Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (Blu-ray)

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES marks Johnny Depp’s fourth portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow.  Even though a few of the main players and the director of the previous three PIRATES films jumped ship, producer Jerry Bruckheimer was very smart to recruit Rob Marshall to direct.  ON STRANGER TIDES is action packed, suspenseful, romantic movie that has enough rum soaked pirates to amuse viewers for hours.

Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Once again, Captain Jack Sparrow finds himself without a crew, without his beloved Black Pearl and into a compromising situation with the dread Black Beard (Ian McShane).  Naturally, Jack “acquired” (and then quickly lost) a map that depicts Ponce de Leon’s precise route to the Fountain of Youth.   Black Beard’s daughter Angelica (Penelope Cruz) is determined to find the fountain and give her father the chance to not succumb to the prophecy—that he will be killed by a one legged man.

Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Enter Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and his peg leg.  He has conveniently turned away from the savage life of a pirate and pledged his allegiance to King George, who is also in the market for a few more ageless years.  All you need is a couple of de Leon’s silver chalices and the tear from a mermaid.  No problem.  Lucky for the viewing audience, Jack and Barbossa are forced to work together to capture these ingredients to secure a successful transformation—sparing no time to discuss who will be the providential drinker.  The journey to the fountain is quite entertaining.

Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

I felt that ON STRANGER TIDES remained true to the original action and adventure storyline.  It was funny, quick and full of surprises.  I never once missed Keira Knightly or Orlando Bloom’s characters.  I truly think it is because Depp’s interpretation of Captain Jack Sparrow is the reason why these films are so engaging.  His slurred speech, his wavering body, his squints through black eyeliner and his dead pan humor.  Johnny Depp is Captain Jack Sparrow.  And Captain Jack is Johnny.

Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

I understand that the PIRATE movies have a supernatural storyline that underlies the plot.  The second and third installments felt very forced and competed with my ability to really invest in those films.  ON STRANGER TIDES does a better job of not making the supernatural storyline too intricate to follow.  I have to say that the mermaid scene was surprising and brilliantly orchestrated.  Black Beard’s ability to control his ship using the power of his sword was a cool discovery as well.

The PIRATES movies will definitely go down as one of my generation’s most recognizable action movies.  ON STRANGER TIDES takes the franchise back to the basics by keeping the focus exactly where it should be—Captain Jack Sparrow.  It’s definitely a pirate’s life for me.  Savvy?


Video:  MPEG-4 AVC 1080p High Definition: I enjoyed watching the endless action sequences in Blu-ray.  The cinematography was beautiful and the oceans scenes were really well filmed.  I felt (and wished) I could be there on a Caribbean beach.  Preferably with Captain Jack.

Audio:  DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1: PIRATES scores by Hans Zimmer are brilliant.  I love the theme song that accompanies Jack whenever he’s in a bind.  The mermaid scene was particularly unsettling.  These girls aren’t sitting around on rocks brushing their red hair with forks they found in ship wrecks.  They will take that fork and go for the jugular.  Again…unsettling.  Ironically, there were no big pirate ship explosions.  But the fight scenes were fun.

Johnny Depp and Rob Marshall on the set of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Commentary with Rob Marshall and Executive Producer John Deluca: I love Rob Marshall.  He’s not afraid of anything and he is super talented.  He knows film, movement, choreography, music and space.  There were a lot of pats on the back on how great the film turned out.  I think these two are each other’s biggest fan.

Bloopers of the Caribbean (3:39): I love a good blooper reel.  Johnny Depp is the main feature in most of the takes.  Definitely worth a watch.


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