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May 21, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Indeed

by Jonn Holland

This weekend, Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides reunites us with the best Pirate there ever was: Captain Jack Sparrow and we find him as he was when we were first introduced to him in Curse of the Black Pearl. Without a ship.

As a matter of fact, we find the Captain in London going about the business of rescuing a trusted colleague and friend…himself. He also learns of a rumor that he is in London to procure a ship and a crew. Interestingly enough, it is these two events that set the film in motion, because once Jack investigates the origin of the rumor, he finds himself–yes his real self–face to face with an ex lover and eventually ends up getting shanghaied on to another pirates ship by that same ex beau. Confused? Let us make things more clear.

At the beginning of the film we are shown that the Spaniards have found the location of Ponce De Leon’s long-lost ship. Such a discovery is significant because Ponce De Leon famously claimed to have found the illusive fountain of youth. King George  (Richard Griffiths) discovers Spain’s efforts to locate the fountain and attempts to lure Captain Jack Sparrow into the employ of the crown by allying him with a privateer. Naturally, Jack refuses and escapes royal custody in his own unique fashion. To quote a previous POTC movie: “Does he plan it all out, make it up as he goes along?”

Jack then arrives at a pub where he learns that someone is actually impersonating him and looking for a crew. He confronts the imposter and makes a pretty shocking discovery. An old flame of his is in town. Angelica (Penelope Cruz).

He is reunited with her only to become victim to the woman’s deviousness. She is a pirate after all. What’s worse is that poor Jack finds himself as part of the crew on another pirates ship. The one pirate all pirates fear. Edward Teach aka Blackbeard(Ian McShane). A pirate who is historically listed as the most notorious pirate of the Spanish Main during that time period.

While on Blackbeard’s ship Jack learns that the Captain of Queen Anne’s Revenge is also after the fountain of youth, though for much darker reasons than Sparrow himself.

Thus, we the audience are taken on yet another wild, exciting, and strange Pirates of the Caribbean adventure. Johnny Depp is spectacular as always in his role as Captain Jack Sparrow. Kevin McNally returns as Gibbs as does Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbossa.

It may already have been said, but Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides has to be the best Pirates film ever. It helps that the story is not too complex and there is more focus on Jack Sparrow; a benefit of the central plot not being the romance between a young blacksmith and the Governor’s daughter. There is a small amount of romance, but it serves as a contrast to Blackbeard’s evil. Another noticeable difference is a decidedly small amount CGI which really allows for the more human elements to play out.

In short. Go see Pirates of the Caribbean:On Stranger Tides. It is most certainly worth it. Oh and it has mermaids in it.

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