I'm going to do my best not to give away any spoilers since this hasn't been available on disk for long. I was lucky enough to get some coupons to watch On Demand movies, so I took advantage of one of them to watch Pirates of the Caribbean - On Stranger Tides, the fourth in the franchise. Basically, Jack is off to find the Fountain of Youth, but there are two other groups involved in addition to the one he's working with. That's the gist of the plot, but of course, there is plenty of other stuff going on throughout the 2+ hours.
I loved the first POC movie. I thought it did a fabulous job with the characters and the story was enough to make them shine. I was bitterly disappointed with the second movie, and while I thought the third was a bit better, I didn't like it. I had a number of issues with it, including the fact that the core of the characters were sacrificed for plot expediency. And there was more special effects than the important stuff that made the first movie so special.
With this in mind, I went into On Stranger Tides with some trepidation. Overall, I liked it well enough. It wasn't as awesome as the original, but it was much better than the last two.
Johnny Depp is gorgeous and I love him as Captain Jack Sparrow. Will and Elizabeth from the first three movies aren't in this one, and I didn't miss them. I liked them, but I felt as if their story had been played out in the first three movies. It made a lot of sense to drop their characters and move forward with the pirates. I'm actually surprised Hollywood did it since it's just the slightest bit risky. I actually think, if they continue to make POC movies, that it would be smart to do arcs and drop those characters out as each arc finished, with the core players moving forward. Like Johnny Depp. :-)
Um, but I digressed. This is the kind of thing I do when I watch movies--analyze them like this.
Anyway, this time around, the movie is about more than special effects and that's part of what made it better than 2 and 3. But there still was less emphasis on character and character interaction in Stranger Tides than in the Black Pearl. I'm all about the characters. But there were some good moments. Jack Sparrow's wild escape scenes are pure fun and the first one in this movie had some particularly good moments. Actually, all the escape scenes were fun and played to the other movies and how Jack was portrayed.
Keith Richards was awesome as Jack's father. He only had a few lines and it wasn't as if they were earth shaking, but knowing that Depp based Jack Sparrow--in part--on Richards and then seeing Richards playing the character's father? It's too big a kick not to enjoy. A little like an Easter egg.
There were a few interesting things they did--like making the mermaids be vampires. Okay, I'm not sure the mermaids were supposed to really be vampires, but when they bared their fangs, that's what they looked like to me and so that's where my mind went. And I also found what they did with the ships and the bottles to be intriguing as well.
While there were a few funny moments, I found this one lacked the humor of the original and I missed that. Plenty of action and adventure, though, and lots of Johnny Depp, who is really the best thing ever about POC and the reason why I was willing to take a chance on POC4 after the debacles that were 2 and 3. And there's a character listed in IMDB as the Spaniard who was pretty good looking in the movie. The actor is Oscar Jaenada.
Overall, I give it a qualified recommendation. It wasn't great, but it was enjoyable enough.