Blu-ray Review: PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 4 is the best film of the franchise

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides arrives on Blu-ray 3D & Blu-ray Hi-Def Combo Pack on Tuesday. I saw the movie over the summer and have now gotten a chance to review it on Blu-ray. I enjoyed it in theaters and have enjoyed it as much on a second viewing at home. The fourth installment doesn’t have a strong connection with the first three films aside from some of the primary characters. Despite that, I consider this to be the best film of the franchise so far.

On Stranger Tides follows Captain Jack Sparrow as he goes on a adventure to find the fountain of youth. I felt as though I was returned to my youth while watching this because I felt like I was watching a movie with a classic feel, similar to Raiders of the Lost Ark or Goonies. I like the story because it got right into the action and maintained my attention from start to finish. What made it even better is that it was not over-bloated with special effects. The scenes with the mermaids, zombies and at the Fountain of Youth have the perfect blend of effects and practical sets.

No one could ever play Captain Jack as good as Johnny Depp does. These movies would sink without his involvement. It never feels like he is phoning his performance and adds so much to every scene. The supporting cast of the film is great, especially Geoffrey Rush and Ian McShane as Blackbeard were both great. McShane was ominous and imposing, and he felt right at home on screen in this universe. I was worried when I heard Penelope Cruz was to join the cast, and her performance solidified my concern. She is a solid actress yet, this is not the type of film that is best suited to her in my opinion. I don’t think her character brought anything new that was needed in the story.

In her place I would have loved to see more story devoted to Sam Claflin’s character Phillip and the love aspect of the mermaid. First, that would bring in more of the mermaid mythos and then would add a nice touch of love and romance to the story. As it stands, the characters were almost a waste of space and story time.

There are a number of cool action sequences in the film, but my favorite was when Sparrow and the rest of the pirates attempted to capture a mermaid as a key to turning on the fountain of youth. The mermaids were truly awesome in this movie, I wish that scene had lasted a lot longer. Not only were they beautiful, they were also bad-ass and a bit scary. The addition of Blackbeard’s zombie crew and the cool ship that was actually alive.

The picture and sound quality of every Disney Blu-ray disc is superb The film is presented in 1080p High Definition at a 2.40:1 aspect ration. The stereo is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD MA (48kHz/24-bit), English 2.0 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 DVS Dolby Digital, French, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital (3D Blu-ray), French, Spanish 7.1 DTS0HD HR (Blu-ray).

Here is a breakdown of the bonus features on the disc I received:
2-Disc Combo Pack (1-Disc Blu-ray™ + 1-Disc DVD)
SRP = $39.99 U.S./$46.99 Canada
• Disney Second Screen
• Bloopers of the Caribbean
• Audio Commentary by director Rob Marshall
• LEGO Animated Shorts: Captain Jack’s Brick Tales

I personally think that this is a pretty lacking amount of bonus features for a disc of this type. It was cool to see the bloopers even though it was short. I was looking forward to the LEGO Animated Short, but they also basically rehashed the films cool scenes. Be sure to watch this after you have seen the movie if you have not yet. The commentary was pretty cool by Marshall, but it would have been even better if McShane, Rush or Depp had been able to join in.

To get more you basically have to get the limited edition version, which comes with a slew of extra features:
• Legends of On Stranger Tides
• In Search of the Fountain
• Last Sail/First Voyage
• Under the Scene: Bringing Mermaids to Life
• Deleted and Extended Scenes with Intros by director Rob Marshall

In Conclusion:

This is a perfect addition to any fans home collection. If you have not seen this yet I recommend you take a chance and see it when it’s released next Tuesday. The strong performances by Depp, Rush and McShane coupled with the family-friendly action and adventure make this a perfect film to watch for the full family.

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