He was strong and fierce, but he had too little screen time, so his character could not be portrayed as clearly as Davy Jones in the previous 2 movies. Moreover, there was very slim chance of him coming back, so that was a bit sad and disappointing.

Jack was still a great fun to watch, as always. He continued showing his charm, his charisma and his multi layered schemes. Walt Disney was lucky to manage to persuade Jack to stay on. Without him, this movie will lose its extraordinary side, and become quite ordinary, even B grade. Moreover, I was glad to know that I did not have to bear to see Jack Enfron in this movie, and that the rumor was wrong. Otherwise, the movie will become a soft soap opera and lose its weight for sure.

Overall, the movie was just ok for me. It was fun to watch, and quite hilarious at times, but it was not outstanding, and the new guys still could not fill in the shoes left by the veterans of the previous 3 outstanding movies.


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