Pirate Week Wrap-up: My Review of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

The first thing I will comment on is that the film wasn’t as bad as some of the reviewers are saying, but it is clear that the franchise has lost steam. I don’t know how much of this is the doing of the director or how much is due to the fact that one a small number of the characters from the first three movie are present (including the Black Pearl). That said, it was all that I expected it to be and I had a very good time watching the story unfold.

The mission in this movie is to find the Fountain of Youth, as we expected from the very end of the last movie. Three different factions are trying to get to the Fountain, and only two solicit the help of Jack Sparrow, and he jumps back and forth between the two: Captain Barbossa has sided with the Royal Navy to help claim the fountain for England and Blackbeard and his daughter Angelica seek the fountain to avoid a prophecy that Blackbeard would die at the hand of a one-legged man. The fact that this prophecy exists is a testament to the amount of stretching the writers had to do in order to write the script. The One-Legged Man is Barbossa. We figured that out early. The only question is a matter of how, which we figure out long before the final battle. As much as I enjoy the movie, that doesn’t mean I enjoy predictable scripts.

The other party after the Fountain of Youth is the Spanish, but their reasons are less personal and much more noble. Beyond that, I can’t say without giving away too many spoilers.

The Fountain of Youth and Jack’s role in its finding is a really interesting way to end the Pirates franchise. Many of the lines in this film point to the end in ways that they didn’t in the last one. So even though there are rumors of a fifth script out there, it would be a disservice to the franchise to go with it after wrapping it up so nicely. The Fountain of Youth is believed to bring eternal life. In the Pirates mythos, two people are required to drink from the fountain. One person drinks water without the mermaid tear and the other drinks water with the mermaid tear (hence the need for two silver chalices). The one who drinks without the mermaid tear gives their remaining years to the one who drinks with the tear, a sort of age donation. It’s not eternal life, though I guess with enough victims, one could live forever. Or at least longer. And that’s the message of the movie.

The Pirates originally set sail in 1967 with the opening of the Disneyland attraction, and it is by far one of the most popular attractions at all Disney theme parks. They don’t need a Fountain of Youth to live forever. They have a permanent home in our hearts and in our entertainment history. And so will the films.

Afterall, while Dead Men may Tell No Tales (haha), Audio-Animatronics and movie characters tell tales as long as we keep the power turned on.

I saw it in 3D, and like Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, this is one of those films that does not require being seen in 3D. So, unless you insist on going to a particular theater that is only showing it in 3D (as I did), then I do recommend watching it the old fashioned way. I like the eye-candy of 3D, but I wish they’d realize that people wear glasses and that the 3D glasses they distribute at the theater are really uncomfortable to wear over regular seeing glasses.

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