Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)

pirates of the caribbean on stranger tides poster 2011 movie
4.0 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 8/10

New direction, mermaids

Dull and long

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Pirates of the Caribbean:  On Stranger Tides

Studio:  Walt Disney Pictures

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  May 18, 2011 (UK)/May 20, 2011 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


Depp is here to judge you!

King George II (Richard Griffiths) is out find the Fountain of Youth before the Spanish and has hired Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) to do it.  Barbossa is in competition with the dreaded Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp).  Jack learns from his father (Keith Richards) that he’s being impersonated and Jack uncovers Blackbeard (Ian McShane) and his daughter Angelica (Penélope Cruz) are after the Fountain of Youth as well.  The race for the Fountain of Youth is on and the quest to unlock its power could be just as hard as finding it.

Directed by Rob Marshall, Pirates of the Caribbean:  On Stranger Tides and is loosely based on the 1987 novel On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers (which also provided inspiration for the video game classic Secret of Monkey Island from 1990).  The movie follows Pirates of the Caribbean:  At World’s End from 2007 and was met with average reviews but strong box-office results.


Jack’s sure in love with himself

I have felt the Pirates of Caribbean series have high and low points.  Though I felt, Pirates of the Caribbean:  At World’s End was almost dull and the franchise needed a new boost if it were to continue, Pirates of the Caribbean:  On Stranger Tides was a new direction with the loss of much of the supporting cast, but the movie just flounders.

The first Pirates of the Caribbean was a lot like Star Wars in that it was meant as a stand-alone with room to expand if it did well.  This led to the second and third films of the series which rounded out the “original trilogy”.  This movie is trying to do an “Episode I” and introduce new characters, but the story and characters were overloads…and the charm of Jack Sparrow is wearing extremely thin.


Pick your poison

Depp wowed in the first film by taking a dumb role and making it great, but I’m over Jack here.  Depp still adds weirdness to the role but it feels more like Nicolas Cage here who often seems out of place.  Knightley and Bloom were kind of dead weight in the second and third films so Penélope Cruz was a nice edition but the plot doesn’t help her much in addition to Ian McShane as Blackbeard.  Geoffrey Rush is always good as Barbossa, but the Philip (Sam Claflin) and the mermaid Syrena (Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey) is underdeveloped when surrounded by all the other characters.  It is also nice to see both Judi Dench and Richard Griffiths in small roles plus the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards stops by playing Sparrow’s father (he also appeared in the last film)—Richards served Depp’s inspiration for Sparrow.


Mermaids are hot…if they aren’t killing you

Visually, the movie remains strong.  I think the idea of mermaids in their traditional sense (wooing sailors to their deaths) is kind of cool and the movie did a good job making them scary.  The Fountain of Youth is the big goal of the movie and it doesn’t quite live up the grand expectations, but it is built up too much to live up to anyone’s vision of it…they should have pulled something like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’s Holy Grail.

Pirates of the Caribbean:  On Stranger Tide just isn’t much fun.  The series really just drags and drags.  I think by this point even fans of the series are questioning if it is worth continuing, but the movie was a success and Pirates of the Caribbean will go on.  Pirates of the Caribbean:  On Stranger Tides is followed by Pirates of the Caribbean:  Dead Men Tell No Tales in 2017.

Related Links:

Pirates of the Caribbean:  The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

Pirates of the Caribbean:  Dead Man’s Chest (2006)

Pirates of the Caribbean:  At World’s End (2007)

Lego Pirates of the Caribbean:  The Video Game

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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