- Jul 3, 1997
- Real Name
- Ronald Epstein
What can I say? I love 3D! From the moment I began watching 3D content in my home I quickly discovered that I needed more content. I suspect that those of you just purchasing your first 3D hardware will acquire the same ferocious appetite. That's why I became the HTF 3D ADDICT. I personally love images that pop off the screen and come inches away from your face without becoming overly gimmicky. However, I certainly appreciate the nature documentaries that offer beautiful depth and separation. These are not necessarily reviews of the film themselves. I am not going to concentrate on story or supplements -- you can find the 2D reviews elsewhere on this forum. My job is to let you know exactly what kind of 3D experience to expect from the titles that are being released. As I will be receiving a handful of new product from the studios expect to see more title coverage.
Pirates of the Caribbean
On Stranger Tides
Studio: Walt Disney
Product Release: October 18, 2011
Audio: 7.1 DTS-HD MA; French, Spanish & Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital
Running Time: 136 Minutes
ON A SCALE 0-5
Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 2
3D Separation: 2
3D In Yo' Face Factor: 1
Right up front, I have to make an admission: This is a rather
difficult review to write. You see, I was never a fan of the
Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. While I certainly have
enjoyed its big-budgeted swashbuckling adventures of pirates
and treasure hunting -- I still have not come to terms with
Johnny Depp's portrayal of Jack Sparrow. I find nothing
charming nor funny about this buffoon of a character who
basically spends the entire film mumbling through dialogue
to the point where he is basically incoherent.
Of course, my opinion of the Jack Sparrow character will not
be a popular one. The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has
been a huge success for Disney, with this fourth installment
grossing $2.7 billion worldwide. Not bad for a film series
based on a theme park ride. Unfortunately, Disney continues
to capitalize on a franchise that ran out of steam long after
the first two installments.
In Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides we find Captain
Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and his arch-rival Hector Barbossa
(Geoffrey Rush) in competition to find the lost fountain of youth.
Along the way Sparrow gets caught up with the notorious
Blackbeard (Deadwood's Ian McShane) and his manipulative
daughter, Angelica (Penelope Cruz). Filled with enormous,
big-budgeted backdrop scenery, the action takes us through a
daring escape across the streets of London to a mutiny onboard
the Queen Anne's Revenge upon the high seas.
As with most of the Pirate films, the length of the movie seems
rather bloated, with lots of padding given to the film's action
sequences. Really, the only real highlight of this film happens
halfway through in a sequence involving a group of enchanting,
but vicious mermaids. It's enough to wake you from the blandness
that proceeds it, but unfortunately, the film struggles to regain
momentum moving forward. To make matters worse, Jack
Sparrow isn't the only character mumbling through his dialogue.
The actors speak with such thick accents that it was necessary
for me to turn on the subtitles to understand what was being spoken.
The 1080p transfer is outstanding, for the most part. Shot on
location in Hawaii and Puerto Rico, the gorgeous tropical locations
benefit from a detailed transfer that exploits its lush coloration.
Black levels are nice and deep, too. No artifacts to be found
anywhere. Unfortunately, most of the films cinematography is
hampered by its many gloomy interior scenes.....
...which brings me to the 3D presentation. It's almost pointless.
Because much of the film takes place in dull, low-light surroundings,
the presentation looks mostly flat. It certainly won't help that on some
displays that don't properly compensate for dimming, glasses are going
to worsen the dulling effect. Interestingly enough, I saw virtually no
introduction of ghosting which usually plagues films like these.
When the movie does open up to its bright, outdoor locales, there
seems to be a sense of depth, but it's quite minimal.
The film's "In Yo' Face" factor is reduced to a few gimmicky moments
that involve swords that slightly poke themselves out at the audience.
Meanwhile, there are so many lost opportunities with props that could
have easily been enhanced for the format including firing cannons and
a slithering water snake. While some of the outdoor scenes are purposely
shot behind jungle foliage, the overall effect it provides is insignificant.
Perhaps this film's most notable feature is it's 7.1 DTS-HD track that
was downcoverted to 5.1 on my system. This is a powerhouse of
a soundtrack that features an unbelievable amount of dynamic range
and sense of spatiality. The particular placement of surround activity
is just amazing to hear -- most evident in a scene aboard Ponce de
Leòne's ship where the groaning and grunts of a vessel being kept
in balance creates an 360-degree soundfield that is quite impressive.
I was very pleased with the LFE activity here that underlines the
on-screen action and pounding drum score that accompanies it.
Pirates of the Caribean: On Stranger Tides arrives in a 5-disc
combo set that includes the 3D Blu-ray Feature Film, the 2D
Blu-ray Feature Film + Bonus, Blu-ray standalone bonus disc,
DVD Feature Film + Bonus and a Digital Copy of the Feature
Film. All of this is housed in lenticular "limited edition" packaging.
This Limited Edition 5-disc Blu-ray combo pack includes hours
of bonus material that includes immersive Disney Second Screen
Technology, exclusive behind-the-scenes experiences, Fountain
of Youth mythology, an extensive look at mermaids, bloopers,
deleted and extended scenes (to name a few).
I should also mention that there are 3D trailers included for
John Carter and Cars 2.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is what I hope is a close
to a franchise that was worn out long ago. Those that are tempted to
purchase this Blu-ray may not want to consider the 3D upgrade as it
really offers very little over its 2D counterpart.
Recommended for rental only.
Images are for illustrative purpose only not representative of the picture quality of this disc.
LG 60PX950 THX Certified 3D display
Oppo BDP-93 3D Blu-ray Player
Denon 3311CI Receiver
Atlantic Technology H-PAS AT-1 fronts, 4400 center; 4200 rear speakers
SV Sound Subwoofer