Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (PG-13)
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This is the fourth movie in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, and the first not to include Elizabeth Swann and Will Turner. It came out in 2011, but I didn't see it until 2014 (to be precise, on September 19, because it's Talk Like a Pirate Day). I must say I find the title a bit ironic, because this seemed to me to be the least strange of all the PotC movies so far. It still has some supernatural elements, but generally speaking the plot is much easier to follow than any of the previous installments, which I found refreshing. In addition to enjoying the movie's followability, I liked the fact that Jack Sparrow seemed a bit more competent than he ever seemed before. (Not to worry, though, he's still essentially the same old Jack.)
Anyway, it begins with Captain Jack attempting to rescue Joshamee Gibbs (Jack's first mate, who seems more important in this film than he has in the past). For some reason, Gibbs was thought to be Jack himself, and was on trial- which seemed a mere formality, as the hanging was already scheduled for that afternoon. Of course, the rescue doesn't quite go off as planned, and they both end up being captured. But it seems Captain Barbossa is now working for the king, and Jack is offered a position as his guide on a quest for the Fountain of Youth. However, Jack manages to escape, and subsequently Gibbs is forced to become Barbossa's guide. Meanwhile, Jack seeks out an impostor who's been calling himself Jack Sparrow, and recruiting a crew. The impostor turns out to be a woman named Angelica (PenÚlope Cruz), a former paramour of Jack's. And it turns out that she is the first mate of the notorious Captain Blackbeard, and Jack is forced to join his crew. He's also looking for the Fountain, so it will be a three-sided race. On one side there's Blackbeard, Jack, and Angelica; on another, Barbossa and Gibbs; and on the third side are the Spanish (who have more ships and a sizable lead).
Um... what else can I say? Blackbeard had a prisoner, a missionary named Philip Swift (I read his name online while working on this review; I have no recollection of having heard it while watching the movie). Also, in a twist I don't think I've ever heard of in regard to the Fountain of Youth, just finding it isn't enough. There's a ritual that must be performed involving silver chalices and the tear of a mermaid. So before anyone even gets to the Fountain, they have to find the chalices. And they have to capture a mermaid. I will say that I have heard of mermaids being more vicious than they are sometimes depicted in popular culture, and this movie did a pretty good job of depicting that viciousness. Anyway, Blackbeard's people manage to capture a mermaid named Syrena, and Philip develops feelings for her. Oh, and I forgot to mention that Blackbeard practices voodoo, and his ship's officers are zombies (though they look more human than zombies are usually depicted).
And I dunno what else to say. As usual, I don't want to spoil how it ends. But I thought it was a fun movie. Some people (including critics) might have some problems with it. And I do kind of understand how one might miss some of the weirdness of the earlier movies, but I don't. The movie is plenty weird, and really I think all it's missing is the convolutedness of the earlier movies. Which is a good thing. Oh, and as usual, there's a bonus scene after the closing credits.