Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: On Stranger Tides is Out to Sea

Plus, Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris is a charmer.

by | May 20, 2011 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got the hotly-anticipated fourth journey of Capt. Jack Sparrow — Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, starring Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz. What do the critics have to say?

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides


When Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl hit theaters in 2003, it was a delightful surprise — Johnny Depp charmed nearly everyone with his Keith Richards-meets-Buster Keaton performance as the lovable, roguish Capt. Jack Sparrow, and the whole enterprise was much smarter — and more exciting – than any movie based upon an amusement park ride had a right to be. What was once fresh, however, has now become pretty stale; critics say the third Pirates sequel, On Stranger Tides, has moments of inspiration, but mostly it just feels mechanical, overdosing on big effects without generating much excitement in the process. This time out, Sparrow is in search of the mythical Fountain of Youth. He commandeers the ship of the legendary Blackbeard (Ian McShane) and joins forces with the mysterious, possibly villainous Angelica (Penélope Cruz). The pundits say that while On Stranger Tides is well-acted and shows flashes of the vaudevillian swashbuckling that made the franchise a pop-culture staple, it mostly does exactly what you expect, but without the brisk pacing and panache of yore. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s best-reviewed movies.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Louder Than A Bomb, a documentary about a group of high school students competing in a poetry slam competition, is at 100 percent.

  • Life 2.0, a doc about the strange lives of Second Life players, is at 100 percent.

  • Woody Allen‘s Midnight in Paris, starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams in a comedy/fantasy about a writer who finds himself transported to Jazz Age Paris, is at 87 percent.

  • Cost of a Soul, a drama about an Iraq war vet who returns home to a dangerous neighborhood, is at 33 percent.

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