The fourth chapter of the Pirates Of The Caribbean movie serial centers on the search for the Fountain of Youth. Spain wants to find it. England wants to find it. Angelica (Penelope Cruz) really wants to find it so she can save her father, Captain Blackbeard (Ian McShane), from a prophesied death at the hands of a one-legged man. Angelica manages to lure her former flame, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) into the quest and Jack tags along with Blackbeard’s crew to find the keys that will unlock the door to one of the greatest mysteries of the world.

Frankly, Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides was just more of the same. For the fourth time I got to watch a timed treasure hunt where the lowest of deckhands to the highest in the royal court race to get their hands on the hottest ancient relic of the season. Just like in the previous films you can expect more daring swordfights, more island locales and more pirate ship action. The main attraction is, of course, Jack Sparrow. Johnny Depp doesn’t miss a beat as the silly yet clever pirate who plays the fool but always seems one step ahead of even the most intelligent of adversaries.

Oh, and there is the inclusion of mermaids into the plot. A mermaid’s tear is required to harness the power of the Fountain of Youth so the main characters have to go to the mermaids’ hangout to try to get one of the fishy maidens to spare a drop. However, the mermaids in Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides are more than just pretty girls with fish tails. Underneath the lovely faces are strong grips that pull their victims to the depths and sharp teeth that make it very easy for the mermaids to devour their prey.

I saw the Real 3D version of The Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and I would encourage you to save your gold for the 2D treatment. The 3D visuals in this movie are spotty, at best.
One scene looks great while the next scene appears to be a 2D picture. You can try the IMAX 3D version if you wish. There is the chance that the bigger screen might give the waning 3D elements a much needed boost.

I’m sorry to sound apathetic about Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. As an adventure film series Pirates Of The Caribbean has done a superb job of delivering the goods on the stuntwork and special effects plus some dramatic blockbuster music courtesy of Hans Zimmer. It is one of those movies that really make it worthwhile to pay a visit to the cineplex. My issue is that the movie seemed a half an hour two long and after watching three chapters of the “Sparrow Saga” there wasn’t anything to really shout about. The story was good and the action was suitable but the main draw was Jack Sparrow, as usual. Even with the inclusion of new elements such as Blackbeard, Blackbeard’s daughter and the mermaids I still got a major case of déjà vu while watching this film. It makes me wonder if a Pirates Of The Caribbean tale could be told without the inclusion of Jack Sparrow. Probably not but Disney is making too much money off of Mr. Depp’s talents to test that theory.

Okay, I’ll put it this way: if you saw the trailers and previews and strongly liked what you saw then believe me when I say that you will get exactly what was advertised. If you liked the previous films in this series then you’ll most likely enjoy this one, too. And, of course, if you’re hankering for some more hijinks from Captain Sparrow then bring your bib because he’s been super-sized and he comes with extra gravy.

Rhymes With: Pirates Of The Caribbean-The Curse Of The Black Pearl (2003), Pirates Of The Caribbean-Dead Man’s Chest (2006), Pirates Of The Caribbean-At World’s End (2007), Tron Legacy (2010), Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows-Part 1 (2010), Clash Of The Titans (2010)