‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ (2011)


Captain Jack is back – again (for the fourth time!). In comparison to those before it, “Stranger Tides” isn’t great by the word of critics. But for those of us who aren’t looking for perfection, this really is a lot of fun. In fact, I think it may actually be my second favorite in this series, something that kind of shocks me. pirates of the caribbean on stranger tides

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011) Film Review

His loyal first mate is in a boatload of trouble. This inspires Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) to devise a clever plan to secure Master Gibbs’ freedom. The only problem is, Jack is again without his beloved Black Pearl and a means of transport. But never mind! Just now he has bigger problems at hand. He’s again on the wrong side of the law when he escapes royal custody, and his audience with King George and his notorious enemy Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush).

‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ (2011). Johnny Depp returns in the fourth Pirates film from Disney. All text © Rissi JC

Jack is now busy trying to elude capture on the London streets as reports swirl that another is impersonating Jack Sparrow; the only man who can do this is Jack himself. Finally coming face-to-face with the person sullying his good name, he discovers that it’s Angelica (Penelope Cruz). She also happens to be an expert con woman and Jack’s former flame. Angelica and her father, the evil Blackbeard (Ian McShane), set out to find the Fountain of Youth, and since Jack is famed in the pirate life, Angelica sees to it that he’s is aboard their ship. Whether or not he likes it isn’t her problem. With Captain Barbossa on their trail, the race to find the fountain (and a mermaid’s tear!) is on. pirates of the caribbean on stranger tides

Johnny Depp returns as THE Captain Jack Sparrow. ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ (2011). #Movies #JohnnyDepp #Disney #MovieArchives Click To Tweet

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Looking back on these, it’s almost as if filmmakers don’t know when to quit. Prior to this installment (yes, as usual I’m late to the excitement), I’d read numerous reports that this film isn’t all that memorable, so I did expect to be let down. Finally this past week on a rainy afternoon, I sat down to watch this. Imagine my surprise when this fourth part actually did sweep me away by its comical genius. Most people probably disagree, but Rob Marshall (a new director) and producer Jerry Bruckheimer along with the writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio (each of whom have been with the franchise since the beginning) bring me back to the first movie The Curse of the Black Pearl. It seems like there were a lot of similarities – comparisons that reminded of the reasons I so “fell” for it in the beginning.

If ever Disney is unable to secure Johnny Depp, it doesn’t seem possible that these movies would continue. He is the only Jack Sparrow there is. The viewer laughs at his antics before fifteen minutes pass. He’s the kind of character who, even when he doesn’t intend an outcome, everything always works to his advantage. Plus, fans get to see him act as a judge this time around – wig, robes, cravat and all! I didn’t feel the loss of Elizabeth and Will as keenly as I’d convinced myself I would, and in their place we have a side-story romance in the form of a young missionary (Sam Claflin) and a dangerous, alluring mermaid named Syrena (Astird Berges-Frisbey). Prior to seeing this, I’d read a lot about the “mermaid sequence” and frankly, I do think it’s unique but also somewhat, silly.

The script is good with the right humor us laugh throughout. Cinematography is as grand as ever as is the familiar score by Hans Zimmer. Unlike the two titles sandwiched in-between this, On Stranger Tides is stronger than it’s given credit for. With a fifth film on the rumor mill, I would certainly be back for more. There is so many Jack Sparrow stories the writers can tell. I mean, really, who doesn’t want to go on another adventure with the just-on-the-edge-of-sane-but-eccentric Captain Sparrow? At this point, my confidence is (mostly) restored in this franchise, so let’s set sail for another one. 

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CONTENT:  there is some sexual innuendo, especially as regards Jack and Angelica. Supposedly Jack “sullies” her reputation when she’s still an “innocent.” There is voodoo doll of Jack that is tortured twice – these actions are physically felt by Jack. The most terrifying thing in the movie is the mermaid sequence. Once they have a person under their spell they “hiss” and “grow” fangs of a sort. Dozens of them attack a group of pirates and likely kill some. Swordfights are plentiful and numerous people die of gunshot or knife wounds; Barbossa fancies using poison to eliminate enemies. H*ll, bas*ard plus a few crudities are the extent of profanity. Pirates 4 is PG13.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. Rissi, I struggled with this one, not gonna lie to you. I did like it better than the numbers 2 and 3, but in my mind, nothing can capture the magic of the 1st one to me!!!!

    I think my main issue is that they don't know when to quit. And I am a huge Will and Elizabeth fan, so I did miss them. And Jack having a love interest was a bit of a stretch for me

    But the cinematography and musical score is just as amazing as ever!!!!!!

  2. I loved every single one of the Pirates movies mostly because of Jack! He's such a fun character and you never know what to expect from him other than laughs. I was surprised that I liked this so much especially since Orlando and Kiera weren't in it! I'll definitely be going to see the other movies that are supposed to be in the works–these are definitely guilty pleasure films. :-P

    XOXO~ Renee

  3. Rebekah – this movie/series is AWESOME! If you were to ask me exactly why, I couldn't say, but it is good.

    Added into the mix of comedy and old-fashioned swashbuckler is an element of quirkiness, but then, that is part of what makes this series so endearing.

    Ella – I agree with a lot of your thoughts (I remember now that I saw your review this past summer!!). But… believe it or not, I liked this one better than the two titles sandwiched in-between the first and this fourth movie. I thought it somewhat re-captured the magic of the original and my "faith" has been ever-so-slightly restored in what had become an otherwise lackluster franchise.

    Everyone had mediocre thoughts about "On Stranger Tides" so that is what I was expecting – imagine my surprise! =)

    I liked Will and Elizabeth too – a lot, but I didn't miss them as sorely as I'd thought as for Jack and Angelica… yeah, you are right, it was a bit sketchy, but I didn't really get swept away by their story as a "romance," so I didn't mind it terribly much.

    Funny how much we agree on movies; always love chatting with you, Ella. =)

    Renee – me, too! No matter how much I might gripe about the "badness" of the sequels, I have been entertained by every one. If Disney keeps making them, I will definitely see any subsequent sequels.

    Jack (Johnny D.) IS the reason that fans keep returning for more "Pirates." He is HILARIOUS in every movie – the beginnings of a smile were already on my face before ten minutes of the movie passed because I just knew that the judge was Jack – who else could get away with a stunt like that!?

    Glad you all joined in! I love it when you all leave comments – thanks bunches and bunches!! So… anyone else a "Pirates" fan… or do you all have "iffy" feelings for this series? Chime in your thoughts…

  4. I didn't enjoy it all that much, but it's also possible I was in a funk that day — and watching it with my dad made all the innuendo and the mostly-naked mermaids squirm quite a bit. I do want to see it again, just to see if I like it any better than the first time. But… I'll never get over missing James. ;)

  5. I watched this movie with mixed feelings and opinions. I'm not sure what my overall reaction to it is. I've seen all three preceding films. Which one is my favorite…I'll have to think about it. I liked the first one, though I thought it would have been better if it stood alone, meaning no sequels. But the second was so far the most comical. The third I found to be extremely silly. And the fourth…

    Pirate of the Caribbean is not itself without Jack Sparrow. I didn't mind the loss of Will and Elizabeth at all. The missionary guy and the mermaid took place in their romance, and even Jack and Angelica. But I was glad Jack was still there–after all, he's the witty, humorous character who puts life into the movie. The story was alright, I guess. Interesting, and the kind that holds surprises halfway through the plot. I did think some elements, like the vapire-ish, slinky mermaids were disturbing, though. But overall, I thought it was a great movie!

  6. Grace – you are welcome! =) Thanks for dropping by here – I always love comments.

    Charity – I was SO surprised that I liked this one as well as I did. I'd heard so many negative, half-hearted opinions about it that I just assumed my thoughts would be much the same. However… that was not the case! I really, really liked this fourth one. I thought it deserved more credit than it was given. If you see it again, you'll have to let me know what you thought.

    Oh, that's right! I forget that you liked James so well. ;D I didn't miss Will and Elizabeth as expected, so for that I was glad.

    Lauren – thanks! =)

    Jemimah – I think a lot of viewers were like you and did have mixed feelings about this movie. I found myself being reminded of the first one, so I actually LOVED "Stranger Tides," but… that was a shock to me.

    You are right that this shouldn't have been a series because the first one was that good, but I always am entertained when I watch these movies. I really must see number 2 and 3 again since I've probably only seen them each once.

    If Disney couldn't reach a contract agreement with Depp, there would be NO more "Pirates" because, yes, he IS the series. I am always laughing at his antics. =)

    So glad you all stopped in – love reading your thoughts. =)

  7. James is the only honorable man in the film series — or he was, until they gave him a personality change in the second film! =P I hated that, and was glad they redeemed him in the third film. Where 4 is concerned — loved the mermaid scene, enjoyed the missionary subplot, but … just didn't love the movie overall. I kind of felt like Jack cannot carry a movie on his own, and none of the new characters were as likable as the originals. But I'll try and rent it next week and give it another chance. I may like it better this time around.

  8. I really loved this movie — might be tied for first place with me as far as the series is concerned. Jack has always been the #1 draw for me and he delivered in spades with this one as far as I'm concerned. :) Great review!

  9. Charity – I liked James, but I think I just got so caught up in following the lives of Jack, Will and Elizabeth that I didn't really even "notice" James presence…

    Well… I might argue with you that Jack could carry the whole movie – I think he is the only reason most fans have stuck with the franchise. LOL! Do rent the movie again and I'd love to know what you think of it a second time around. =)

    Ruth – me, too!! This fourth sequel certainly "restored" my "faith" in this series; I just LOVED the movie. I think a 2nd viewing will improve my opinion even more.

    So glad you stopped in, Ruth – I've missed you here. =)

  10. I know I'm commenting a little late here… But I'm new to this blog and I've been going back and reading all the old reviews. Just had to say I agree with you on your assessment of this one! I think this movie is tied for first with Curse of the Black Pearl. I think one of the reasons it was so good is that Jack finally got his proper place as the main character. :)

  11. I don't mind if comments are "late" or on a "current" post, Lauren – I just love hearing from my readers. =) So… thanks.

    It surprised me to no end how well I liked this one. The fact that I felt almost transported back to the 1st was great because that was/is the best of the bunch. Great movie – and Jack is as amusing as ever.

    Thank you SO much for following my little blog, Lauren – I appreciate it. Drop by anytime.

  12. Me, too! Loved this movie. It was funny and a great adventure. Will and Elizabeth were missed in my opinion but… I didn't miss them like I thought I would for which I was glad. =)

    I am thrilled that you chose to follow me, Rachel – thank you! I enjoyed my visit to your blog and will certainly follow you, and look forward to my future visits there. =) Again, thank you.

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