May 20, 2011 by Vinnie Leduc
With half of the first trilogy’s main characters gone and a new director at the helm, armed with half the budget of its predecessor, On Stranger Tides is sorely lacking the epic grandeur that made previous Pirates of the Caribbean films large-scale events. However, the latest voyage is the first to offer 3D, which is better than decent but unfortunately sparse due to the predominance of nighttime scenes.
The only other treasure you’ll find in Stranger Tides is Johnny Depp, who dons eyeliner once again to reprise his Oscar-nominated role as Jack Sparrow. Penélope Cruz also joins the crew as a viable female lead replacement for Keira Knightley, and Ian McShane is onboard as Captain Blackbeard, but he doesn’t bring as much charisma as previous villains like Bill Nighy’s Davy Jones did.
Many elements of this movie, from the swordplay and the seafaring to the special effects and the stunts, seem sunken and watered down compared to the first three films. Some (younger, male) audiences might be entranced by the mermaids, but most viewers will be disappointed unless they’re fans of the franchise. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides gets 2 out of 5 stars or OK or C.