Title: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Format: Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy

Directed by: Rob Marshall

Written by: Terry Rossio & Ted Elliott

Starring: Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush, Ian McShane, Kevin McNally

Studio: Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Walt Disney Pictures

Rating: ★★★★☆

Review by: Sarah Jones

If there was ever a pirate who could escape any situation, it would be Captain Jack Sparrow. Although he acts silly, Sparrow seems to stumble into the right situations at the right time to find the treasure or escape capture. However, this movie begins with Sparrow in custody by the English. Of course, he escapes and starts on his journey for the Fountain of Youth aboard Captain Blackbeard’s ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge.

As the new lovely lady in the Pirates’ world, Penelope Cruz features as Blackbeard’s daughter, Angelica, with whom Sparrow once had a romantic relationship with. To add more drama, Blackbeard and crew are not the only ones seeking the fountain. Barbossa, who makes a return from previous movies in the series, and the Spanish are both on the hunt for the fountain for their own reasons.

The movie looks just as fantastic as previous installments in the Pirates series in both 2D and 3D. The 3D looks great, with few gimmicky coming-at-you type shots. The few that are in the movie are worked in well and not obviously written in just for the sake of showing the movie in 3D.

The special features were well done and very informative about the process of making the movie. The “Legends of On Stranger Tides” feature takes a look at the making of the movie in such respects as scene building, costume design and shooting on location in Hawaii and England. “In Search of the Fountain” discusses and demonstrates the evolution that the design of the fountain went through as the movie was being filmed and produced. Because the mermaids are such a big part of the film, the feature “Under the Scene: Bringing the Mermaids to Life” delves into changes these characters underwent and how many people it took to make them look so realistic.

Other special features include bloopers, deleted and extended scenes with introductions by Rob Marshall and a collection of LEGO Animated Shorts which were used to promote the movie. The audio commentary that follows along the movie features the director and Executive Producer John DeLuca. They delve into many different aspects of the film from choosing actors, costume design, changing the season in which the movie takes place, and much more. Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush also have a feature where they discuss what goes into portraying their characters Jack Sparrow and Barbossa. And finally, Disney includes their Second Screen feature which allows the viewer to use an iPad or computer to get interactive content that corresponds to the movie.

Overall, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is not as fantastic as the first Pirates movie, but it is still pretty good. It was interesting seeing a new part of pirate lore brought to life, but it was a shame to be missing most of the pirate crew we are used to being entertained by. Although, it was still a fun movie to watch and is family friendly as well.

For more info, disney.go.com/pirates/

Pads & Panels received a copy of the Blu-ray courtesy of the studio for review purposes.