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Movie Mom


Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action/adventure violence, some frightening images, sensuality and innuendo
Profanity:None
Nudity/Sex:Some mild references to seduction, a brothel, a claim of pregnancy, and questions of paternity
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking
Violence/Scariness:Non-stop action/fantasy peril and violence (swords, guns, explosions, zombies, monsters) with some graphic images, many minor characters injured and killed, death of a parent
Diversity Issues:Diverse characters
Movie Release Date:May 20, 2011
DVD Release Date:October 18, 2011

Jack is back.

And he is doing what he does best — stealing the movie from everyone else.  Johnny Depp continues Captain Jack Sparrow’s conquest of center stage with this fourth in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series, which abandons any pretense of having anyone else as the hero, and just lets him take over.

The series inspired by a theme park ride has for the first time relied on a book as its source.  According to the credits, it is “inspired by” On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers, an award-winning fantasy novel about Blackbeard and the fountain of youth.  The Disney series characters are grafted onto the story, which takes us from the courts (in both senses of the term) of London to Spain and then back to the Caribbean, with some historical figures like King George II and Blackbeard.  And we also get to enjoy zombie crewmen, a gallant missionary, sword fights, Keith Richards, chases, explosions, a pirate with a peg leg, shifting loyalties, daring rescues, revenge, voodoo dolls, a carefully balanced struggle on a shifting surface, and mermaids summoned by song who are as deadly as they are gloriously beautiful.  Hurray for summer movies!

Director Rob Marshall (“Nine,” “Chicago”) takes over seamlessly from Gore Verbinski, adeptly managing the tumult of the various characters (three pirate captains plus Penelope Cruz!), locations, and perils.  And everyone is looking for the fountain of youth, where you can steal someone else’s years if you have the chalices — and a mermaid’s tear.

In the previous films, Captain Jack Sparrow’s rapscallion impishness set off nicely the brave, honorable, but not exactly colorful romance of Will and Elizabeth.  Here, Ian McShane, with his gimlet eye and gravely rumble of a voice, joins the cast as Blackbeard, “the pirate all pirates fear,” to remind us that pirates can be ruthless.  “If I don’t kill a man every now and then they forget who I am,” he explains, leaving Jack to be as close as we get to a hero.  Cruz plays Angelica, a woman Jack once wronged who may be more of a pirate than he is.  “You haven’t changed,” she says to him.  “I haven’t found the need,” he replies.  And that pretty much sums up the enterprise.

 

Parents should know that this film includes non-stop peril and action violence (guns, swords, explosions, monsters, zombies, skeletons) with many minor characters injured and killed, death of a parent, some scary and graphic images, mild crude references to seduction, brothel, a claim of pregnancy, and issues of paternity.  A pub sign features some prominent cleavage.

Family discussion:  There are three pirate captains in this movie – how are Sparrow, Barbossa, and Blackbeard different and how are they alike?  Do you agree with the decisions made at the end of the movie by Captain Jack Sparrow and Philip?  Would you drink from the fountain of youth if you had the chance?

If you like this, try: the first and second “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies and family-friendly pirate films like “Muppet Treasure Island” and “Pirates of Penzance”



  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Tim1974

    I have lost pretty much all interest in films these days, but I do believe I will enjoy seeing this. I have seen the previous “Pirates” films and liked them and hope to enjoy this as much. I can’t help but be amazed at Keith Richards doing a credible job considering all the alcohol, drug, and nicotine abuse he has put his body through for many years. I find Johnny Depp’s ‘Jack” to always be interesting, for he in no way resembles what I think of as a real pirate on the high seas. Nonetheless, I like his performance and the films.

    • Nell Minow

      Thanks, Tim. Depp’s unexpected take on the character is a large part of the success of the series.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Mike

    The 3-D was a conversion job. I watched most of this without the glasses and it was fine.

    The movie itself, at least it moved at a good pace, which is partly why the first one is a lousy movie.

    This one barely held my interest, glad I didn’t pay for it other than wasting gas.

    • Nell Minow

      Actually, Mike, it was shot in 3D, not added in post-production.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Toby Clark

    I had high expectations, and it did not disappoint. Best since the arguably flawless original.

    • Nell Minow

      Thanks, Toby! I agree — not sure why so many reviews are negative. I thought it was a lot of fun.

  • Pingback: Captain Jack is Back! - Idol Chatter

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Mike

    How come I was able to watch it without the glasses and everything look fine?

    • Nell Minow

      That doesn’t have anything to do with when the 3D effects were added; it just has to do with how it is projected.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Rach

    We just came home from seeing it and loved it! It did not disappoint at all! Strong characters, good storyline and great acting! Will have to see it again since there are so many lines that we didn’t catch. I hope people stay for after the credits since the end is actually after the credits. I also don’t understand why so many critics are being negative – this is a great summer popcorn movie! Always bugs me when that isn’t taken into account, some movies are made for the pure joy of entertainment. :)

    • Nell Minow

      Thanks, Rach! I’m so glad you enjoyed it as much as I did.

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