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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Pirates vs. Mermaids?
by Betty Jo Tucker

In a fight between pirates and mermaids, who would you pick to win? Watching Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides might change your mind. One of the most exciting sequences in this popular franchise features a spectacular pirates/mermaid clash that makes the fourth offering something special.  ďI think about mermaids in a completely different way now,Ē my husband declared upon leaving the multiplex. I have to agree with him. These creatures are a far cry from The Little Mermaid, for sure.

Whoever thought mermaids could upstage Johnny Deppís Captain Jack Sparrow? Still, I continue to be in awe of Deppís performance as this iconic film character. In On Stranger Tides, Sparrow fascinated me almost as much as in the first Pirates adventure. In fact, Depp seems to be having the most fun ever playing the roguish, eccentric pirate here. How I love to see Sparrow show off those long dreadlocks, gold teeth, and woozy voice as he sashays around trying to trick everyone into doing his bidding!

Full disclosure requires me to admit Iím not a bit objective where Depp is concerned. His amusing and mischievous Jack Sparrow is one of my all-time favorite movie characters. Thatís probably why my main complaint about the three previous installments involves Sparrow not being on screen in every scene. On Stranger Tides comes closest to granting my wish.                

This time, Sparrow meets up with Angelica, a feisty woman from his past (Penelope Cruz), who just might be a ruthless con artist only interested in using him to help her father find the Fountain of Youth. After Angelica forces Sparrow aboard the dreaded Blackbeardís (Deadwoodís Ian McShane) ship, our unkempt hero must plan a way to use the ship to his advantage. But alas, mateys! Other parties -- including Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush again) -- have also heard about Ponce de Leonís important discovery, which requires two chalices and a mermaidís tear to work its miracle.

Who will reach the Fountain of Youth first? How difficult will it be to capture a mermaidís (the soulful Astrid Berges-Frisbey) teardrop? What are Jack Sparrowís real feelings toward Angelica, and vice versa? Finding out the answers to these questions may take us through a tangled tale at times, but itís a generally entertaining one.   

Although the dialogue spoken by Rush and Cruz could have used sub-titles, that didnít spoil On Stranger Tides for me. This Pirates of the Caribbean adventure -- complete with lots of exciting sword-fights, fast action, daring stunts (reminiscent of Douglas Fairbanks Jr./Errol Flynn flicks) and humorous dialogue -- offers fans like me another rollicking good time at the movies.   

NOTE:  I saw the 2D version. After suffering through Thor in 3D, Iíve learned my lesson. Only 2D for me from now on.

(Released by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and rated ďPG-13Ē for pirate violence, scary images, and suggestive humor.)

For more information about this film, go to the Internet Movie Data Base or Rotten Tomatoes website.

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