Review by John Delia

Being a huge fan of Pirates of the Caribbean I just couldn’t wait for the On Stranger Tides 3D Blu-ray and was not disappointed on its quality and content.  The 5-disc combo pack has everything in it for pure entertainment and the movie measures up to the theatrical version (except not on a huge screen theatrical screen).

I saw the theatrical release in digital 3D when it was released back in May of this year which became the most successful box-office entry of 2011 earning over a billion dollars worldwide.  So I was very wary of how they could translate all the action and 3D special effects, but I have to say they did it right.  With the 3D Blu-ray there are many great features and all under the control of the user.    With the right equipment the film becomes more personal.  Especially since you can rewind, pause for a break and speed up the action.  

On Stranger Tides entertains with comedy, suspense and a lot of cool action.  Whether you’ve seen the other three productions or just getting started, you’re in for a pirating thrill ride.

In this episode of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), we find him being duped into looking for the Fountain of Youth by his newest sidekick and heartthrob Angelica (Penelope Cruz).  It doesn’t take long for Sparrow to find trouble and when he steps on the deck of the ship of his most feared nemesis, Blackbeard (Ian McShane), his love life and dreams of a fortune start to spiral out of control.

Pirates’ 4, like its predecessors, has all the fun chase scenes that find Jack in the thick of things.  With the addition of Cruz as Angelica, daughter of the infamous Pirate Blackbeard, she challenges Sparrow’s actions at every turn.  Does he face up to his arch nemeses or turn away to protect the only woman he ever loved?  That’s the quandary we find in this installment.  The film has a lot of twists and turns, but in the end there’s always one more following the movie credits.

Rob Marshall does an adequate job of directing this installment bringing a lot of excitement to the screen.  Although he didn’t have the full talent pool that included the likes of Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly he still makes good use of the returning Geoffrey Rush (as Barbossa), Kevin McNally (as Gibbs) and even Keith Richards (as Jack’s father).  Throwing in some new faces like Ian McShane as Blackbeard, Sam Claflin as clergyman Phillip and a modest Astrid Berges-Frisbey as Syrena a mermaid we get some fresh newness.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action/adventure violence, some frightening images, sensuality and innuendo. The film was viewed in 3D Blu-ray for this review.

The 5-disc combo pack 3D Blu-ray has the 136-minute film in both 3D on one disc and the regular Blu-ray has the film and bonus features on two discs. Included in the package is the DVD for those who have not upgraded to Blu-ray and a 5th disc digital copy to take with you for your laptop or download to your favorite roaming device.

The special features added to the package are very good including the cover that pops out in 3D.

The special bonuses are pretty wicked with some of the most beautifully filmed extras that are in itself a feature. On your bonus features Blu-ray disc you will find the special package of behind the scenes that show the making of several high points in the movie.  The Legends of On Strange Tides takes you to the beaches where most of the filming took place, and then it’s off to LA where, with the use of Universal Pictures back lot tank, the making of the mermaid scene is created.  Off again to London this time where at the 007 building, the crew creates a Fountain of Youth set where Jack Sparrow and Blackbeard duel to the death.

Click to the next bonus on the disc and you are in the midst of Last Sail First Voyage where you get to see how Queen Anne’s Revenge is created from The Black Pearl.  See how it all goes together and sails over 2000 miles to Hawaii for the shooting.

Click again and you are treated to the making of the mermaid scene with three different sets of swimmers who are the basis of the screenshots that make up one of the most amazing scenes in the film, accomplished by using models for the close-ups, Olympic swimmers for the special underwater scenes and stunt swimmers for the fight with the pirates.  All brilliantly shot in HD showing the crew working to get the perfect picture.

The deleted and extended scenes are introduced by Director Rob Marshall, Jerry Bruckheimer and Johnny Depp explaining why they were not used or in some cases shortened.  Most of the cuts were of no consequence to the film, but I sure wish they had left the tango scene untouched.

There are other features including Johnny vs. Geoffrey and a feature involving a segment that was a perfect replica of one of the stops on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. California. On disc 4 of the combo you will find the bonuses Bloopers of the Caribbean and Lego Animated Shorts: Captain Jack’s Brick Tales.

This package also has the Disney Second Screen Technology feature that allows customers to download the new Disney Second Screen App onto their computer or iPad and synch it with the film. They will have the power to engage in the story like never before, enjoying interactive extras depending on the film such as galleries, photos, trivia, and much more!

The technical aspects of the film include
Presentation: Blu-ray 3D & Blu-ray 1080p High Definition 2.40:1
DVD: Widescreen 2.40:1 – Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions
Audio/Language: Blu-ray 3D & Blu-ray 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)
DVD: English, French, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: Blu-ray 3D & Blu-ray English SDH, French, Spanish
DVD: English SDH, French Spanish

For additional specs see packaging.  


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