Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Review

The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is one of the highest grossing of all time, so there’s no doubt that big things were to be expected of the latest instalment On Stranger Tides. Thankfully it does not disappoint.

As far as plot is concerned it’s nice to see that On Stranger Tides has returned back to a more straightforward narrative. The past two films were so convoluted with various subplots and villains that it was near impossible to make any sense of them. However the latest is thankfully far more straightforward affair, following Captain Jack Sparrow as he sets out to find the Fountain of Youth. Although he is not alone in his search and along the way he crosses mermaids, the Spanish Navy and even Blackbeard himself.

Captain Jack Sparrow has consistently been the most popular character in the series, but there has always been a small amount of doubt as to whether he would be able to carry a film without Orlando Bloom’s Will and Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth by his side. Fortunately he succeeds, and if anything the action plays out far better with Sparrow taking centre stage. As expected the script is filled with great one liners and Depp’s comic timing is as always spot on. New to the series is Penelope Cruz, who plays an old flame of Jack Sparrow. She is the perfect verbal sparring partner for Depp, and her character is far more charismatic than Elisabeth Swann ever was. The other big name attached is Ian McShane who is perfectly cast as the villainous Blackbeard. He oozes with menace in every scene and plays the perfect baddie to pit up against Sparrow.

As expected the action scenes are brilliantly choreographed throughout. Particular noteworthy scenes include a battle at sea involving mermaids and a pursuit through the busy streets of London, both pieces benefit from being filmed in 3D. In fact filming in 3D enhances the film as a whole, allowing the numerous uses of CGI to be far more impressive and absorbing.

Despite these numerous compliments, On Stranger Tides doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. With this sequel dubbed as a fresh start to the franchise one almost expects more than just the same used formula to be repeated. Even with Orlando Bloom out of the picture, newcomer Sam Clafin is brought in to play a remarkably similar role, and they may have even found the new Keira Knightley in Astrid Berges-Frisbey.

Overall On Stranger Tides is a strong entry into the franchise, and after the mess which were the last two sequels, it’s good to see the series finally back on track. If this segment is successful there is already talk of making another two sequels with Jack Sparrow remaining the focus.


On Stranger Tides corrects the mistake made by the last two POTC sequels, and focuses on story instead of scale. The result is a fun filled two hours which will not disappoint fans of the franchise.


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5 Responses

  1. Rosie

    POTC2 and POTC3 were convoluted? Hmmmm . . . granted POTC3 never gave a clear explanation of the Flying Dutchman curse, but that is about the worst I can say about it. And POTC2 is my favorite in the franchise. So, your review doesn’t really do much for me.

  2. Alex Rowland

    Hay Rosie,

    I’m glad you liked the POTC movies, that’s great, and we want to encourage people sharing their opinions here at Front Row Reviews but a review is a personal reaction to a film and as such they can’t do it for everyone.

    I’m sure Mike is sad that he can’t reach out to every one with his fine piece of writing but it’s unnecessary to leave comments in a derogatory fashion. Maybe next time try to get a constructive debate going instead.

    Personally I disliked POTC 2 and actually thought the third one had a lot of saving graces and potential (mostly wasted unfortunately). Will you be heading to see the new one at all?

  3. Mark

    I personally am a massive fan of the Pirates franchise. The first film was amazing and deserves massive praise. The second and third for me were a massive step back from the first but still entertaining (even though i thought both were far to complex and long).

    I havent yet seen the fourth installment and i am pleased to read a rather more positive review from you guys. Most have been at times evil and i am sure a film with the great character that is Captain Jack cant be that bad. I am still looking forward to seeing it.

    Good review.

  4. Alex Rowland

    Good for you Mark! I saw the trailer in the cinema yesterday again and I am definitely going to catch it at some point. Captain Jack is a no lose character…he’s never bad!


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