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Film / Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

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Spoilers for all Pirates of the Caribbean films preceding this one will be left unmarked. You Have Been Warned.
Captain Teague: I heard where you're headed. The Fountain.
Jack Sparrow: Have you been there?
Captain Teague: Does this face looks like it's been to the Fountain of Youth?
Jack Sparrow: ...Depends on the light.

On Stranger Tides (2011) is the fourth movie in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. It is the first in the series not to be directed by Gore Verbinski, instead being directed by Rob Marshall.

The fourth installment (Suggested by... the novel of the same name, which was also an inspiration for the Monkey Island series) sees Captain Jack unwillingly joining forces with the notorious Blackbeard to seek out the Fountain of Youth, racing the English navy (led by Barbossa, who has turned privateer) and the Spanish (who have found a map made by Juan Ponce de León). The situation is complicated by the presence of Angelica, a woman from Captain Jack's past (who, unlike all the other women in his past, still seems to mean something to him).

It was followed up by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales in 2017.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides contains examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: When Philip insists that Syrena needs air, Jack states that he supports the missionary position, and one of Blackbeard's zombified officers laughs at the quip. Which gives said missionary the distraction he needs to help Syrena.
  • Adipose Rex: King George II is only seen to walk once. The rest of the time, he keeps his fat ass in his chair, and when Jack escapes and bullets start flying, his advisors deem it faster to just lift the chair and carry him away.
  • Affably Evil: Angelica shows signs of friendliness towards Jack.
  • Affectionate Pickpocket: After Jack Sparrow falls into the carriage of an elderly British noblewoman (Judi Dench), he pretends to seduce her by nibbling her ear. When he slips out, however, he holds a jeweled earring in his mouth.
  • Age Lift: Defied. Ian McShane was 69 when the movie was released, much older than the real Blackbeard was (about 40 years old) at the time of his death in 1718 — but the film takes place in 1750, making Blackbeard's age roughly the same as McShane's.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Mermaids. While they seem to prefer to seduce sailors and lure them to their doom slowly, they have no trouble simply capsizing an entire English warship.
  • Ambiguous Situation: The fate of Philip. Syrena pulls him into the water, but we never find out what happened to him, though it was hinted earlier in the film that the kiss of a mermaid grants you immunity to drowning, in addition to the fact Syrena is clearly shown to care about Philip.
  • Anachronism Stew: Has its own page.
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: During an escape sequence, Jack finds himself in a carriage opposite an older woman who looks startled and terrified. He leans over and nibbles the woman's ear, then ducks out of the carriage, to which she utters, "Is that it?" in a disappointed tone. Then finds out too late that he nibbled off her earring in the process.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When Barbossa finally catches up to Blackbeard, he lays out the crimes for which he is placing him under arrest. It's clear he cares about the last one most of all.
    Blackbeard: My trick's up, is that it?
    Barbossa: Such crimes do include, but are not limited to, piracy, treason, murder, torture of the most heinous sort, including the brutal theft of one used, twisted, hairy right leg.
  • Artistic License – Biology: As the crew is walking through a stream, and Jack and Angelica are talking, the latter snatches a snake out of the water, which bears its fangs at Jack. Thing is, the color pattern indicates that it was a milk snake, which does not have fangs. It was probably meant to be a coral snake (which is venomous, and does have fangs), but the color pattern was reversed (coral snakes have red on yellow bands, while milk snakes have red on black).
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: After the first pistol in Blackbeard's version of Russian roulette was an unloaded one, Jack thinks it's all a bluff and picks up another pistol and starts swinging it around. The rest of Blackbeard's crew though are smart enough to still duck when it gets pointed in their direction, especially when Jack fires a shot in the air—and it turns out that was one of the loaded guns.
  • Asshole Victim: Captain Blackbeard, Gunner and Quartermaster. Gunner and Quartermaster died by getting crushed by the collapsing Fountain of Youth that was destroyed by Spanish and Captain Blackbeard died by getting tricked into drinking a water from Fountain of Youth from a chalice that was without the mermaid tear after it was revealed that Jack Sparrow may have switched the chalices. And considering that they were malicious and abusive throughout the movie, it can be safely said that they deserved their deaths.
  • The Baby Trap: Angelica attempts this when Jack dumped her on the island.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: While the film goes to great lengths to preserve the illusion of topless mermaids, in several scenes Syrena's upper chest is visible, and the actress is wearing a skin suit (making the Godiva Hair potentially more sexual than just showing her body.)
  • Bathtub Mermaid: Blackbeard and his crew initially bring Syrena the mermaid around in a makeshift tank. However, once it breaks and she's forced to walk on land, she develops legs.
  • Batman Gambit: Jack's plan to save Angelica depended entirely on his belief that Blackbeard was a monster who genuinely only cared about himself and would take the chalices Jack had indicated before Angelica could do so herself.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: The preacher seems to think so, mooning over the mermaid's beauty and saying that she must thus be one of God's creatures.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Blackbeard is a voodoo sorcerer, and survives for many years past the battle that history records as his death.
  • Behind the Black:
    • The film has some issues with this in the early chase scenes. For example, there is a part where Jack is being chased down a set of stairs by several British soldiers. He reaches the bottom. The camera cuts to the soldiers who then reach the bottom and run down the hall. Cut to Jack hiding behind a table at the bottom of the stairs. Even given that the soldier closest to him in pursuit turned away for a second to yell for back-up, it's highly improbable he could have hidden there without the soldiers seeing him do it.
    • An even more egregious example occurs with the Spanish ships; nobody on Barbossa's ship notices them until Gibbs points them out, even though they're practically bearing down on top of them. Bizarrely enough, nobody on the Spanish ships seem to have noticed them either, or perhaps they have done yet and simply don't care.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The mermaids—for such sexy, harmless-looking creatures, they sure are vicious.
  • Bridal Carry: When Syrena's box breaks, and she gains legs, Philip carries her. It's quite touching.
  • Call-Back: To Jack's "Have I threatened you before?" line from the first film. This time, he's asking King George II.
  • The Cameo: Judi Dench as the woman who expects Jack to ravish her.
  • Captain Obvious: Jack Sparrow escapes from a room full of guards right in front of King George II. His Majesty turns to Hector Barbossa, and observes: "He escaped."
  • Chandelier Swing: Jack does one during his escape from the palace.
  • Claiming Via Flag: Right before the Mêlée à Trois between Blackbeard's crew, the British Marines, and the Spaniards, Lieutenant Groves runs up to the Fountain of Youth and claims it with a flag in the name of King George II. The Spaniard promptly shuts him up by shooting him through the flag, before asking his men to make a note of Groves' bravery.
  • The Collector: Blackbeard shrinks the ships of defeated crews, seals them in bottles and stores his collection of them in a cupboard. He has several dozen.
  • Combat by Champion: Subverted; Jack suggests a combat between Barbossa and Blackbeard to settle the thing, and it seems it's generally received as a good idea, but two words by the would-be champions and the fight becomes a massive brawl as usual.
  • Confronting Your Imposter: Jack hears in England that there is someone impersonating him and gathering a crew. He confronts his imposter and after a brief duel recognizes the culprit as his New Old Flame Angelica.
  • Continuity Nod: The judge as whom Jack disguises himself is named "Smith", which was the alias Jack used at the beginning of the first film.
  • The Corrupter: Angelica claims that Jack was this towards her.
    Jack: You demonstrated a lot of technique for someone I supposedly corrupted.
  • Create Your Own Villain: In a villain to villain example, the "One-Legged Man" is a threat of Blackbeard's own making. By attacking the Pearl and forcing Barbossa to amputate a leg, Blackbeard gave Barbossa the motivation to find and kill him.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Syrena, doubly so considering what mermaids are like in this film.
  • Deconstructed Trope: Barbossa shows up with a peg-leg, something often depicted in pirate movies such as those with Long John Silver. Thing is, most of the time these movie peg-legged pirates do not have a crutch to support them, despite them having to walk around with a stiff pole where the leg once was. Barbossa is not one of these pirates.
  • Death Equals Redemption: As Jack says, maybe for Blackbeard. Angelica's mission is to redeem him, and he saves her life (inadvertently).
  • Deathly Dies Irae: Hans Zimmer uses the notes "dies irae" during the scene where the Spaniards arrive to the fountain of youth, shooting the British officer holding up the Union Jack dead.
  • Department of Redundancy Department:
    Jack Sparrow: There is a girl, a female, of the opposite sex.
  • Destination Defenestration: The fate of a random soldier who slipped on a napkin dropped by Jack during a chase scene, leading to the soldier falling through a window into a two-story drop.
  • Determinator: Barbossa, explaining his dogged pursuit of Blackbeard.
    Barbossa: We were off the coast of Hispanola when we came under attack. No provocation, nor warning or offer of parley. We were peppered with cannon fire. And then the sea beneath the Pearl began to roil. The Pearl was pitching and yawing violently. Every plank, every rail, every spar all at once began to creak — the rigging had come to life! Our own ship turned against us. Tangling the crew, wrapping around them like snakes... and wrapping around my leg! But me arms were free and me sword was to hand. I am the master of my ship, not Blackbeard. I am the master of my fate, not Blackbeard! So I did what needed done... I survived.
  • Dirty Coward: Blackbeard suffers a horrible case of this. His fear of being haunted by "The One-Legged Man" drives him into seeking the Fountain of Youth to save his skin and doing whatever it takes to achieve his goal, even trying to sacrifice his own daughter.
  • Dirty Old Woman: The old lady that Jack fondles in the London carriage. "Is that it?"
  • Dolled-Up Installment: Actually based on a book with no connection to the PotC franchise beyond this movie.
  • The Dragon: Angelica.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Angelica poses as Jack because he was the only (male) pirate she thought she could pass for.
  • Duel of Seduction: Jack and Angelica.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Philip towards Syrena, and Syrena towards Philip as well. She reveals that the reason she saved Philip during the mermaid attack was because she noticed that he was "different".
  • End of an Era: Several on a franchise Meta level as of late 2023.
    • This is the final Pirates film scripted by series writers Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio. Neither writer would pen the next film (or at least only Rossio co-contributed a story credit).
    • This is the final Pirates film scored by Hans Zimmer (as he was unavailable due to composing duties for Dunkirk).
    • This is the final Pirates film photographed by series cinematographer Dariusz Wolski.
  • Equivalent Exchange: The fountain takes life from one to extend another's. However, the rate of exchange isn't exactly equal. The one on the receiving end gets the person's entire natural lifespan, regardless of their age or actual life expectancy, meaning that the recipient is going to get around 100 years from the deal no matter the sacrifice.
  • Ermine Cape Effect: George II is dressed in full regalia for a meeting with a dirty pirate.
  • Even the Loving Hero Has Hated Ones: Philip Swift is an All-Loving Hero who believes everyone has a trace of good in them, including pirates like Blackbeard. However, the latter's actions convince him that he was wrong, causing Philip to conclude that Blackbeard is Beyond Redemption and make him an exception out of loving everyone.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep":
    • The zombified quartermaster of the Queen Anne's Revenge is never addressed as anything but "Quartermaster".
    • Likewise the gunner, though Gunner (or Gunnar) is an actual name as well.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death:
    • The cook, for being on watch and thus "failing" to prevent the mutiny, is forced to row out in a longboat until the Revenge turns his way and literally opens fire for several seconds. Then he gets blasted again for good measure. Ironically, Blackbeard cooked the cook.
    • Blackbeard's death—a whirl of water from the Fountain of Youth strips the flesh from his bones, all while he's still alive, conscious, and able to reach out for Angelica.
  • Fantastic Racism: The way that Blackbeard (and judging by the number of skeletons, numerous others that have gone questing after the Fountain) treat the mermaids. They even refer to her as "the creature" and revel in how cruel and torturous her suffering and death will be, going out of their way to make sure she'll die slowly and painfully rather than just letting her go after she has outlived her usefulness.
  • Feet-First Introduction: Blackbeard.
  • Femme Fatale: Angelica is very flirty and beautiful. Also the mermaids.
  • Field Power Effect: Blackbeard's Sword of Triton only works if he's on or reasonably near his ship. If he moves too far from it, in this case too far inland, it's just a normal sword. In his desperation to subvert the prophecy of his death, he ends up doing depriving himself of the very power which would have made it impossible for Barbosa to ever kill him.
  • Filler: It's the only movie in the series that's unrelated to the overall Myth Arc of the Flying Dutchman and the Turner family. Plus, very little of what happens in this movie affects the next one, beyond Jack and Gibbs getting the Black Pearl in a bottle and Barbossa becoming the Captain of the Queen Anne's Revenge, and all of the new characters aside from Scrum only appear in this one. This is, however, an unintentional example since the movie was planned to be the beginning of a new trilogy, before the sequel that later emerged ended up cancelling most of the storylines that started with this one.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: Blackbeard's Queen Anne's Revenge has flamethrowers.
  • Floating Water: When you're getting close to the Fountain of Youth, water defies gravity to drip up off leaves and stream upwards to a cave's roof, forming a portal to get there.
  • Foregone Conclusion: An early dialogue joke in the film.
    Girl: Hurry, daddy! We'll miss the hanging!
    Daddy: It's not a hanging, it's a trial, darling. The hanging is this afternoon.
  • Foreshadowing: "Captain Jack Sparrow" is recruiting a crew at "The Captain's Daughter". Guess who it turns out to be?
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In the river scene where Angelica grabs a snake and Philip realizes Syrena needs air to properly breathe, the snake is not, as most viewers would assume, a Coral Snake, a highly poisonous reptile, but one of members of a species known as the kingsnakes (likely a Scarlet King Snake or a Milk Snake), which are not. What's a handy way of recalling which snake is which? Red next to black, friend of JACK. Red next to yellow, killed a fellow.
  • Game Face: The mermaids reveal monstrous faces while underwater, quite unlike their beautiful visage above it.
  • Genre Shift: After shifting into High Fantasy over the course of the previous two films, On Stranger Tides shifts back to the Low Fantasy of the original film.
  • Godiva Hair: Syrena the mermaid, fairly constantly. After all, she has no other clothing until Philip gives her his shirt.
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: Phillip Swift is a Good Shepherd who believes that everyone has good in them and can be saved by God's grace, and even attempts to reach out to Blackbeard admitting that saving Blackbeard's soul was "a bit of a long-shot". As the film goes on, however, Phillip changes his mind and realizes that Blackbeard is evil beyond any hope at redemption.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: Blackbeard's Last Words to Jack Sparrow are "Trickster!" and "Devil!"
  • The Hero Doesn't Kill the Villainess: Blackbeard is mortally wounded by Barbossa and tries to save himself by drinking from the Fountain of Youth and sacrificing his daughter Angelica. However, Jack tricks Blackbeard into drinking ordinary water instead, resulting in Blackbeard's death and Angelica surviving.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: During the credits, a blooper of the scene where Barbossa removes his peg leg plays... except the peg leg fails to come off and Geoffrey Rush stays in character throughout.
  • Historical Domain Character: The film features Blackbeard, with smaller appearances by King George II of England and some of his ministers, and a brief cameo by King Ferdinand VI of Spain.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Blackbeard has a crew composed of zombies made from his sword, and can bring ships to life. Contrary to popular belief, the real Blackbeard was not even the most cruel or violent pirate of his time. He was simply the most famous because of his use of theatricality to boost his fearsome image. In fact, there are no known accounts of him killing anyone who didn't aim to kill him first. If you kill people just to rob them, then the next people you attack are going to fight you, since they know you'll kill them anyway.
  • Hometown Nickname: The Spanish commander is simply called the Spaniard.
  • Hotter and Sexier: To the franchise and Disney in general; it's the very first Disney film to mention sexual content (though not in those words) in the MPAA's reason for giving it a PG-13 rating.
  • How Did You Know? I Didn't: Blackbeard forces Jack to play a game of Russian Roulette using four loaded guns and two unloaded guns and with Angelica (Jack's love interest, Blackbeard's daughter) as the target. After Jack chooses to jump instead, Angelica asks Blackbeard if he knew which of the guns were loaded. Blackbeard (unconvincingly) says he did, but given his later actions it's obvious that he doesn't care about putting his own daughter in harm's way.
  • Idiot Ball: Scrum chooses to flirt with a beautiful-yet-deadly mermaid, ignoring the better judgments of his fellow men who try to stop him or ward the creature off.
  • Improvised Weapon: Jack kills somebody with a napkin. Explanation: he places a napkin on the floor by a window, then attempts to escape through said window; when a soldier bull-rushes him, he slips on the napkin and falls out the window.
  • In Name Only: the film, aside from the title, Blackbeard and the Fountain of Youth, has nothing in common with the novel of the same name that was "suggested by". The characters, except for Blackbeard are completely different, the story and the plot threads are also going in completely separate ways. Word of God later confirmed that it is not a direct adaptation, rather borrowing some elements from the novel to be incorporated into the franchise. To be fair, even if there was no indication of being "suggested by", nobody would ever notice that the movie is somehow related to the novel. The author Tim Powers also said that main character in his book and Jack Sparrow are completely different characters.
  • Interspecies Romance: Philip (human) and Syrena (mermaid).
  • ...In That Order: The mermaids will take you to the bottom of the sea, drown you, then eat you. Sometimes, however, they will do it the other way around.
  • Invincible Villain: Or Hero Antagonist, any case: the Spaniards are utterly unstoppable and every time they appear in the plot, they are shown to be one step ahead of everybody, forcing improvisation. In the end, they achieve their goal — to destroy the Fountain, wiping out one more source of magic in the world in the name of Catholic faith — and Jack barely manages to use it Just in Time to give Blackbeard a nice Karmic Death.
  • Judicial Wig: The judge who sentences Jack (or actually, Gibbs being mistaken for Jack) at the beginning wears a wig sporting big, white, curly hair. The wig serves as a disguise too, since the "judge" actually is Jack himself.
  • Juggling Loaded Guns: To force Jack to get the chalices, Blackbeard plays a version of Russian roulette using his daughter Angelica and six pistols (two with shots in them) and Jack choosing the pistols to use. After the first pistol was an unloaded one, Jack thinks he's bluffing, picks up another pistol and starts swinging it around, causing the rest of the crew to duck when it's pointed in their direction. Jack fires it in the air, and it turns out there are loaded ones.
  • Kangaroo Court: Strongly implied to be what Gibbs' trial was intended to be before Jack Sparrow posed as a judge and gave him a life sentence instead.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Theodore Groves attempts to claim the Fountain of Youth for England when the Spanish show up, only to be shot straight through his Union Jack.
    The Spaniard: Someone make a note of that man's bravery.
  • Left the Background Music On: Invoked — Scrum is playing a particularly authentic Spanish tune when Jack and Angelica dance.
  • Legendary Impostor: As the movie begins, there's a rumour going around London that Captain Jack Sparrow is hiring a crew. This comes as news to Captain Jack Sparrow.
  • Life-or-Limb Decision: How Barbossa gained his pegleg — Blackbeard's magic sword caused a rope to wrap around it, and he cut off his own leg to avoid being dragged to his doom.
  • Literal Maneater: The mermaids seduce sailors and devour them.
  • Logo Joke: The flag at the top of the Disney castle Vanity Plate is replaced with a Jolly Roger, the sky is foggy, the fireworks are replaced with cannon fire (or rather, just given a dull white color), and mermaids appear in the river that runs through the castle.
  • Love at First Sight:
    • Possibly between Philip and Syrena; Philip is certainly smitten with her beauty and Syrena later says that she could tell he was "different" from other humans.
    • The ending confirms the same for Jack and Angelica. Not that it stopped the former from ditching the latter, but Jack will be Jack.
  • Love Redeems: Angelica attempts this for Blackbeard, but he's a bad man.
  • Mermaid Problem: Averted. The mermaids are heavily implied to be mammals, not fish, given that they have lungs and need to breathe to live, and their tails are horizontal, which is indicative of aquatic mammals, not vertical, indicative of fish (not uncommon in media portrayals of mermaids, however—see Our Mermaids Are Different). They do appear to have scales. On top of this, the Mermaid Problem is solved by Syrena having her tail turn into legs when she is taken completely out of water, if only temporarily, possibly a Shout-Out to Splash.
  • Mexican Standoff: Jack, Angelica and Scrum do this when they fight over the mermaid's tear.
  • Minor Major Character: The leaders of two of the most powerful nations of the time, King George II of Great Britain and King Ferdinand VI of Spain, appear in the movie. Both have little screentime and mostly exist to be the reason Barbossa and the Spaniard are searching for the Fountain.
  • Mission from God: As far as the Spaniards are concerned, God wants them to destroy the Fountain of Youth for being pagan.
  • Motive Misidentification: The Spanish aren't looking for the Fountain of Youth to attain immortality. They wish to destroy the pagan sorcery in the name of God.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Angelica, especially in that one scene of her and Jack rolling about on the deck.
    • Also, the mermaid Syrena, who is half naked for all of her scenes. In fact, all of the mermaids really, until they attack. Small wonder this was the first Disney film to be rated PG-13 for nudity.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Philip, when he realizes that Syrena was pulling him to safety, not attacking him, when he captured her.
  • Named by Democracy: Phillip named the captured mermaid "Syrena" because he doesn't know her actual name to prove to Blackbeard that she is a person.
  • Naughty Nuns: Angelica was about to take her vows when Jack arrived. He was there because he'd mistaken the convent for a brothel. Honest mistake.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Blackbeard actually came close to succeeding in his plan as the majority of the film and he was able to drink from the Fountain in the end. The only reason he failed to escape his fate because he accidentally drank from the wrong chalice.
  • New Old Flame: Angelica for Jack. Jack even admits that she's the only woman he's ever had actual feelings for.
  • "No Rules" Racing: The British, the Spanish, and Blackbeard's pirates are all racing to reach the Fountain of Youth first, and aren't letting any rules (not even the Pirate's Code) hold them back.
  • Noodle Implements: Jack rattles off a number of these in his plan to restore the Black Pearl after Gibbs retrieves it from the Queen Anne's Revenge.
    Jack: We shall need a crossbow, an hourglass, three goats, one of us must learn to play the trumpet, whilst the other one goes like this. [wiggles his fingers]
    Gibbs: I know a man with a goat!
    Jack: Good. I can go like this. [wiggles his fingers again]
  • No Man Should Have This Power: The reason why the Spaniard destroys the Fountain of Youth, stating that only God can grant eternal life.
  • No One Sees the Boss: When Jack hears that Blackbeard never comes out of his cabin, and that none of the crew have really sees him, he believes it's this trope. However, he turns out be very, very wrong.
  • Not Me This Time: Jack Sparrow is believed to be trying to locate a ship to find the Fountain of Youth, as well as recruiting a crew. Turns out that it was Angelica, a former flame of Sparrow, disguised as him.
  • Not Worth Killing: When the Spanish ships sail by Barbossa's, they don't so much as spare him a glance, even though their numbers would have easily allowed them to sink his ship.
  • Offing the Offspring: Blackbeard doesn't even blink at sacrificing his daughter to further his goals.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Jack proclaims "The ship is ours!". And then Blackbeard shows up, and every mutineer realised they were in deep shit.
    • Jack spots a swarm of mermaids attacking the ship.
    • Blackbeard upon being told he drank from the wrong chalice.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: The Mermaid theme is suitably creepy.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: They're freaking spooky, and siren-esque man-killers.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Blackbeard's officers are the Voodoo type; mindlessly obedient to their 'creator', with no interest in eating anyone. However, they also are impervious to being punctured by a sword and don't bleed.
  • Pinball Protagonist: After causing most of the major plot events in the previous three films, Jack ends up becoming a perfect example of this trope in this film. Blackbeard and Angelica do most of the important actions in the plot, with Jack being forced to follow them, rarely intervening. In fact, you can even argue that almost everything in the film would go the same way without him, with the only exception being Jack saving Angelica's life and insuring Blackbeard's death.
  • Poisoned Chalice Switcheroo: Bonus points for using actual chalices. Jack tricks Blackbeard into downing the life-draining chalice under the pretense that it's the one that grants life, knowing he values his own life over that of his daughter.
  • Poisoned Weapons: The vengeful Barbossa coats his sword with tree frog venom, so if he so much as scratches Blackbeard he'll be dead within minutes. Unlikely as it may seem, this ploy is Truth In Television.
  • Power of Love: Blackbeard makes an offhanded remark that mermaid tears shed out of love are "more potent" then ones shed from fear or sadness but any tear would work just as well so it's a downplayed trope.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Jack: "Oh I understand everything. Except that wig." Spectacular escape ensues.
  • Privateer: After surviving Blackbeard, Barbossa accepted a royal pardon and became a commissioned privateer on behalf of Great Britain. King George II personally assigns Barbossa to find the Fountain of Youth before the Spanish do. With privateers often viewed as legitimized pirates, Barbossa wasn't really changing his ways, just getting some legal protection. After taking over Blackbeard's sword and ship, Barbossa rips up Letter of Marque and goes back to criminal piracy.
  • Prove I Am Not Bluffing: Blackbeard tries to coerce Jack into helping him by threatening to shoot his love interest, who happens to be Blackbeard's daughter. When Jack calls him out on it, Blackbeard orders the Quartermaster to bring him six pistols, four unloaded. Jack gets the message fairly quickly. After he leaves, Angelica asks Blackbeard if he knew which guns were loaded. His answer is a not-very-reassuring "Of course, my love."
  • Record Needle Scratch: Even though the actual sound isn't used, the effect is definitely present at the end of the movie. Jack appears to be succumbing to Angelica's seduction, the music rises — and then simply cuts off as Jack says, "I gotta go."
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Jack relates the Real Life myth about how Blackbeard's body swam three times around a ship after being decapitated to Blackbeard, who doesn't deign to explain how come he's still alive.
  • Revival Loophole: After hearing a prophecy that says he's going to meet his end at Barbossa's hands, Blackbeard figures You Can't Fight Fate, and rather than trying to avert or avoid the prophecy, he starts searching for the Fountain of Youth so that he can use it to heal himself after it inevitably does happen. Unfortunately for him, Fate took that trick into account and sabotaged it accordingly.
  • Save the Villain: Angelica is poisoned in the climax, and Jack is desperate to find a way to save her since, despite being on different sides, he still loves her.
  • Screw Yourself: Jack kisses someone disguised as him.
    Jack: I've always wanted to do that.
  • Seadog Peg Leg: This wouldn't be a proper pirate movie series without at least one wooden leg. It shows up in this movie, attached to Barbossa. Kind of appropriate, since he's the most stereotypical (yarr!) pirate of the series.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Blackbeard heard of a prophecy that a one-legged man is out to kill him and seeks out the Fountain of Youth to save himself from death. However, this made two critical mistakes that allowed the prophecy to pass: He gave the one-legged man the perfect place to find him, and in doing so deprives him of his voodoo magic and ship.
  • Shown Their Work: A lot of stuff in this movie is very well-researched. For example, historical accounts of the real-world Blackbeard do mention him never showing his face to the crew, singeing his own beard to inspire terror, and possibly indulging in sorcery. They did get his flag wrong, though that was possibly an intentional change due to already having used a flag based on the real Blackbeard's in At World's End.
  • Siren Song: The mermaids' hunting strategy involves using their beautiful singing voices to lower the guard of unaware sailors and attack them en masse once they're surrounded.
  • Soft Water: Jack leaps from a cliff into a bay and is just fine, though he does seek assurances from the fortune-telling Quartermaster first.
  • Spring-Loaded Corpse: Very nearly when Jack and Barbossa come across the skeleton of Ponce de Leon. Jack wonders aloud why the Spanish left his map while taking the chalices, reaches for the map himself—and the corpse turns its head to look at him. Barbossa mouths, "Don't touch the map!" Jack wisely decides to put it back.
  • Stab the Sky: This is apparently necessary to use the powers of the Sword of Triton (Blackbeard's sword).
  • Staying Alive: The film makes no attempt to explain how Blackbeard survived his historical death, simply leaning on the fact that he's a very mysterious and resourceful man.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Captain Teague. He and Jack toast, he points Jack towards the men he's looking for, Jack looks away, turns back, Teague is gone.
  • Stealth Pun: Blackbeard has to harvest a mermaid's tear, meaning he has to become a tearjerker.
  • The Stinger: Jack's Voodoo Doll washes up on the beach right in front of the marooned Angelica.note 
  • Stripped to the Bone: Victims of the fountains are flayed by the water around it, reducing them to skeletons.
  • Stumbling in the New Form: After Blackbeard's zombie officers trip while carrying Syrena the mermaid in a glass container, emptying her onto the ground, her tail turns into a pair of legs, whereupon Blackbeard orders her to walk with the rest of the crew. As soon as she tries taking a step forwards, Syrena falls to the ground, unused to walking. As soon as Blackbeard makes it clear he'll kill her if she doesn't walk, Phillip the missionary helps Syrena out by subjecting her to a Bridal Carry.
  • Such a Phony: Jack Sparrow bluntly states that Angelica, Blackbeard's daughter, is a liar and deceitful. He likens her to a wild beast with gnashing teeth and something we don't get to hear because Angelica happens to enter. Jack then exclaims "[with] sweetness" for her to hear.
  • Suggested by...: This movie is officially "suggested by" the novel On Stranger Tides. It keeps the basic concept of Blackbeard being a sorcerer who's seeking to gain immortality at Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth, and almost nothing else.
  • Swiss-Army Tears: A mermaid's tear gives eternal youth combined with the Fountain of Youth.
  • Take That!: In-universe example regarding a dilapidated lighthouse with its whale-oil reservoir intact:
    Blackbeard: Can you make it work?
    Salaman: Made by the English! Let's not get our hopes up.
  • Tell Me How You Fight: Jack figures out it's Angelica posing as him when she uses a move no one else would know.
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: The Spaniard views the Fountain of Youth as this, ordering it be destroyed when he catches up to the heroes. He has a point, mind, as it is Black Magic requiring a Human Sacrifice and only extends life rather than granting immortality.
  • Throw a Barrel at It: Angelica and Jack fight each other in a room full of barrels in the beginning. The barrels are quickly utilized as potential weapons during the fight.
  • Tranquillizer Dart:
    • Blackbeard's Quartermaster tranquilizes Captain Jack Sparrow before taking him aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge.
    • Later, such a dart is used to fake the missionary Philip's death in order to make Syrena cries.
  • Treebuchet: Jack launches himself from palm tree to palm tree to get across the Spaniards' encampment and escape.
  • Trilogy Creep: The fourth Pirates movie of a promised three. This film's story is entirely new, however, and shares only three major characters (well, four with Jack the Monkey) with the previous installments.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Angelica.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Philip, who rushes back to Syrena as soon as he regains consciousness... and thus rewards Blackbeard with Syrena's tear and gets her tied up to die.
  • Violence is the Only Option: Subverted. Jack suggests to the crowd of pirates to just sit back and watch Blackbeard and Barbossa fight each other out, since they are really the ones who want each other dead. However, both captains demand that their crew fight it out as well.
  • Visual Pun: during his escape from the Buckingham palace, Jack sits on a dead man's chest (a coffin), then walks the plank (carried by two workmen).
  • Villain Has a Point: The Fountain is a black magic murder factory that can only steal/transfer life being sought by a vile pirate. Hard to say the Spanish are wrong in condemning it as false faith and deciding to level it. Jack surmising Blackbeard's plan to sacrifice his daughter only underlines it.
  • Voodoo Doll: Blackbeard has one of Jack. After the Quartermaster tosses it in the ocean, it washes up on Angelica's beach in which she picks it up and smiles, swearing for revenge.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Jack and his first mate discuss this trope at the end of the movie. Jack feels that the thrill of death encourages one to live to the fullest. He also speculates he may live forever in history as the man who discovered the Fountain of Youth.
    Jack: It's a pirate's life for me; savvy?
  • Woman Scorned: Jack pulls this on Angelica in the climax.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Blackbeard is prophesied to die at the hands of a one-legged man and this eventually happened despite Blackbeard's best efforts in reaching the Fountain of Youth to avoid this fate.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: When Barbossa makes landfall near the Fountain of Youth, he takes a squad to shore with him and calmly leaves the sailors on board the ship to be killed by mermaids. Though in his defense, there's not really any way he could've actually saved them.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: When Blackbeard compliments Philip's capture of Syrena with a hearty "Well done, sailor," this trope is written all over Philip's face, as well as My God, What Have I Done?.


Video Example(s):


A Captain Meets a Dame

Captain Jack Sparrow gets a little personal with a bejeweled dowager (Dame Judi Dench) during his escape from St. James's Palace

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheCameo

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