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3D Blu-ray Review Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: THE HTF 3D ADDICT REVIEW (1 Viewer)

Ronald Epstein

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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.





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Pirates of the Caribbean

On Stranger Tides 


Studio: Walt Disney

Product Release: October 18, 2011

Ratio: 2.40:1

Audio: 7.1 DTS-HD MA; French, Spanish & Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital

Running Time: 136 Minutes

Rating: PG-13



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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.



CONCLUSION



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. 


Equipment


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


 

Johnny Angell

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Johnny Angell
Count me as a fan of Captain Jack Sparrow. I think when I first watched the first movie it was a bit confused moment by moment began relishing Depp's portrayal. I've always enjoyed Sparrow, but after the first movie, it's been all downhill. I have the first on blu, it's the only one I need to own.
 

dmiller68

Supporting Actor
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Sep 29, 2009
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Real Name
David Miller
Thanks for the review of this I was questioning getting this in 3D now you made it easy for me. Now I will just rent it. :)
 

Ethan Riley

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2005
Messages
4,121
Yeah, I have yet to upgrade to 3D and this is not the film that's gonna push me over that barrier :D But I think it was a fair and honest review on your part, Ron. I do pretty much find the Pirates films to be enjoyable (haven't yet seen the 4th installment). I'll likely buy the bluray, but I'm of the school that believes that the Pirates franchise is not inexhaustible in terms of storytelling.
 

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