‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ heaves to on UK Region free Blu-ray with an excellent 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 encode, framed in the widescreen 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The movie looks absolutely wonderful with nicely lit almospheric shots that give it a true blockbuster feel. Skin tones look authentic and the rich reds of the soldiers’ tunics really stand out. Colour is strong in daylight scenes while in the night shots we get inky blacks. Throughout the picture, contrast is excellent and there is a great amount of detail on display. In close ups, skin pores are visible yet the movie still retains a wonderful filmic look despite the lack of any visible grain. In no way does it look clinical. As you’d expect from such a recent source, the image is clean. It may even be a digital source as it was shot using 3D cameras, so a film print may not have been used in the transfer and encode. You can’t really fault the image here. It looks superb on Blu-ray - and so it should.
The audio on ‘On Stranger Tides’ comes in a DTS-HD MA 7.1 surround mix which is very good indeed. This is exactly the kind of movie that surround sound was made for. The action scenes come alive with cannon fire, musket shots and in Olde London Town, carriage wheels clatter down cobbled streets with great echo. Objects fly past your ears, causing involuntary ducking and Hans Zimmer’s score envelops you in the larger than life events. Dialogue is kept very clear in the mix and Ian McShane’s deep gravely voice comes across very well. The subwoofer gets a thorough work out, adding oomph to the action sequences. This mix is ideal for demonstrating just how sonically impressive a surround sound system can be when fed the best material. No doubt it will be appearing at Demo rooms up and down the country.
This review is based on the flat version ( i.e. not 3D) of the movie, the UK Region free Double Play package which comprises a Blu-ray and a DVD disc.
The following extras are on the Blu-ray:
Audio Commentary - Director Rob Marshall and Executive Producer John Deluca go head to head in this not very lively comm. track as they tell us how wonderful the film looks in 3D, although I was watching in good ole 2D. They tell us how wonderful everyone was to work with and how they just loved working with them. We get some interesting background information on shooting in Greenwich and they point out who’s who. Good for production buffs.
Bloopers of the Caribbean (HD, 3 mins 29s) - The usual collection of giggles, prop mishandling, fluffed lines and helicopters flying overhead interrupt filming.
Lego Pirates of the Caribbean (HD, 2 mins) - Blimey, product placement on steroids. A couple of little CGI Animated films featuring Lego versions of the characters in scenarios linked to the movie.
Discover Blu-ray 3D with Timon & Pumbaa (HD, 4 mins) - More advertising folks. This time for Disney Digital 3D with the lovable characters from ‘The Lion King’. Thinking of buying a 3D TV? No! now weigh your anchor!
The 2011 Summer blockbuster ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ weighs anchor on UK Region free 2D Blu-ray with an excellent 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 encode, framed in the widescreen 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Good strong colours, excellent contrast, fine detail and a wonderful filmic look make this a pleasure to watch.
The DTS-HD MA 7.1 surround track is no slouch either as objects fly past your ears and your subwoofer takes a real pounding. Hans Zimmer’s boisterous score keeps it all moving, yet in among the mayhem the witty dialogue is clear and crisp.
The Extras comprise an audio commentary from director Rob Marshall and Executive Producer John Deluca, a blooper reel and a couple of Lego adverts as well as a sales pitch for 3D
As a movie, it’s a real improvement over the last instalment in the series ( ‘At World’s End’) and generally entertains with an amusing script as Cap’n Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) sets sail to find the fabled Fountain of Youth with Blackbeard (Ian McShane) and his daughter Angelica (Penelope Cruz). A great cast of British character actors adds to the fun. Watch out for those Mermaids, they bite!
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