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I’d call myself a solid fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. I liked Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End more than most critics, especially the latter, which I found weird and over the top in good ways. So I went in to On Stranger Tides without feeling like the franchise was incapable of putting out entertaining entries.

The bad news: it wasn’t very good. The worse news: they are plans for up to three more.

I covered this in the review, but I can’t get over the decision to jettison Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley only to replace their love story with some lame romance between a church-guy and a mermaid. That simple description sounds much more entertaining than the actual results. Church-guy (he seemed too minor a character to note down his name) is introduced strapped to the mast of Blackbeard’s ship. Johnny Depp asks about him for some reason. During the following mutiny, Depp and his cohorts break off in the middle of a pitched battle just to release him.

Why? There’s no reason for any of these actions besides “If we don’t get a sexy dude to kiss a pretty lady at some point here, the young girls will just go watch Twilight again instead.” It’s a gross botchery of storytelling. Rather than finding an organic way to build this character into the plot, they just throw him into the mix and force the surrounding characters to be interested in him.

It’s a waste of celluloid. On Stranger Tides isn’t a terrible movie, but it’s not half as rollicking as it should have been.

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