After the marathon running time and overstuffed plots of 2007's At World's End, you might wonder what's left to cram into the fourth movie of this swashbuckling franchise. How about mermaids, zombies, 3-D, and Penélope Cruz?
The story this time has to do with the Fountain of Youth and all the different pirates, including Captain Jack Sparrow and Blackbeard (played by series newcomer Ian McShane), looking for it.
Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush return, but Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley are gone. So is director Gore Verbinski, replaced by Chicago's Rob Marshall, who steers the slow-moving On Stranger Tides into darker and calmer waters than its predecessor. Maybe it's time for Captain Jack to bring his ship to shore. --Michael Gallucci