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Published:May 20th, 2011 14:00 EST
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Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Review

By Paulette Cohn

Avast, ye maties! All the rollicking good times on the high seas that was Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is back bigger and better in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which just happens to be in Disney 3D.

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The cast has changed " Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush return, but Keira Knightley and Orland Bloom have bailed " but in their place are Penelope Cruz as Angelica, the daughter of Blackbeard, and Ian McShane, who is wonderfully wicked as Blackbeard.

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The film sets sail with the rescue of a sailor by a Spanish fishing boat. When he says he has been to the Fountain of Youth, he is taken to see the king of Spain, who issues an order that the fountain be found for Spain. The English king is informed of this quest by his spies and he, too, sends out the troops, led by former Captain Barbosa (Rush), who is now a privateer.

But Blackbeard`s daughter has her own plans for the fountain. She shanghais Jack Sparrow (Depp), who just happens to have a map to the Fountain of Youth, and a three-way race is on.

But it is not an easy journey. One of the requirements to making the fountain work is the addition of a mermaid`s tears to the fountain`s water. And it is the scenes with the mermaids that is the highlight of the film.

Cruz is a wonderful foil for Depp. The two have spirited scenes together, especially with the history that their two characters have. Jack absconded with her from a convent and sent her on the road to ruin. Or so he believes.

A promise to keep the story simple and focused on Jack that was made after the fiasco of At World`s End, which was a tangled web of a storyline, was kept.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, directed by Rob Marshall from a screenplay by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, sets sails in theaters today.