Disney keeps sailing with the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, sans-Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, but the end result does little to change some of the underlying problems to the second and third installments. While the movie manages to keep from dipping into the levels of absurdity of the third film, On Stranger Tides lacks any real energy, excitement, character focus, or for that matter, character development. Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) returns in classic Jack Sparrow action. His comedic beats still work as Jack embarks on an adventure to find the Fountain of Youth, where he runs into an old flame, Angelina (Penelope Cruz), who just so happens to be the daughter of the villainous pirate, Blackbeard (Ian McShane). As it is, this movie does not drown, but it barely stays afloat as the old characters do not go anywhere new, and the new characters are not given enough to do in the story. The potential in the relationship between Jack and Angelina was lost somewhere in the middle of the movie as we were supposed to start caring for these two new characters, a missionary and a mermaid, who just so happen to fall head over heels in love with just a few soap operaish looks to one another (I know, tough to believe). Series stalwarts, Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush (Captan Barbossa from the first three) phone in their performances, while Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane look as if they had fun, and I guess that is what counts. Some of the action sequences are enjoyable to watch, in particular the spectacular mermaid attack sequence, but without strong sense of character, much of the action lacks excitement, thus it is hard to care anymore.
I give Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides an F!