The thought of another Pirates of the Caribbean film left us feeling a little aargh. However, even in a sea of summer blockbusters, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides went on to gross a whopping $1 billion worldwide. Apparently, someone knows what they are doing.
Apparently that someone is Johnny Depp. The actor returns a fourth time to fill the boots of Captain Jack Sparrow, and it seems as though he didn’t really need Orlando Bloom or Keira Knightley. Better writers? Well maybe.
Instead, he gets the lovely Penelope Cruz as a former lover and current daughter to another infamous pirate, Blackbeard (Deadwood‘s Ian McShane). The entire crew is in search of the Fountain of Youth. It’s a perfect fit for this aging franchise.
That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a good movie. Depp certainly makes for a good pirate, though. After all, he led Disney to the treasure with this film. That said, at 136 minutes, it’s a little on the long side.
Besides the new cast members, this is the first Pirates film to get a 3D release. Not to worry, me hearties; this is one good-looking film. The film was actually shot in 3D and it’s one of the better live-action 3D films we’ve seen. There is some wonderful depth throughout the movie. Even better, it doesn’t detract from the film’s expensive imagery. Still, if you don’t have comfortable 3D glasses, you may prefer to walk the plank than sit through the aforementioned runtime. Of course, you could also opt for the included 2D version of the film.
Disney didn’t skimp on the audio, either. Really, they never do, so it’s not all that surprising that they’ve given this adventure a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track. It’s a stellar one, too, with an insane amount going on in the surrounds. That’s not to make it sound confusing, but you shouldn’t expect to miss one mermaid, one creak, one flap or one word of dialog. It’s a wonderful track from start to finish.
In true Disney fashion, this combo pack includes both 3D and 2D versions of the Blu-ray, as well as a DVD. It’s also got the Digital Copy disc, which is an exclusive to this set—unless you’re willing to flip for the 15-disc Pirates of the Caribbean Four-Movie Collection. Besides that Digital Copy, this set offers up an awful lot of extra booty, including commentary, bloopers, and outtakes, as well as multiple featurettes, LEGO shorts, a piece on the film’s production, and a fun little piece titled, “Johnny vs. Geoffrey.”
Was this trip really necessary? Disney really didn’t need to venture out with the Pirates crew for a fourth adventure. That said, you have to hand it to them. Did you ever think we’d be reviewing the merits of a movie based on a theme park ride—let alone the fourth movie based on a theme park ride? If you’re already three-deep into the series, you may as well hang in for another adventure. At the very least, this Blu-ray 3D offers a stellar audio/video experience, in both 2D and 3D.
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Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at www.rachelcericola.com.