When you think of successful movie franchises what comes to mind? Star Wars, Jurassic Park and Lord of the Rings sure but there is another successful franchise that has raked in over 2 billion dollars across the globe and that is the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. If you're like me then you fell in love with these movies and characters all the way back in 2003 with the first installment; The Curse of the Black Pearl. Now while many would say the second and third installments fell far shorter then the first I respectively disagree.
I loved the second and third movies because they each had a unique story that I found very enjoyable and entertaining which brings us to 2011 with Disney's fourth installment of their Pirates franchise entitled On Stranger Tides.
This time around for our beloved Jack Sparrow, excuse me Captain Jack Sparrow the landscape and journey have changed. Enter Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane and the returning Geoffrey Rush and remove the love couple Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley. Pirates 4 even with a whole new group of faces and characters to learn does tell a good story with a lot of interesting twists and turns along the way.
I loved the back story of Angelica (Cruz) a woman from Sparrow's past and how it is she comes to find Jack and lead him on a quest to find the fountain of youth before others do. Cruz is a terrific actress and I think she adds a new refreshing twist to the franchise because it is fun to see her and Jack interact with one another because clearly there is a connection the two of them are trying not to act on. Also playing a vital role in the movie is Blackbeard played by the terrific Ian McShane.
Blackbeard is the pirate all pirates fear according to many in the movie and we soon discover the Angelica is the daughter of Blackbeard and that the two of them are out to find the fountain of youth with Jack's guidance and experience before the one legged man comes to kill Blackbeard. The one legged man is the new King's loyal subject- Captain Barbosa played by the awesome Geoffrey Rush. Barbosa isn't a feared pirate captain anymore my friends instead he is dressed up in proper clothes and has to wear a silly wig as he is King's man.
What P4 lacks though at times is a little more development of some of the characters I found fascinating. The mermaids for instance are only given a little bit of screen time and I found myself wanting to know more about them and what made them how they are shown on screen. Another character who I found particularly interesting is Philip Swift, a missionary captured by Blackbeard. Here is a man completely devoted to his religion and is on board to hopefully restore Blackbeard's soul and save him from going to the underworld. He is a man of great faith and shows all living things love and I wanted to know a little bit more about him.
The action and story in P4 does however flow pretty consistently throughout the movie but does slow down a little bit at times to tell the story maybe a little bit more then it needs to. While all that is fine and dandy I just could of used a little bit more action instead of dialogue. Depp is once again terrific as Captain Jack Sparrow and while the film does recycle some of the previous jokes we've seen in past installments he still makes you laugh out loud and provide us moviegoers what any summer movie should provide, entertainment.
It's a good movie to see with a group of friends or it does make for a nice date night movie out. If you're interested and SPOILER ALERT- there is a small scene after the credits that doesn't set up a fifth Pirates movie but needless to say it's a scene that will spark up some interest for you and your friends to discuss.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides gets 3/4 stars on the TK's Takeout Movie Scale!!!