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Betty Jo Tucker

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Books by Betty Jo Tucker
On Stranger Tides: Film Review
By Betty Jo Tucker
Last edited: Monday, May 23, 2011
Posted: Monday, May 23, 2011

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In a fight between pirates and mermaids, who would you pick to win? Watching "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" might change your mind. One of the most exciting sequences in this popular franchise features a spectacular pirates/mermaid clash that makes the fourth offering something special.


“I think about mermaids in a completely different way now,” my husband declared upon leaving the multiplex. I have to agree with him. These creatures are a far cry from The Little Mermaid, for sure.


Whoever thought mermaids could upstage Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow? Still, I continue to be in awe of Depp’s performance as this iconic film character. In On Stranger Tides, Sparrow fascinated me almost as much as in the first Pirates adventure. In fact, Depp seems to be having the most fun ever playing the roguish, eccentric pirate here. How I love to see Sparrow show off those long dreadlocks, gold teeth, and woozy voice as he sashays around trying to trick everyone into doing his bidding!  


Full disclosure requires me to admit I’m not a bit objective where Depp is concerned. His amusing and mischievous Jack Sparrow is one of my all-time favorite movie characters. That’s probably why my main complaint about the three previous installments involves Sparrow not being on screen in every scene. On Stranger Tides comes closest to granting my wish.  


This time, Sparrow meets up with Angelica (Penelope Cruz), a feisty woman from his past who just might be a ruthless con artist only interested in using him to help her father find the Fountain of Youth. After Angelica forces Sparrow aboard the dreaded Blackbeard’s (Deadwood’s Ian McShane) ship, our unkempt hero must plan a way to use the ship to his advantage. But alas, mateys! Other parties -- including Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush again) -- have also heard about Ponce de Leon’s important discovery, which requires two chalices and a mermaid’s tear to work its miracle.


Who will reach the Fountain of Youth first? How difficult will it be to capture a mermaid’s (the soulful Astrid Berges-Frisbey) teardrop? What are Jack Sparrow’s real feelings toward Angelica, and vice versa? Finding out the answers to these questions may take us through a tangled tale at times, but it’s a generally entertaining one.         


Although the dialogue spoken by Rush and Cruz could have used sub-titles, that didn’t spoil On Stranger Tides for me. This Pirates of the Caribbean adventure -- complete with lots of exciting sword-fights, fast action, daring stunts (reminiscent of Douglas Fairbanks Jr./Errol Flynn flicks) and humorous dialogue -- offers fans like me another rollicking good time at the movies.   


NOTE:  I saw the 2D version. After suffering through Thor in 3D, I’ve learned my lesson. Only 2D for me from now on.


(Released by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and rated “PG-13” for pirate violence, scary images, and suggestive humor.)


Review also posted at ReelTalk Movie Reviews. 

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