Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides once again pulls from a strong talent pool. Johnny Depp returns as Captain Jack Sparrow, Keith Richards makes a brief "Dad" appearance, Geoffrrey Rush dons Barbossa's costume once more and debuting in the series by Walt Disney is Penelope Cruz as love interest Angelica.
The fourth in the series, this effort goes to the top just below the original in quality, enjoyment, and ability to draw the audience into the story. With its street scenes of on-fire wagons, sword fights aplenty and one-liners glibly tossed about, this action film is worthy of a sack of pirate's gold.
Directed by Rob Marshall, the person-to-person interaction is back and the fun continues in a can-he-get-out-of-this-mess style that is Sparrow. Richards excels at what he does best...be himself, adding an extra layer of quirky to the Sparrow clan.
Particularly strong is the connection between Cruz and Depp as they banter about past love injuries (theirs) and the lack of trust between the two. Depp stays consistent with his self-created character and Cruz brings a feisty edge replacing the female factor lost with the exit of Keira Knightley.
Add in Ian McShane as Blackbeard, the meanest pirate around, and the plot thickens.
With the admission that she is Blackbeard's daughter, Angelica confuses the quirky Sparrow who met her while she was in a convent many years prior and leaving her with a broken heart.
Hell hath no fury like a pirate's daughter scorned.
Except maybe ticked off mermaids. And there are plenty of those, too. With the Fountain of Youth as the prized treasure, pirates fight their way past mermaids, Spaniards and members of royalty to obtain the life-lengthening liquid first.
Bottom Line: Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides stays true to its action-packed, non-scary lineage pleasing adults and kids alike with its frolicking romp along beaches, through underground caverns and aboard pirate ships.
Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, music, restaurant and performing arts critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC and follow her on Twitter @ejmusgrave1 and Facebook.
Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.