Johnny Depp is back as Captain Jack Sparrow, and he’s better than ever in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’, Disney’s fourth entry in the wildly popular franchise. As was hinted at the end of ‘At Worlds End’, Jack Sparrow is now on the hunt for the Fountain of Youth. But unfortunately for Jack, he’s not the only one looking for it. A Spanish armada, the British armada led by a now conformed Captain Barbossa, and the world’s most notorious pirate, Blackbeard, and his daughter Angelica, are all hot on Jack’s trail and will stop at nothing to get to the Fountain before him. It’s an epic race against time spanning from the streets of London to uncharted jungles that is full of action and adventure, zombies, swashbuckling, and rum. The film features an all star cast including Depp, Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane, and Geoffrey Rush, and the film proves that there is still life left in the ‘Pirates’ franchise. Hit the jump for the full review.
‘On Stranger Tides’, inspired by the novel of the same name by Tim Powers, is the beginning of the newest chapter in the ‘Pirates’ franchise for Disney. Gore Verbinski is no longer at the helm of the series, and now the reigns belong to Rob Marshall, most famously known for the movie adaption of the Broadway musical ‘Chicago’. But thankfully for for fans, Marshall in great hands with returning screenwriters Terry Rossio and Ted Elliot, who have written the entire series of films up until this point, and returning cast members Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, and Kevin McNally, who keep the proceedings familiar. Many may be skeptical of the film after the last two outings, but I’m glad to say that ‘On Stranger Tides’ goes back to the core roots of what made the series popular in ‘Curse of the Black Pearl’, and may be the best sequel in the franchise. Gone are the convoluted plot lines involving back stabbing and betrayal. Instead we get a straight forward adventure filming with fleshed out characters, witty one liners, and fun story. It also features what may be my favorite scene in the movie series between Jack and Barbossa as they try to escape from their imprisonment from the Spanish armada. Barbossa, who now has a peg leg, untwists the peg to reveal if has a built in flask full of rum. Jack looks at him in shock and simply says “I want one of those.” It’s a great little exchange that shows why these two are the favorite characters of the series. Depp and Rush have great chemistry and prove to be more than enough to keep this series a float.
As for the blu-ray itself, Disney has put out a spectacular looking film. This is easily one of the finest blu-rays currently on the market. It’s incredibly impressive, and is definitely a great reference disc for home theater enthusiasts. And don’t count out the 7.1 audio mix that Disney has unleashed on the disc. It’s absolutely amazing and really gave my speakers a workout. During many of the action sequences, the walls of my apartment were shaking and vibrating the floor. This is a powerful mix, and Disney didn’t hold back. Home theater enthusiasts are going to love it! As far as special features go, this two disc set has a bare minimum to offer. There is a commentary with Rob Marshall and producer John DeLuca who talk about many of their stories from making the film, while they fawn over many of the actors’ performances. It’s not the most technical commentary, but it’s a lot of fun to listen to. It also features a five minute look at Lego Pirates of the Caribbean and a three minute blooper reel. If you aren’t interested in special features, this is definitely the set to go with, but if you’re looking for the movie and all its special features, pick up the five disc set.
“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” is an incredible fun film, and one of the best in the franchise. The blu-ray itself is a marvel and should really be in ever home theater enthusiast and fan’s collection. It will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray Tuesday, October 18. Be sure to pick up a copy!
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