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Pirates of the Caribbean 4 – On Stranger Tides

Good – All of the characters were a lot of fun. Johnny Depp still has Cap’n Jack nailed. The stories for Pirates continue to be ambitious and brain-challenging, with a lot of twists. The addition of voodoo and ships that sail themselves continue to expand the envelope of the Pirates universe. Penelope Cruz was great as Angelica, and Ian McShane was super awesome as the incredibly-evil-but-fully-aware-of-it Blackbeard.  This could’ve been a sequel that sat on its laurels but it was obvious they tried to do something new.

Bad – The characters and concepts were interesting, but there was way too much going on. Jack hired by King George? Barbossa losing his leg and the Black Pearl at sea and turning Privateer / land-owner? A voodoo pirate with a zombie crew with a ship that spits hellfire and controls the wind? A preacher that falls in love with a mermaid who seems reluctant to eat people? A girl from Jack’s past that knows his sword-fighting style well enough to impersonate him? The Pirate Lords abandoning the sea because of the scourge of the afore-mentioned voodoo pirate? Inquisition-ish Spanish armadas fighting for faith instead of for treasure? That’s all in there, but it seemed like a whole trilogy of ideas in one movie, made worse by the fact the first twenty-minutes+ is a very long caper / chase scene that really only features Jack and Gibbs.

The ugly: There is some distinctively non-ugly stuff in this movie, such as the mermaids and the lovely Angelica, but I do have to mention Barbossa’s intentionally hideous makeover.

The random: Most of the movie ended up having a large random factor due to the fact that there were so many characters and so little was explained. The Preacher and the Mermaid was a really interesting sub-plot that was nontheless completely random, since we really don’t know anything about the characters or why they’re fighting Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush for screen time.

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