Take the plunge! On Stranger Tides is an enjoyable ride at sea.
So this weekend you want to go see a new movie and low and behold your choices are.....one. Pirates of the Caribbean:On Stranger Tides released today at 12:01 am and your very own movie savant was there to check out its sea-worthiness. I'll even weigh in on whether or not it is worth walking the plank for the 3D version. The plot of this story is all about Captain Jack Sparrow and how he gets dragged into a search for the Fountain of Youth by a previous flame and with a little prodding from the feared Blackbeard the pirate. Along the way he encounters zombies, mermaids, and a ship with a mind of its own. Jack has to think quick to get himself out of trouble this time but can he do so successfully with one eye on his jilted lover and the other on Blackbeard?
Many people started out fans of the Pirates series because of the initial movie and were slowly turned off by the increasingly over-the-top fight scenes and tad bit ludicrous display of craziness by our very own Jack Sparrow in the following two movies, Dead Man's Chest(DMC) and At World's End(AWE). The love story between Orlando Bloom's Will Turner and Keira Knightley's Elizabeth Swan kept some sustained throughout the trilogy but that seemed to have come to a final conclusion in At World's End. So what direction did they decide they would go to breathe new life into this series? They brought back all the elements that made Curse of the Black Pearl(CotBP) so great and stuck with that. In my opinion the pacing is what benefited the most from this. Once again they are on a quest, this time for the famed Fountain of Youth, as discovered by Ponce de Leon. Since there are not any real drawn out battles that are being fought on several fronts, less time was spent in what I would say any one given location. They go from one set piece to another in order to help progess the story, staying just the right amount of time to get the point across. Johnny Depp was a much more his CotBP self as well, keeping his charm he carries as the Captain of the Black Pearl and putting in his more quirky traits only when they are needed instead of trying to force a laugh as he did in the 2nd and 3rd installments.
If I had to speak negatively about any one thing in this movie, it would be the love "story" forming around two of the lesser characters was a little distracting from the rest of the movie. As in, I wished it would have developed more than it did or the other option would have been to cut some of those scenes out to add more interaction time between other titular characters or even just lessen the overall time. That being said, it was not a large enough annoyance to turn me off from the movie, just a bit of change I would have liked. Otherwise the interaction between people was very enjoyable to see play out. Most conversations had some kind of playfulness and mystery to them with out getting too pun-y or convoluted. The action scenes were very evenly spaced out to make sure it didn't feel too action-heavy in any one part. Sets and backdrops were once again all on a grand scale. This made it easy to follow movements and not feel like you were getting a headache. Because these sets were so well designed the 3D element was even surprisingly good. They made good use of foreground objects without making it seem like they were always throwing something at you. Of course in the beginning I really noticed the depth, largely due to me purposely paying more attention to the 3D, but even after I became immersed in the story I was routinely surprised with how well I could tell the difference in depth between objects.
So to wrap all of these meanderings into one meaningful thought, I would have to say yes Pirates of the Caribbean:On Stranger Tides is worth your money to see in theaters due to its thirst for adventure, sense of humor, and to see what bit of trouble Captain Jack Sparrow will get himself out of next. It doesn't matter if you have seen any of the previous movies in the series, this is its own separate story and does not rely on any previous knowledge. As far as the 3D decision goes, is it a requirement? No, but I still I give it a thumbs up for it does enhance some sequences.
Detz All Folks!
EDIT:Just wanted to add that for those die hard fans looking to see every last minute, if you stick around after the credits, and I mean allllll of the credits, then you are treated to a roughly two minute clip. It reveals nothing of paticular importance but it should make you smile and chuckle.