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Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – 2-Disc Combo Pack (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

October 10, 2011 by  



“The Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” continues the fun adventures of Jack Sparrow and as expected, wonderful visuals, plenty of action and beautiful cinematography and music.  But for those wanting to purchase this film on Blu-ray, it’s important to note that the majority of the special features are included on the 5-disc version of “On Stranger Tides” as opposed to the 2-Disc version. 

Images courtesy of © 2011 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – 2-Disc Combo Pack

FILM RELEASE: 2011

DURATION: 136 minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:40:1), English, French and Spanish 7.1 DTS-HD HR, English DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

COMPANY: Walt Disney Home Entertainment

RATED: PG-13 (Some Intense Sequences of Action/Adventure Violence, Some Frightening Images, Sensuality and Innuendo)

Release Date: October 11, 2011

Directed by Rob Marshall

Screenplay by Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio

Characters by Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Stuart Beattie and Jay Wolpert

Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer

Executive Producer: John DeLuca, Ted Elliott, Chad Oman, Melissa Reid, Terry Rossio, Pat Sandston, Mike Stenson, Barry H. Waldman

Music by Hans Zimmer

Cinematography by Dariusz Wolski

Edited by David Brenner, Michael Kahn, Wyatt Smith

Casting by Lucy Bevan, Kathy Driscoll, Francine Maisler

Production Design by John Myre

Art Direction by Drew Boughton, John Chichester, Robert Cowper, Zack Grobler, Tomas Voth

Set Decoration by Gordon Sim

Costume Design by Penny Rose

Starring:

Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow

Penelope Cruz as Angelica Teach

Geoffrey Rush as Barbossa

Ian McShane as Blackbeard

Kevin McNally as Joshamee Gibbs

Sam Claflin as Philip

Astrid Berges-Frisbey as Svrena

Stephen Graham as Scrum

Keith Richards as Captain Teague

Richard Griffiths as ing George

Greg Ellis as Groves

Damian O’Hare as Gillette

From Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer comes all the fun, epic adventure and humor that ignited the original. Johnny Depp returns as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. A tale of truth, betrayal, youth, demise — and mermaids! When Jack crosses paths with a woman from his past (Penélope Cruz), he’s not sure if it’s love or if she’s a ruthless con artist using him to find the fabled Fountain of Youth. Forced aboard the ship of the most feared pirate ever, Jack doesn’t know who to fear more —Blackbeard (Ian McShane) or the woman from his past. Directed by Rob Marshall, it’s filled with eye-popping battle scenes, mystery and all-out wit.


If there is one thing that is consistent with “Pirates of the Caribbean”, you know that this film will make a ton of money in the box office.

And while many thought that the “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” was finished with the third film in the trilogy, “At World’s End” would be the last we would see of Jack Sparrow.  But the truth is, that no matter how film critics have shown their declining interest in the film, the audience have not.

And with the release of the fourth film “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”, once again, the audience have shown their love for this film as it became the 8th highest grossing film of all time (worldwide), the third highest grossing film of 2011 and following “Dead Man’s Chest” and “Toy Story 3”, the third highest grossing film for Disney.  The film  which cost anywhere between $150-$250 million to make, earned over $1 billion in the box office.

And now “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” makes its debut on Blu-ray and DVD for the very first time in Oct. 2011 courtesy of Walt Disney Home Entertainment.

The fourth installment, “On Stranger Tides” begins with a man being found in the sea  by the Spanish who knows about the “Fountain of Youth”.  Immediately, the Spanish make their trip to locate the “Fountain of Youth”, while the British have arrested Jack Sparrow (played by Johnny Depp) and brings the pirate before King George II (played by Richard Griffiths). There are rumors that Jack Sparrow is recruiting men to search for the Fountain of Youth, but it appears it is someone else who is using his name that is recruiting people, not the real Jack Sparrow.

King George wants Jack Sparrow to help the British find the Fountain of Youth but heading the expedition is Jack’s nemesis, Captain Hector Barbosa (played by Geoffrey Rush, who was the antagonist of the first film, “The Curse of the Black Pearl”).  Barbosa is now a privateer working for the British Navy after losing his leg and his ship, the Black Pearl (which Jack lost in the last film “At World’s End”).

But Jack refuses to work under Barbosa and escapes from British custody.  While he is chased around by the British, he is saved by his father Captain Teague (played by Keith Richards) who warns Jack and tells him about the tests that are needed in order for the Fountain of Youth to work.

Meanwhile, Jack encounter the person responsible for impersonating him, it’s his old girlfriend Angelica (played by Penelope Cruz) who happens to be the daughter of the ruthless pirate Blackbeard (played by Ian McShane), a legendary pirate known for his supernatural powers and to sue voodoo magic.

Angelica meanwhile has captured Jack and he is stuck on Blackbeard’s ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge and Blackbeard expects Jack Sparrow to use his knowledge and help them find the two silver chalices (which once belonged to Juan Ponce de Leon) that are needed to activate the Fountain of Youth, but also needed is a tear from a living mermaid.  How it works is that one must be a sacrifice and drink one chalice, while that person’s life is transferred to the drinker of the mermaid’s tear, extending their life.

So, now it’s a race against time as the Spanish, Blackbeard along with Jack Sparrow and the British under Captain Barbosa try to get their hands on the chalices to activate the fountain of youth.  Who will succeed?

VIDEO:

“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1).  And as one can expect from Disney, the picture quality is fantastic.  The majority of the film is shot outdoors, at sea or during day or night and for the most part, detail is high, skin tones are natural and blacks are deep and inky.

And once again, cinematographer Dariusz Wolski should receive credit for his spectacular cinematography, from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films to “Alice in Wonderland”, Wolski is an expert in shooting in the darkest of scenes, underwater, in smoke and chaotic sequences and there is no artifacts, banding or any problematic situations in the picture quality at all.

Overall, “On Stranger Tides” is a fantastic looking film and looks absolutely wonderful on Blu-ray!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

What best than to present this film with a lossless English, French and Spanish 7.1 DTS-HD HR presentation.  The surround channels are heavily used in Hans Zimmer’s wonderful score to the swordfights, the sound of boots walking on the deck, the sound of blasts, the growl of the mermaids and scenery ambiance, and throughout all this immersive sound, dialogue is crystal clear and understandable.

The LFE for the film is wonderful and like the wonderful picture quality of the film, the lossless audio soundtrack is also fantastic!

Subtitles are presented in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES

“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” comes with the following special features:

  • Disney Second Screen – Viewers can watch the film simultaneously through their iPad or computer.
  • Disney Second Screen Bloopers of the Caribbean – (3:25) Outtakes rom the making of “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”.
  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by director Rob Marshall and executive producer John DeLuca discuss the cast members, the making of the film and its challenges during production and more.
  • LEGO Animated Shorts: Captain Jack’s Brick Tales – (5:19) Featuring five Lego animated shorts for “Captain Jack’s Brick Tales”.
EXTRAS:
“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” comes with a slip cover case. The Blu-ray release comes with the DVD presented in widescreen 2:40:1 – Enhanced for 16×9 televisions, English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital and subtitles in English SDH, French and Spanish.

When it comes to popcorn action films “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” manages to incorporate the fun, swashbuckling action of Jack Sparrow and Johnny Depp does a wonderful job of playing Jack Sparrow.  But one’s enjoyment is subjective, especially whether or not you have felt that your passion for the film series is starting to wane a bit.

After the third “Pirates of the Caribbean” film, I have to say that “At World’s End” left me feeling bitter because it was not a great film to end the trilogy.  But because these films make a tremendous amount of money, there is no way that we are going to see an end to this film series.  In fact, a fifth film is being planned and Johnny Depp is returning, so as long as the audience continues to come out to see the films, I don’t see why Disney should stop.  People still love “Pirates of the Caribbean”.

Personally, I enjoyed the film but unlike previous “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, it felt a bit light when it came to Jack Sparrow because there is so much emphasis on other characters.  In fact, I found myself enjoying scenes with the Christian Philip  (played by Sam Claflin)and the mermaid Syrena (played by Astrid Berges-Frisbey), which for me was the replacement characters for Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann (Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley’s characters for the previous films).  But unfortunately, where Turner and Swann had staying power for three films, not sure if we are going to see Philip or Syrena ever again.

While “On Stranger Tides” continues to be a fun, adventurous popcorn action film, I did enjoy seeing Penelope Cruz playing the character of Angelica Teach, a compassionate/cutthroat ex-lover of Jack Sparrow and Ian McShane as the legendary dark pirate Blackbeard was quite fun to watch as well.  And seeing Barbosa, it was no surprise to see his return to the film as well.

But “On Stranger Tides” tries to showcase many other characters as well and truth be told, aside from Gibbs who has a place in the PotC films, everyone else didn’t.  For example, in the first film, there was a sympathetic feeling towards Sparrow and his crew, but this time around, you really had no sympathy for anyone’s crew.  If anything, you just wondered when will Jack Sparrow be back on his ship instead of being Indiana Jones/Blackbeard’s grunt.  This is one side of Jack Sparrow that we have not seen in previous films and I’m not sure if I like him in such a non-commanding role.

But however one feels about “On Stranger Tides”, similar to films like “Transformers”, these are popcorn action films that people come to see and have a good time, not for anything deep or mind-blowing.  You get action and a ton of special effects and in that sense, “On Stranger Tides” does not disappoint.

But when it comes to this Blu-ray release, one thing that does disappoint is the fact that we are getting far less than the five disc version when it comes to special features.  Picture and lossless audio is fantastic but I was surprised to see only three special features including the audio commentary included with this release.  But it appears that Disney really is pushing for the 3D 5-disc version which has nine special features over its 2-disc counterpart which has only three minus the second screen.

Overall, “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” is a fun film and from the crew fight on the Queen Anne’s Revenge, Jack Sparrow’s escape from British custody to the encounter with the mermaids, there are many fun action scenes in this film.  But in terms of story, I still prefer the first original film, but there is no doubt that the visuals and overall production design is much improved in this latest film.

If you are a fan of the series and own the trilogy on Blu-ray, or you are just a big fan of the film or its talent, you’re definitely going to want this film in your collection.   But if you are wanting the best version of this film released on Blu-ray, you may want to look into the 5-disc version over this 2-disc combo pack as Disney chose to include most of the bonus features on the 5-disc release.

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