Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

 

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

 

Rating: PG-13

 

Reason for the Rating: Intense sequences of action/adventure violence, some frightening images, sensuality and innuendo.

 

Plot Summary: Captain Jack Sparrow races against others to reach the Fountain of Youth.

 

PopFam Recommends: If you and your family enjoyed previous Pirates of the Caribbean movies, this is a fun sequel that will certainly make you laugh.

 

Captain Jack Sparrow. Is he a wily, crafty pirate, or a scandalous, kooky drunk? Well, whatever your opinion, he's back for a fourth mythical adventure in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. In this one, Captain Jack is on the hunt for the fabled Fountain of Youth—and a villain worse than Barbossa is hounding him all along the way.

 

As with the previous Pirate movies, the visual effects are eye-catching. While it's not made clear if the Fountain of Youth is somewhere in the North Atlantic Ocean, near England and Spain, or the Caribbean, the cinematography is breathtaking. Jungles and mountains, valleys and waterfalls with rich, vibrant colors that make you wish you were there. While that's not always true in adventure movies, it is what we've come to expect from Pirates.

 

But that isn't necessarily why you would go see On Stranger Tides, is it? Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and his trouble-filled adventures are what we movie-goers find so curiously fascinating. And while Jack is a bit toned down in this adventure, he's still kooky and able to get out of any mishap, even if it includes flesh-eating mermaids, a King of England, or Blackbeard himself.

 

On Stranger Tides starts in Spain, continues in England, and ends at the Fountain of Youth. In England, Jack finds his old friend Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) has lost the Black Pearl and is now a privateer, leading the Royal Navy on a quest to find the Fountain. Odd, but true. He also discovers an old flame, Angelica (Penelope Cruz), who might, or might not, be the daughter of the infamous Blackbeard (Ian McShane). After a brief swordfight with Angelica, Jack wakes to find himself on a ship, and he's not the Captain. This is a strange ship indeed, with zombies as well as a missionary. Again, odd, but true.

 

As it turns out, Blackbeard is also after the Fountain of Youth, and needs Jack to lead him there. Outnumbered and out-manipulated, Jack is left no option except to reluctantly accept Blackbeard's "request." Of course, Captain Jack Sparrow never resigns himself to accept what a normal person might, but continues to struggle against the inevitable, attempting to maneuver anyone and everyone around him in hope of escape. Which makes his adventures interesting and fun.

 

On Stranger Tides is a different kind of adventure for Jack than we've seen before though. He's cocky, but not as excessively odd. His manipulation and tricks don't get him what he desires in this expedition. And while Penelope Cruz plays a fantastic Angelica, I found myself missing Will, Elizabeth, and the crew of The Pearl. There were plenty of swordfights, pirate greed, and a bit of romance, but something was missing. The characters we've come to expect in these movies...especially that gross pirate with the wooden eye. He was disgusting, but certainly part of the Pirate expectation.

 

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is fun movie parents can easily take the family to see. Yet, be aware of the rating. This is not a movie for younger children. The mermaids are hissing, vampire-like creatures, and Blackbeard uses black magic to harm those around him. It's a bit dark for those younger, as the rating indicates.

 

If you are a die-hard Pirates fan, and don't mind the 2 1/2 hour length of the movie, On Stranger Tides is full of action, humor, and typical Jack Sparrow trickery. I mean, Captain Jack Sparrow. Sorry, Johnny.

 

The 2-Disc Combo Pack of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides includes both a DVD and a Blu-ray disc. This version is light on extras, but does feature a blooper reel and a LEGO animated short film that’s entertaining. This disc also marks the debut of the "Disney Second Screen" special feature. Although we didn't try it, Disney describes it like this:

 

"Disney Second Screen transforms the movie watching experience by allowing viewers to explore the story behind the film perfectly synched on a second device, like an iPad™ or laptop, without interrupting their enjoyment of the movie. By simply accessing the Disney Second Screen companion application on their Internet-connected device, consumers are able to dive deeper into the film by engaging with elements including 360-degree vehicle turnarounds, interactive progression reels, and more. Disney Second Screen directions and access codes can be found inside the Blu-ray Disc packaging."

 

Let’s Talk About It

Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:

 

• Why is the pursuit of youth something that many people chase after?

 

• Barbossa went to great lengths to hunt down Blackbeard and exact his revenge. How did that affect his life? When are we tempted to sacrifice everything for the sake of revenge?

 

• The mermaids were beautiful on the outside, which was incredibly enticing to the pirates, yet they were deadly in reality. How is this like the way revenge is? How can we guard ourselves against the deadly effects of bitterness and revenge?

 

--JW

 

Note: All product-related graphics in this article are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective publisher.

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