The fourth installment in Jerry Bruckheimer’s popular Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, On Stranger Tides, represents a marked improvement on the last film in the series, At World’s End, but also disappointed in places.
On Stranger Tides was far more action-packed than its predecessor, with hardly any dull moments in between the bouts of swordplay and fight scenes, but this also proved the film’s downfall – both the plots and subplots had the same aim, and lacked the depth of the first film, which, in my opinion, was the best out of the four.
This is essentially a stand-alone film, as hardly any reference is made to the three previous films. The characters Elizabeth Swan (Keira Knightley) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) also don’t make an appearance. That said, the popular Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) again dominates the screen, and the witty banter between him and the sultry Angelica (Penélope Cruz), offers more than a few laughs.
The plot follows Captain Jack and his fellow buccaneers from London across the seas and through a jungle on a quest to find the Fountain of Youth. Highlights of the film included a brief yet highly amusing cameo by a famous actress, Jack’s sardonic and pun-filled one-liners and the adventurers’ encounter with a group of vicious mermaids.
I did not watch this film in 3-D so I can’t comment on those effects, but the 2-D experience was very satisfying, with the oceanic panoramas, steamy jungles and the eerie special effects providing an ample visual feast.
In short, it's an enjoyable, frivolous night out, and if you go for Captain Jack, you'll get just that, but I think the film relies too heavily on Depp's brilliant improvisations. It's been fun, but it's time for this franchise to be retired while it can still go out with a bang.