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
½ May 27, 2017
After the original trilogy, there wasn't much story left to tell with Will and Elizabeth, so Disney wished to continue the franchise putting a heavier focus on Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow. On Stranger Tides featured Sparrow at the center of everything, which can be a good and bad thing.

I don't necessarily think it was the best idea to make Sparrow the only character with significant depth, but I also don't think having the story involve mermaids and an overly powerful supernatural villain either. The Pirates films at their best when the stakes are high but are also grounded with some realism. One of the reasons At World's End is a much better film is because there are stakes in that film. William's sacrifice feels earned because we've been with these characters for a few films. I never connected to anyone in On Stranger Tides because the writing never makes a considerable effort to flesh out the characters. The efforts that are made aren't very committed.

As a standalone sequel, which is essentially what this film is, On Stranger Tides is far from awful. It has plenty of fun swashbuckling action scenes that the franchise has always presented. Ian McShane is pretty good as Blackbeard, though he doesn't really compare to anything Bill Nighy or Geoffrey Rush did in the original trilogy. But the film itself presents a far goofier tone than any of those films. Sparrow is even more over the top (believe it or not) and thus removing any human connection to the characters.

I think it's best to treat this entry as a distant cousin people choose not to acknowledge at a party, because it has next to nothing to do with any of the other films (even the most recent film, Dead Men Tell No Tales). There are flashes of the Pirates we know and love but it's nowhere near as grandiose or as magical as its predecessors.

+Flashes of greatness


-Characters are getting a little too over the top

May 27, 2017
The first Muppet Treasure Island was better.
May 27, 2017
The worst POTC by far, On Stranger Tides cannot survive without the added talents of Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley.
May 26, 2017
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides can be summed up in one quote from the movie: Angelica says to Jack, "You haven't changed!" to which Jack responds, "Implying the need."
½ May 26, 2017
It is disappointing in many ways, but still a watchable film. They do not shy away from ridiculous scenarios, but it is not enough to completely take you out of the film. Each actor and actress does his or her best with what they have, but it is a serious step down from the original movies. Just ended up being completely average as a whole. Blackbeard was okay as a villain, but the film seemed to be missing that spark that the original trilogy had.
½ May 26, 2017
Back when this movie came out I had already moved on from my Pirates of the Caribbean faze. At the time I was obsessed with bigger and better things, like Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, Back to the Future, and good 'ole Star Wars. But when I found out they were making a new Pirates of the Caribbean, it was like Christmas come early. I couldn't wait! Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides came out on my last day of 7th grade and my parents took me and a friend to go see it. I still remember the night vividly. We went to my favorite pizza place and then straight to the movie theater, which is honestly still my idea of a perfect Friday night. And it was a perfect Friday night and then the movie was just so... disappointing. Even 12 year old me could smell the stench on this film. Now I'm not gonna act like the first three Pirates' movies are perfect motion pictures. Those films are incredibly stupid, CGI filled extravaganzas, but they still have a heart and a real sense of fun. On Stranger Tides has none of those things. While I wouldn't say the movie's not fun, it's just nowhere near as exciting as the previous Pirates' adventures. One of this film's biggest problems is that none of the characters actually seem to care about what's going on in the movie. This is a film about finding the fountain of youth and the only person who actually wants to find the fountain of youth is the villain, Blackbeard, who just so happens to be an incredibly boring character. While he has some funny moments, he in no way matches the complexities of both Davy Jones and Barbosa. I found it really interesting in the past movies how Davy Jones was lovestruck and Barbosa was just trying to lift his curse. These kind of motivations make villains much more interesting. Blackbeard just wants to find the fountain of youth so he can not die... ooh so interesting. There are only a couple of previous characters to return in On Stranger Tides. Barbosa is one of them and he's great. But that's no surprise. He's Barbosa and he's always been a hoot to watch. My biggest problem with his character in this one is that he's working for the British Crown. I understand his motivations and why he's doing what he's doing, but it doesn't feel right watching Barbosa not be a pirate. Of course Johny Depp returns as Jack Sparrow in a film in which many people have found his schtick has gotten old. I don't think so. I still find Jack Sparrow really fun to watch and he has a ton of great moments in On Strangers Tides. I even feel like he's turned down the craziness in this one compared to At World's End. It's just that the entire time Jack genuinely couldn't care less about the actual plot of the movie. The only reason he's on this voyage is cuz he's kidnapped for fuck's sake and the only reason he stays is cuz he wants to save Angelica, played by Penélope Cruz, who just so happens to be a lover of his from the past. However, the viewer could give two shits about Jack's love for Angelica, as the movie never actually shows us why they like each other. The only reason I wanted Penélope Cruz to live wasn't because she was Jack's love interest, but because she's nice to look at. Honestly, this movie really feels the loss of the series' other characters. Not just Will and Elizabeth, but the entire rest of the Pirates' ensemble. I mean it's not a Pirates' movie without Pintel and Ragetti bumbling their way through it. While I love that Mr. Gibbs returns to get shat on by Jack, he's just not enough. This movie also tries to smother us with discount Will and Elizabeth, two beautiful people: one a mermaid and one a priest. The movie gives us absolutely zero reason to care about their relationship other than they're hot and their subplot doesn't even start till halfway through the damn film. On Stranger Tides' biggest strength is the mermaid sequence. It's the one truly immersive breakneck part of the film, but it feels really shoehorned in, as if somebody just wanted mermaids to be in this movie. Honestly, this entire project feels like a hodgepodge of random pirate-y scenes that the studio put together because they wanted to make some money. Well, pirate hats off to them, cuz they definitely did; they just failed to make a good film in the process. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is the black sheep of the Pirates' franchise. It feels different in many regards, from the music to the characters to the cinematography to the less-than-stellar special effects. It isn't an awful film and it has its moments, but it's just... OK.
May 25, 2017
With more focus on the humor in this movie than the previous one and not as many plot threads this movie is quite fun to watch. I enjoy the chemistry of Johnny Depp and Penélope Cruz, it brings something new to the character of Jack Sparrow, even though the character is still like in the previous movies.
The action almost feels worse in this movie and that is a bit of a set back, since the action has always been so nice to watch. It felt quite bland. I also don't like one of the way the movie uses two characters just to make the plot move forward and that's the only reason they exist. The reason I don't like it is because they put to much time on them even if they don't need it.
½ May 25, 2017
With hardly any character or plot development and a fast-paced story, On Stranger Tides sinks to the title "worst Pirates movie." The movie is literally what its title is; everyone felt like strangers to this new tide on the Pirates Franchise.
½ May 25, 2017
This fourth "Pirates" movie feels extremely disjointed and ultimately underwhelming, after the mind-blowing action set pieces from the previous movies. Depp's unpredictability and humour also seems to have faded away.
Super Reviewer
May 24, 2017
After the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, a fews years had past before the announcement that the franchise would be receiving a fourth instalment. While I found myself not particularly being thrilled by that, due to the lacklustre film that would precede it, I went in optimistic, being a fan of the first two films. Not bringing anything new to the table in terms of story, choosing to leave out the classic characters played by Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, and bombarding the audience with a slew of new and uninteresting characters, really hurt the film as a whole. On its own as a film about people trying to find the fountain of youth, this is a decent flick, but it's a pretty bad Pirates of the Caribbean film.

Right off the bat, this film feels very distant from the rest of the franchise. Sure, it picks up the premise left at the end of its predecessor, having Jack Sparrow on the search for the fountain of youth, but as always, others are as well. Instead of an ensemble film, this feels very much like the Jack Sparrow one man show. This definitely grows tiring and the premise itself begins to feel fairly sluggish, even being the shortest film up until this point. Everything about this instalment felt like a slapstick fest, meshed with a very hardcore action flick, including mystical elements and mermaids. Yes, its as jarring as that statement suggests.

It became clear that Johnny Depp needed another character to become infatuated with, since the absence of Keira Knightley's Elizabeth Swan was very present. There are far too many new characters here and the fact that they all share a past with Jack, even though that element isn't explored nearly enough, became quite annoying. In a franchise that has become loveable for its characters throughout the first three films, it felt like a betrayal to the franchise to throw half of them under the bus here. Sure, it's not like those characters particularly needed to be on this adventure, but then why make the film in the first place? That being said, there are a few redeeming qualities to be had, like all of the sequels.

Composing every score since the second instalment, Hanz Zimmer's musical touch to these films has been nothing short of wonderful. The music throughout these films is so distinct and this film is no exception to that statement. The music throughout this film was enough to keep a smile on my face. On top of that, the post-production and cinematography have always been the biggest accomplishment throughout this franchise, creating a beautiful and vibrant world. If nothing else, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is wonderful to listen to and incredible to look at, but the film buried inside these elements is not all that impressive.

In the end, this film does hold up as a decent adventure flick when you're not thinking about the rest of the franchise. As a Pirates of the Caribbean film however, it's a pretty large flop. The action, sense of adventure, and emotional core to the characters all seems absent here and not enough effort was put into it, which is a lot to say for these films, given they have always been about the characters. Overall, I don't throughly like this film enough to recommend watching it, especially if you aren't too keen on the previous three films. This film has worn down on me quite a bit, because I once thought this was an improvement on its predecessor, but even at almost three hours, the third instalment has a much more interesting premise. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides may not be the worst "film" in the franchise, but it's definitely the worst of its kind, if that makes any sense.
May 24, 2017
It somehow manages to feel longer than any previous Pirates film, despite being the shortest? Just like the rest, it has some good ideas but they're all so blandly executed it's hard to even point to that as a positive.
May 24, 2017
Great loved blackbeard and the story was great
½ May 23, 2017
Didn't expect much of anything, but I was completely blow away! Best PotC ever!
I do miss Keira though...
½ May 22, 2017
Alright, but the plot was much too confusing. I have seen the other 3 films in the series, but years ago, when they were originally in the theatres, and I had a very hard time following this one. This installment just didn't have the magic of the others, and Depp and the other cast can't hold it (maybe Bloom and Knightley are required for a good Pirates film).
It has some good swashbuckling scenes, and a few fun jokes, but most of the film feels tired and flat. Hopefully the sequel (out this Friday) can pick up the series again.
Watched on Netflix at Sam's parents place (she is recovering from surgery) with Sam, May 22, 2017.
May 22, 2017
I actually enjoyed this movie. I found it entertaining and it barely met my 4 star standards. It's not the greatest movie of all time or anything but I still found it entertaining and enjoyable. Kind of like the first transformers movie, it's entertaining and enjoyable to watch. The plot wasn't great but it wasn't awful. Then again this movie has some good moments that hold it up really well. I don't really know if this movie has something for everyone but I think fans of this series might enjoy it. B-
½ May 22, 2017
I disagree with the critics on this one. This is no way a failure. However it's not epic. Read my full review for more.

I picked up a few inconsistencies with the script and about half of the jokes fall flat. There were even some action moments that were too silly and unintentionally comical.

The movie also tries to put in a "off to the side" love story that doesn't work at all due to the fast pace of the film and the minor characters not really being that good in selling their roles to the audience. A big lack of emotion here leaves this subplot boring and drags the movie experience a little.

The saving grace this movie provides though is the funny humor and action. Sure we may have seen alot of this type of action before, however Jack keeps introducing new things to it to keep it somewhat fresh even though there is a familiarity to it all. That's just a testament to how good of an actor Johnny Depp is to prevent this film from being too boring and mediocre.

So yes, overall I found this film entertaining and actually better then what I thought it was going to be. However it's not really a must see experience. This is the worst out of the 4 movies.

It must be said though that there is a scene or two in this film that might bother some people, but when it comes to scenes like this, I personally thought the 3rd film had more disturbing moments then this one and that this film is on par with the Indiana Jones movies that have those familiar scenes. Just my two cents on this area.
May 21, 2017
5/21/2017 (2): An ok movie, but not near as good as the first three.
May 20, 2017
Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's movie for me to endure while thinking "ugh, this doesn't need to be there," or "get to the bleedin' fountain of youth!" We open with the Spanish discovering a way to the fountain of youth when a fisherman fishes out some rambling guy who knows the way. We then see Joshamee Gibbs (Kevin McNally) be put on trial as Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) who poses as the judge who commutes the sentence to life in prison. Long story short, they seemingly escape, get captured, then Jack escapes on his own in a fun chase scene, ending with him in some tavern where he meets the woman posing as him to assemble a crew to get to the fountain of youth: Angelica (Penelope Cruz), a former lover of his who gets him captured by Blackbeard (Ian McShane) aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge. What follows is Gibbs getting the pro-crown Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) to take him on the search for the fountain of youth. What follows is a bloated parody of Tim Powers' novel "On Stranger Tides" using Pirates of the Caribbean. (Fun fact: Disney bought the rights of the novel so they could make this) I call it bloated because it wastes our time with man-on-mermaid romance between missionary Philip Swift (Sam Claflin) and Serena the mermaid (Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey) that really didn't need to be there, as well as maybe a few crazy chase scenes too many, but mostly the most boring romance since Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala, without the necessity of being the parents of two children who will save the galaxy. There are also a few shots that were definitely pushing the 3D this film was released in, but just feels painfully obvious in 2D. The semi-awkward humor actually feels in perfect place for this movie when you look at the series as a whole, so I'll only penalize the bad romance for slowing down the plot and wasting our time when the only romance of any interest is between Jack and Angelica. Otherwise, the visual effects are top notch, and Hans Zimmer's soundtrack captures the thrill of the chase scenes, the intensity of the villain, and appropriately includes some more Spanish instruments with the inclusion of Angelica and the Spaniards. Johnny Depp's fourth outing as Captain Jack Sparrow is bogged down with a whole romance subplot between two characters who didn't really need to be featured like that. Either take it away completely, or put the screen time towards Jack and Angelica's relationship, that one would have been more interesting. Aside from pacing issues and excessive big action with maybe a few too many moments of dumb luck, it's not a bad voyage to take.
In May 2007, I thought it was all over. I thought At World's End was the end of Pirates of the Caribbean. But it looks like we got more than expected after that. Jerry Bruckheimer is very persistant, making a fourth Pirates movie after we all thought it was over, and then basing its plot on a novel, and using the title as the subtitle. On Strangers Tides actually does feel like we're on stranger tides, due to a lack of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan, Jack's two best friends. What it doesn't lack is the wit of Jack Sparrow, as well as an exciting adventure to the fountain of youth. And BlackBeard "The pirate all pirates fear," according to Jack Sparrow, becoming a main character. We also get a twist of romance in the form of BlackBeard's daughter Angelica, who had a relationship with Jack, returning from his past to haunt him. Let's not forget the thrilling Hans Zimmer score, as well as the glorious CGI effects, and the wit and humor that made Pirates of the Caribbean what it is today. Ultimatly, this movie proves favorable. In conclusion, I can't wait to see what's lined up for Pirates 5!
May 16, 2017
Pirates 4 isn't awful but there's nothing about it that's really great or memorable.
½ May 14, 2017
While I do agree that On Stranger Tides isn't as good as its predecessors, I don't think it's a bad film. The dark tone and atmosphere of the film was consistent throughout the three films as they were all directed by Gore Verbinski who also directed the horror film, The Ring. However, he is replaced by Rob Marshall, who is best known for directing the feature film musical Chicago and probably isn't the best choice to direct an adventure film. He doesn't do a bad job though and I think he has succeeded in creating an entertaining film.
The film follows Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) as he, Angelica (Penelope Cruz), Captain Blackbeard (Ian McShane) and the crew of the Queen Anne's Revenge go on a journey to find the Fountain of Youth. In a subplot, Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), who is now working for the British Navy, and Jack's shipmate, Gibbs (Kevin McNally) journey to the Fountain, too, with Barbossa wanting revenge on Blackbeard.
To those who complained that At World's End was too long (running at 2 hours and 49 minutes) will be happy to know that On Stranger Tides is only 2 hours and 16 minutes as the plot moves at a fast pace.
One of the highlights of the first three Pirates films was the relationship between Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley). Here, they are replaced by Philip (Sam Claflin), a member of the crew of the Queen Anne's Revenge, and Syrena (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey), who is a mermaid. Unfortunately, their relationship isn't as interesting as Will and Elizabeth's and the film spends too much time focusing on them.
As the main villain, Blackbeard isn't as fearsome as Bill Nighy's Davy Jones, however, McShane stills gives off an intimidating performance.
While I don't think it's as good as the earlier films in the Pirates franchise, it's not as bad as critics have made it out to be and it's worth a watch.
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