Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Reviews

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Super Reviewer
May 25, 2011
My daughter Erin loved it. I thought it was okay. I miss Kiera Knightly :)

I dont quite know what to say here. It was not as convoluted plot wise as the second two but did not have the charm of the first.
Super Reviewer
½ March 24, 2016
Actually got a kick out of this 4th installment of the series, better than I cared for the 3rd, and Penelope Cruz is a big reason why. Well, and mermaids. Ships shooting fire? Over-the-top. But the rest? S'good pirate movie fun. Who woulda thought that this series would become Depp's big contribution to film? Did even Depp think it? He's great. G. Rush? Great. The whole magilla ... great. I had given up on the thing, but they pulled me back in.
Super Reviewer
½ May 24, 2011
We all thought it had ended with the trilogy but no! as in this modern age there had to be a continuation, it had to be milked and a milked it shall be. New director, change of cast line up and a new myth to explore, this franchise has become the Indiana Jones of the era.

This film takes elements from actual real history this time and blends them with classic fantasy. The real bits involve the legendary English pirate Edward Teach and his flagship Queen Anne's Revenge and the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon. Now this plot has relaxed a bit, its not a complicated mess of sub plots and tonnes of characters. 'Sparrow' is off to sea once again to find the fountain of youth, alongside him is 'Barbossa' who is now a privateer for the British Navy. At the same time 'Blackbeard' is also after the fountain along with the dastardly Spanish and their religious thoughts. Each party has their own reasons naturally which does as usual involve some double crossing and twists.

I must admit to liking the intergration of actual history into the plot this time. The franchise has slowly used various common old fables and sea myths to its advantage which has worked well, this time the inclusion of some real historic figures gives the whole thing a bit more class, credibility and a small sense of realism. Of course old Blackbeard has been given a slightly spruced up look with black leather top to bottom by the looks of it, aiming for the cool factor a bit too much methinks.

Gotta say I didn't really like the whole supernatural power thing Blackbeard had over his ship with the magic cutlass. That seemed pointless if you ask me, if he can control the ship like that then why use a crew?. His galleon has also been given a very fantasised appearance which makes it look like a unique ghost ride attraction in a fairground. Oh and his ship breaths fire out the front? really? did we need that silliness? they'd probably burn their own ship down with it.

Next to that we see mermaids which is about time really if you think about it. The fact they are actually fearsome creatures that kill innocent sailors was a nice touch if rather obvious. But that plot detail causes confusion with the main mermaid character who we are meant to feel for, but that's hard knowing her kind are merciless killers of the deep, plus the 'Splash' finale for her was too much cinematic deja vu.

I think the film in general is let down by totally unrealistic action sequences that just feel implausible when they are suppose to be reasonably plausible. The escape set piece at the start is a good example, its overly long and over the top in every sense. Sparrow is leaping around like an acrobat (clearly a stunt double) and doing things that just wouldn't work, the worst bit is seeing all the English soldiers prat falling about everywhere trying to catch him, its cringing. We all know the franchise is suppose to be fun fantasy but apart from the actual supernatural stuff you do expect a degree of slight realism with some stunts. If it becomes too outrageous then it ceases to be fun and simply becomes a joke, what's worse is the fact its not meant to be that kind of joke.

The film is full of these daft action sequences really, it looks bad because we all know Sparrow isn't that kind of character, we had 'Turner' in the trilogy for that. So now seeing the campy Sparrow mincing about doing these big hero stunts looks stupid as its actually taken semi seriously. As I said earlier the plot does also go down the route of old Indy with the chalices thing and especially the finale for Blackbeard which is pretty much a rip off from 'Raiders' and 'The Last Crusade'.

Altogether the adventure feels a bit flat to me, nothing much happens that we haven't seen before or made me go wow!. Most of the characters are running low on juice now accept for Barbossa who is always brilliantly played by Rush. Cruz was a bad casting choice and did nothing whilst McShane wasn't all that intimidating as Blackbeard if you ask me. Kudos to Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey for being gorgeously cute as the mermaid and Richard Griffiths in a small role as King George II at the start.

On the whole very very average in my opinion, hyper stunt laden action sequences can't divert from the fact the film is actually kinda dull. It all looks terrific and very atmospheric in that Monkey Island kinda way but you can tell the difference in direction with the film, it does stand out. I just feel they have now used up most avenues of pirate legend both real and fantasy, I can't see what they can do in the fifth film without it being a complete rehash, especially with this struggling for a fresh look. Who's left to utilize? 'Long John Silver'? 'Sinbad'? 'YellowBeard'? (lol!) what other old creatures and myths can they possibly crowbar in?? Atlantis?.

The fact they even squeezed in the minute unrelated hobby of ships in a bottle shows how far they were stretched to incorporate anything remotely olde worlde and piratey into the film. I think this film just about manages to be semi acceptable but that's now it, no more can or should be done. I think Sparrow has had his moment in the spotlight, time to retire in the sun matey.
Super Reviewer
½ January 4, 2013
Cliche romance, cliche characters, cliche action, cliche story, foreseeable ending and just a few good moments. Rotten.
Super Reviewer
September 18, 2010
I wasn't expecting much after the reviews and knowing some of the main characters from the previous ones were not in it. However I have to say it was pretty decent, still with a strong cast and plenty of the original cast, lots of action and the typical humour from the franchise. It might not be quite up to the level of the first 2 films, but it was still enjoyable.
Super Reviewer
½ September 4, 2010
Enough already now....move on.
Super Reviewer
May 14, 2012
In this the 4th and hopefully last installment of the Disney ride gone bad, we have the same thoughtlessness, the same overcooked sentiments and disconnect as were exhibited in the previous 2 sequels. It's just plain tired.

Capt'n Jack Sparrow, while a whimsical force, often echoes the films themselves - not really knowing why he does what he does, and seemingly clueless about it all anyway... I'm wondering, has there ever been a less convincing hero? Here he is shown making fun of the barristry (an absurd bit that could have used a bit more humor), then a rather funny escape that goes horribly wrong (only to escape once again in a nice bit of coach hopping), only to once again be captured by the King's guard. Are we asleep yet? Of course this gives the opportunity to reunite Depp with Geoffrey Rush (wouldn't it have been better to have the saccharine 70's song Reunited playing in the background?).

For a brief moment it was nice to see the two gnashing teeth at each other - but the moment quickly passed, and once again Capt'n Jack escapes from the government's grasp. The film then decides to attempt (emphasis on "attempt", not succeed) to instill new life into the series by introducing Penelope Cruz, who we first see in a hilariously (not) disguised as Capt'n Jack himself - oh the humor of it all!! Seems the pair were an item once upon a time (which we learn over yet another gratuitous sword fight) - though we're never sure who jilted who (or if it even matters). Somehow, the gendarmes find the pirate hide out and... ho hum... try to capture our hero. Of course he escapes once again, only to find himself allegedly betrayed by Cruz, since he ends up on the ship of the notorious pirate Blackbeard (who even makes Sparrow quiver in his designer boots). I love Ian McShane, and he is of course a force of nature as Blackbeard - but the film then falls into an absurd story concerning finding the fountain of youth. Funny thing, it's not the fountain of youth itself that is absurd, but moreover how the film insists that the three main parties involved, McShane, Cruz, and Depp, all need each other to accomplish their goal.

There is an overly long scene involving mermaids - some totally out of sequence scenes that either make little sense, or seem shoehorned into the plot to attempt (here's that word again) some sort of gravitas. In all, it doesn't work and seems badly stitched together - which indicates some terrible direction.

Throughout this series I consistently felt that the creators didn't really know what to do with the Jack Sparrow that Depp created. He's a lazy slacker who gets by with his wits (or luck since it often seems that his plans are faulty). As the series progressed, Sparrow often became almost a spectator to his own films - he gets thrown into absurd situation after absurd situation and then watches with detached bemusement while things fall into place and he succeeds; at least until the next time he's captured or whatever. This rinse and repeat method has become tiring and shows a lack of creative spark and imagination and why this franchise should be allowed to come to rest in a Sargasso Sea, never to be seen or heard from again.
Super Reviewer
December 31, 2010
Featuring a somewhat smaller budget, a new director, a mostly different cast, and a bit of a scaled back scope, this, the 4th entry in the Pirates series is more of a stand alone affair than the previous entries...and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

This time around, Captain Jack Sparrow is on a quest to find the Fountain of Youth...no real specfic reason is given why...unless you count the fact that someone is apparently masquerading as Jack...which leads him to meet up with an old flame named Angelica who is also apparently the daughter of Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, the most feared and infamous pirate of all.

Besides the quest for the Fountain, there's also some stuff thrown in about privateering (Barbossa decided to continue piracy, but in it's legal form), and Spain's policies concerning the Fountain as well. Oh yeah, and zombies and mermaids. They don't really do much with the zombie aspect, but there are some cool scenes with the mermaids, although it bugs me that they sort of portray them as kinda being a bit like vampires for some odd reason. Also, in order to successfully drink from the Fountain, there's a convoluted process, which seems unnecessary, but hey, this is at least easier to follow than the previous film.

The film is, as I mentioned a tad smaller in scale, but still not totally simple or straightforward. It's also the shortest entry, but only by like 5 minutes, so that's not saying much. It is a servicable and enjoyable movie, but it's really not all that special. I think they should have waited even longer before making another Pirates film, given how overblown things became in the wake of the success of the prior films.

Rob Marshall takes over for Gore Verbinski, and he does okay. He's not known for doing this kind of thing, so he was an interesting pick. He's not bad, but I think they should have found someone with a bit more action oriented experience, as a lot of this just feels like Verbinski-lite. The casting is good. Ian McShane is the only choice for Blackbeard, but given the limitation of things (rating, Disney, etc) he's not as menacing or hardcore as he could have been. So yeah, he's a tad tamer, but he's still good. Depp, McNally and Rush are the only significant returning players, and they give adequate performances. Penelope Cruz is okay, and she has a couple of really good moments, but overall she's nothing special. Richards returns for a nice cameo, and, speaking of those, hi there totally random appearance from a certain Dame whose last name rhymes with bench.

All in all, an okay but unremarkable film. It'll give you a pirate fix if that's what you need, but it seems like they rushed into it just to cash in on the success of the franchise.
Super Reviewer
March 12, 2012
The pirates take to the seas again under the helm of director Rob Marshall.Sailing in a few minutes past 2 hours, and a few more with that extra something after the closing credits, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides becomes a bit lengthy. The build up of the story takes a while, so it does feel like a long stretch before the journey begins; nonetheless, the events that unfold are entertaining enough to keep the film afloat. Mermaids anyone?The so-called action sequences are mellow and not necessarily a highlight of this picture. The effects and costumes, on the other hand, are a plus.Johnny Depp does what he does best. Take a character and run with it. Despite the lack of major heroes to compliment Johnny Depp, which is a disappointment, he is hard to get tired of. Geoffrey Rush, Ian McShane, and the lovely Penelope Cruz do a nice job at taking some of the spotlight from Depp when appropriate.In the end, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides has the necessary characters and story to get the job done.
Super Reviewer
July 9, 2011
Much better than I was expecting. I was completely entertained through the entire film. The 2nd best of the saga despite having very little to do with the first 3.
Super Reviewer
½ March 31, 2010
It's not as bad as everyone says. It's just missing the playfulness of the first two films.
Super Reviewer
½ October 22, 2011
Johnny Depp wanted another island in the Bahamas so they decided to make this abomination of a movie. Chances are you still paid to go and watch it.
Super Reviewer
June 22, 2010
Cast: Johnny Depp, Penà (C)lope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush, Ian McShane, Gemma Ward, Judi Dench, Sam Claflin, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Richard Griffiths, Keith Richards

Director: Rob Marshall

Summary: Cunningly clumsy Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) meets his match when mysterious beauty Angelica (Penà (C)lope Cruz) forces the pirate to join her in search of the Fountain of Youth in the fourth installment of the humorous and action-packed "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise. Sparrow tries to determine whether Angelica is friend or foe while the riotous adventure sets him aboard a vessel belonging to the fearsome pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane).

My Thoughts: "I had really enjoyed the first two films of this series, but I guess the light of interest is slowly burning out for me. Not having Orlando or Keira in the movie made it feel like something was missing. Their presence in these films was surely missed. It seems like they just threw a story together just to make another film. Although it is an entertaining film and I did enjoy some of the new character's, I just couldn't bring myself to love it."
Super Reviewer
March 18, 2011
Pirates of the Carribean On Stranger Tides is a movie where I understand why some people didn't like it, but I think this was just a okay addition to the series. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is back and just as adventorous as ever. Crossing paths with the enigmatic Angelica (Penlope Cruz), he's not sure if it's love-or if she's a ruthless con artist who's using him to find the fabled Fountain of Youth. When she forces him aboard the "Queen Anne's Revenge," the ship of the legendary pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane), Jack finds himself on an unexpected adventure in which he doesn't know whom to fear more: Blackbeard or Angelica, with whom he shares a mysterious past. I'll say the negatives, first of all some things in this movie were so random you'll be thinking "what the heck was that." The action was very disappointing too, it was very boring and it was so weak compared to the previous 3 films. Blackbeard wasn't very intimadating compared to the previous villains, and I didn't find it a very good role for Ian McShane. Finally, I think they added to much comedy, a little is fine but too much gets lazy. Now I'll name the positives, first the plot was good in my opinion and simple enough for anyone who is familar with the series, but its really just pure fun. Youll be happy to know Captain Jack is back and the same old awesome goofball. The music in the movie is amazingly the same with some improvements to the score of past films of the series. Although I didn't enjoy the action, the chase scenes were great, and it really was exciting and one of the main parts that made this film good. Also I enjoyed how they didn't make it so disgusting this time, like some really sick stuff in At World End. So basically, I enjoyed this movie, but not having Orlando Bloom or Keira Knightley just made the film feel empty and not feel like it was Pirates of the Carribean anymore, and I should give this 2.5 stars but because they kept Jack Sparrow just as great and kept him the same, i'll be nice and give it a 3 star rating.
Super Reviewer
November 22, 2010
Well the first pirates was fantastic, the second still highly amusing, the third okay, long but entertaining enough but this final one was kind of pointless and wasnt necessary to have been made!
I feel they have just milked pirates as much as they can just to make money and theresult is just a movie thats amusing in places but similar to the previous three. and its only Captian Jack and Barbossa as the original characters.
Its an okay movie but lets hope they dont make any more!
Directors Cat
Super Reviewer
December 2, 2011
Again the cash cow is being milked and that cow is called Pirates 4: On Stranger Tides. This movie has no way of redeeming itself at all. Despite the fact you dont have to suffer the extraordinary lengths of the previous films Pirates 4 is just as awful as all the others are in terms of anything else.
Super Reviewer
½ May 27, 2010
"I have no say in it, Gibbs. It's a pirate's life for me. Savvy?"

I think a fresh start was exactly what the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise needed, and as a result, this is the best entry in the series since the first movie.

While the second and third movies were overly-long and tedious, On Stranger Tides goes for fun and entertainment over the increasingly seriously direction the last couple of movies followed. Jack Sparrow's search for the Fountain of Youth is still a little too long (there's really no reason for these movies to be over two hours in length), and there was DEFINITELY no need for another peripheral love story now that Bloom and Knightley's storyline was finally (and mercifully) ended in At World's End.

The characters of Philip and Syrena are blatantly forced into the story just so there would be another couple, and the time and attention focused on those two definitely hurts the overall pacing of the movie. They're are by far my biggest complaint about On Stranger Tides.

I like the other new additions to the cast, though. The new villain, Blackbeard is appropriately menacing and Penelope Cruz fits the PotC world like a particularly sexy hand in a glove.

I'm glad and slightly surprised to be able to say that the forth entry in this franchise is a good one, and it accomplishes that by going back to what made the first one so likable; it gives us a fun adventure that's not weighed down by attempts to be dark and serious.
Super Reviewer
May 4, 2010
Fine entertaining of the next pirate adventure with Johnny Depp returns to his iconic role of Captain jack Sparrow in an action-packed tale of truth, betrayal, youth and demise. Gone with Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightley and plots as congealed as washed-up seaweed. Instead, one self-contained adventure has Captain Jack Sparrow in search of the fabled fountain of youth. This fourth film has plenty fun with several delightful moments, funny lines, and much more action same as the last Pirates flick.
However, for all of Depp's slapstick and Rob Marshall's earnest endeavour, you begin to long for octopi-threads of ex-director gore Verbinski's crazed surrealism. Zombies and stroppy Spaniards are among the many so-whats that lurch through the lifeless stuffing of On Stranger Tides.
Geoffrey Rush once again shines as Jack's best rival Barbossa, as his quiet intentions resemble that of Sparrow in earlier films. Penelope Cruz adds a layer of sexuality that we definitely did not have with the other Pirates of the Caribbeans - it's just a shame she didn't have much time with Sparrow.
Super Reviewer
½ April 7, 2011
As a diehard fan of the series, I was very much looking forward to seeing this as the trailer looked promising. But the result is tired, and uses old ideas from previous films. The film is entertaining, and is quite decent, but it doesn't compare to the first three. On Stranger Tides is the weakest entry in the series, and despite the good acting, it really doesn't do anything new or original. The lack of originality is the films weakest point. I enjoyed the film, but it's apparent that there is something missing to truly make this a unique and terrific film going experience that the first three were. The plot is engaging, but at times it falls flat. However, the film isn't as bad as what every critic has said. Though this is most certainly the weakest film in the series, it's still lots of fun, but they could have done this film a lot better. I felt though that the film lacked the stunning action scenes and comedic bits that made the other films so good. The film has good action, but some of the action scenes feels like they copied it from previous Pirates films. A decent film with a good cast and they most certainly deliver good performances, however the scripts limitations are apparent and the plot could have been worked on a bit more. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is overall a decent entry in the series, but one that we could have easily done without. The performances delivered by the cast save this from being a total dud. This is a fun, but derivative film, so if you watch it, don't expect anything new or very thrilling or exciting. Still, for what it is, it's a fun film worth watching despite its numerous flaws. On Stranger Tides is hopefully the last in the series, as it's clear that the screenwriters are running out of ideas. With a series like Pirates of the Caribbean, there's only so much you can do to keep it entertaining and fun. On Stranger Tides is fun, but very much flawed. Johnny Depp alone makes this watchable, a fun film nonetheless.
Super Reviewer
½ October 27, 2011
different director, same mess.
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