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Tides induces entertainment, tears

By Michael Doubek
posted May 26, 2011

Mermaid tears; the only untapped idea for the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. One could have logically deduced it would have ended with Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, but it seems producer Jerry Bruckheimer was compelled to continue the story with a schizophrenic plotline that includes Blackbeard and a bunch of angry Spaniards. It is truly a shame he couldn’t just end a trilogy and join the prestigious ranks of The Godfather, Lord of the Rings and The Mighty Ducks. While being completely ridiculous and having no connection to the previous films, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides still offers some entertainment via the usual 20 minute, deathless sword fights and the sweeping panoramas of foggy ships.

This installment of Pirates follows Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp, The Tourist), Blackbeard (Ian McShane, Golden Compass), the British Royal Navy and the Spanish, all of whom are racing to the fountain of youth. Blackbeard wants eternal life because a one-legged man is supposed to kill him in a fortnight; the Spanish want to destroy it because they say only God can grant eternal life; Jack Sparrow wants it because he wishes to live forever with Angelica (Penelope Cruz, Nine); and Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech) wants it because he is now working for the British Royal Navy. To top it all off, the fountain requires the harvesting of a mermaid tear to use. If this all sounds completely disconnected, that’s because it is. Other frustrations include abandoned side plots and the little monkey only makes two appearances, which is a huge downer. Viewers will find themselves wondering more than once where the characters are and what they are doing.

On Stranger Tides has a bit of a handicap to start with, including the departure of two institutions of the series; Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley. Taking into consideration the setbacks, the film turned out to be mildly entertaining, albeit scatterbrained. Cruz, as Depp’s love interest, does a nice job of filling Knightley’s shoes but Depp, being as likeable as ever, holds the film together. The always incredible soundtrack of Hans Zimmer (The Dark Knight, Inception, Black Hawk Down) and the stunning setting of Hawaii and Puerto Rico should entice audiences enough to distract them from the sorry excuse for a plotline.

There was once hope for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides to be more than just mildly entertaining. The film contains a superb soundtrack and interesting new actors. Despite this, hope for another great film is savagely torn apart by the mermaid feeding frenzy that most viewers will miss because they are more concerned with if they should lick their fingers to get that mysterious powder from the Sour Patch Kids off their hands and get them sticky, or to just wait to go to the bathroom.


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