I have to say, I liked Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. In fact, I liked it a lot. I Thought it was much better than the second and third, and just a good time at the movies. Between the action, the music, and the cast, I just couldn't help but have a smile on my face during the movie. Going back to the basics, to me, was the best thing they did for the series, and may have saved it.
Jack Sparrow is on a journey to find the Fountain of Youth. Problem is, so is everyone else, and they all want Jack. Everyone from a Captain Jack impersinator to the British government wants the infamous pirates help to find the Fountain. Some to beat the Spanish from getting there first, and others for personal gain. But all is not as it seems and getting to the fountain won't be that easy for Jack. There be magic, mermaids, zombies, an ex love interest, and the infamous Blackbeard around each turn. Poor Jack can't seem to catch a break.
Scaling down the story and the characters to focus on one story and the characters worked much better for me. For me, Jack and Barbossa are the characters that make the movies, so to have both of them back was more then enough for me to be happy. But the standout to me was Ian McShane as Blackbeard. He was so, so good as the world's most feared and infamous pirate, and may rival Barbossa for my favorite Pirates baddie. Penelope Cruz was also good as Jack's ex flame, Angelica. She play's very well of Depp, and has since Blow, so I'm glad to see her playing off Depp once more. And of course, Keith Richard's returns as Captain Teague for a scene at the beginning of the movie. I honestly wish he had been in it more.
Rob Marshall did a good job keeping the look and tone of the movie the same as the previous three. The direction is actually rather well done, and some of the way it was shot actually looks to be in Gore's style, helping the transition of the directors feel smoother. There were a lot of funny moments for me, and some nice throwbacks to the last three, while moving forward into new territory for the series. The idea of Blackbeard being something of a dark arts and magic user actually works very well. I also liked how he would turn people into zombies for his own gain and control his crew. It added a little bit more dread to his character that I liked. The one thing I like is the plot is straight forward and not convuluted like the last two. It's nice to have a straight forward adventure movie where everyone isn't backstabbing everyone. For me, it may have saved the series, even if I am a fan of the third.
One thing I really liked was the use of mermaids. They were beautiful, exotic, and down right terrifying. That may be one of the best staged scenes in the whole movie. Very well done, and I will never see mermaids the same way again. Hans Zimmer's score once again is just excellent, and I'm glad to see his continued work on the series. He's a great composer, and I always enjoy his scores.
I'm not usually a 3D person either, but I loved the 3D in this movie. Is it neccessary? No. But if your curious to check it out in 3D, you won't be wasting your money because it's done very well.
Honestly, I just really enjoyed the movie. It's not the best of the series, but it's not the worst and far from the train wreck that some people are saying. It was a lot of fun, and I look forward to the fifth movie.