DVD Release Date: October 18, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: May 20, 2011
Rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of action/adventure violence, some frightening images, sensuality and innuendo)
Genre: Action-Adventure, Comedy, Sequel
Run Time: 137 min.
Director: Rob Marshall
Actors: Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush, Ian McShane, Kevin McNally, Sam Claflin, Keith Richards, Judi Dench

Beware, movie fans: Sometimes you get exactly what you wish for…

Without a doubt, the second and third installments in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise were loud, overstuffed and didn’t even make a twitch of sense. But after sitting through what’s easily the dullest movie starring the wacky Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp, Rango), suddenly more straightforward storytelling seems completely overrated.

If anything, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides should’ve taken a few cues from its predecessors and leaned a little more heavily on the “strange.” After all, it’s sad seeing Jack all dressed up in his pirate garb, eyeliner, dreads, ruffly blouse and all, and basically having nothing to do after the opening scene.

Speaking of which, the first 15 minutes are easily the film’s most inspired and all-too-briefly hint at what could’ve been a successful reboot. With the increasingly dull Will Turner (Orlando Bloom, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End) and Elizabeth Swan (Keira Knightley, Never Let Me Go) out of the picture and a new director with a stylish pedigree to boot (Rob Marshall, Nine), these pirates seemed poised for many more exciting adventures at sea. Trouble is, the journey to the Fountain of Youth (yes, no further plot description is required) just isn’t that much fun.

Clocking in at two hours and 17 minutes, On Stranger Tides may be the shortest Pirates film, but it still feels much, much too long. Not only is the addition of Penélope Cruz (Sex and the City 2) as Jack’s nemesis/love interest a complete bust, especially in the important they-should-have-chemistry department, but poor Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech) who plays Barbossa has been practically relegated to mere comic relief, thanks to having a prosthetic leg that also moonlights as a rum flask.