Pirates of the Caribbean: On stranger tides
Not suitable under 12, PG to 15 (Themes; Violence)
This topic contains:
- overall comments and recommendations
- details of classification and consumer advice lines for Pirates of the Caribbean: On stranger tides
- a review of Pirates of the Caribbean: On stranger tides completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 19 May 2011.
Overall comments and recommendations
|Children under 12
||Not recommended due to themes, violence and scary scenes
||Parental guidance recommended due to themes, violence and scary scenes
|Children 15 and over
||OK for this age group
About the movie
This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.
|Name of movie:
||Pirates of the Caribbean: On stranger tides
|Consumer advice lines:
||Supernatural themes and violence
This review of the movie contains the following information:
A synopsis of the story
The fourth film in the Pirates of the
Caribbean series opens with Spanish fishermen finding a very old man entangled in
their fishing nets. When the Spanish commander learns that the old-man is a
two-hundred year-old survivor from an ill fated expedition to find the
legendary Fountain of Youth, the commander gives orders to set sail on the next
Meanwhile, Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is on
a one-man mission to rescue a member of his crew but is captured and brought
before King George II (Richard Griffiths). He discovers that Captain Barbossa
(Geoffrey Rush) is now a captain in the King’s navy and that they are after
Jack’s map for the location of the Fountain of Youth.
Jack manages to escape from the King’s
custody but becomes involved in a duel with a strange man who claims to be Jack
himself, but turns out to be an old flame named Angelica (Penelope Cruz).
Jack’s romantic interlude is interrupted when he is pursued and knocked
unconscious by unknown foes.
When Jack wakes up he finds that he is at
sea aboard a ship captained by Blackbeard the pirate, who turns out to be Angelica’s
father. Sparrow now has to lead Blackbeard to the Fountain of Youth with
Barbarossa and his men, and the Spanish navy also desperately seeking the
Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.
Pirates; the supernatural
Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.
Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.
Much of the violence in the film is
stylised and at times slapstick. However, the film does contain a few scenes
where the violence depicted is of a more brutal nature. Examples include:
- There is a sword fight between Jack Sparrow
and a second person who is impersonating him and who turns out to be Angelica.
Jack kicks his impersonator in the chest and then rips open her shirt to reveal
her cleavage. Soldiers break into the tavern and an all out fight erupts
between the soldiers and tavern patrons. Fist fights and general brawling are
depicted along with swordplay and the occasional musket being fired. It is mostly played for comedy.
- During a mutiny on board Blackbeard’s ship
we see a more brutal style of fighting. A pirate a sword thrust through his
chest but pulls it out as if uninjured. The scene contains hard and rough sword
fights, stabbings and punches to the face. Ropes coming to life, entangling the
mutineers and hauling them up into the rigging where they dangle upside down.
- A man in a rowboat rowing away from
Blackbeard’s ship is engulfed in flames which shoot out from the ship.
- Blackbeard tortures Jack Sparrow using a
voodoo doll. Blackbeard sticks a knife into the doll and Jack displays signs of
pain and opens his shirt to reveal a bloody symbol cut into the skin of his
chest. Blackbeard then places the doll’s head into a flame and we see Jack
grabbing hold of his head as if in a great deal of pain until Blackbeard
removes the doll from the flame.
- Pirates talk about how mermaids pull
sailors down into the sea and eat them.
- During a battle between mermaids and
Blackbeard’s crew, mermaids pull the men down into the sea, and jumping over
row boats snatching the occupants from the boats and pulling them under the
sea. An army of mermaids overrun and capsize an entire ship. During the battle
mermaids are impaled through the chest with swords and barrels of oil are exploded.
A man stabs a mermaid through the tail, fixing her tail to the ground and then
pirates wrap the trapped mermaid in a fishing net. Later we see the same
mermaid imprisoned in an aquarium like coffin, unable to breath and gasping for
air until the top of the aquarium is removed.
- Blackbeard forces Jack to play Russian
roulette with Angelica.
- Blackbeard slaps Angelica across her face
knocking her to the ground.
- Blackbeard threatens to cut off Serena the
mermaid’s fingers and tear every scale from her body one by one.
- In a effort to intimidate Serena, one of
Blackbeard’s henchmen appears to strangle Philip the missionary and then slit
his throat and roll his body into a ditch. Later we see Philip wake up and pull
a dart from his chest
- In order to intimidate and torture Serena
the mermaid, Blackbeard ties her to a pole with her body half out of the water.
- During the film’s final battle involving
Blackbeard, his pirates and Spanish soldiers we see more battle violence chaos
and destruction as depicted throughout
film including a missionary being stabbed in the stomach, and Blackbeard being
stabbed in the back and then through the stomach.
Material that may scare or disturb children
Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.
The film contains a host of threatening
pirates that younger children may find scary.
- A couple of Blackbeard’s men are referred
to as “Zombiefied” men. These men are fierce brutish looking men, who have
their faces covered in piercings and are covered in tattoos and symbols. At one
point we see a zombie man pull a sword from his chest as if unaffected by the
- Younger children may find Blackbeard’s ship
scary and disturbing. The ship appears to be controlled by supernatural powers
enacted through Blackbeard’s sword.
Barbossa gives a chilling account of how he was forced to cut off his
own leg when he was ensnared by one of Blackbeard’s enchanted ropes.
- The mermaids are depicted both as beautiful
women and as scary looking witch-like creatures with vampire-like fangs and
supernatural strength and abilities.
- The front of Blackbeard’s ship is covered
in dozens of flaming human skeletons.
- In a couple of scenes we see images of the
ground littered with hundreds of human skeletons. One scene includes images
partially decomposed bodies of mermaids tied to stakes half out of the water
with most of the bodies reduced to skeletons.
- One scene depicts Blackbeard’s body being
consumed by a water spout leaving a skeleton standing in the water spout with
its hand reaching out before it collapses.
Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.
Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes
Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.
Children in this age group may also be
disturbed by some of the above mentioned images
Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.
Some younger children in this age group may also
be disturbed by some of the above mentioned scenes.
None of concern
There are some sexual references in this
- Angelica complains that she was used by
Jack when she was a young woman and asks Jack what he was doing in a Spanish
convent to which Jack responds, “I mistook it for a brothel”.
- Sailors taking about mermaids having their
way with sailors. We hear one sailor saying that he wants a proper kiss from a
- Jack says to Philip that he “supports the
- In one scene involving Jack pointing a
sword at Angelica, Angelica responds to Jack’s sword with the comment, “How
come we can never meet without you pointing something at me?”
- Jack Sparrow tells Angelica that if she had
a sister and a dog he would chase the dog.
- Angelica tells Jack that she was with child
and that Jack was the father and that he couldn’t remember the event because he
was drunk at the time. To which Jack responds, “I’ve never been that
Nudity and sexual activity
There is some nudity and sexual activity in
this movie, including:
- Woman in low-cut tops that reveal
- Jack kisses Angelica on the lips.
- The mermaids are naked from the waist up
but shown from the back or with their long hair covering their naked breasts.
- A mermaid kisses Philip on the lips and
then pulling him into the water.
Use of substances
There is some use of substances in this
- Several scenes depicting taverns full of
rowdy pirates drinking.
- Jack and Gibbs share a hip flask on a
couple of occasions.
- Barbossa pulls a cork from the top of his
peg-leg and he and Jack drink from the legg.
Darts treated with
some type of drug are used in a couple of scene to render people unconscious
There is some low-level coarse language and
name calling in this movie, including:
hell’s teeth, my God,
bloody mermaid, damn you, filthy pig, bastard, blooming cockroaches
In a nutshell
Pirates of the Caribbean: On stranger tides
is an adventure fantasy film targeting an audience from adolescents upwards.
Many scenes are too violent and scary for children under 12
The main message from this movie is to live
life for the moment.
Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children
- empathy and self sacrifice as shown by
Philip in his concern about the manner
in which the mermaid was being treated and the way in which he sacrificed his
own life to save her.
Parents may also wish to discuss the way in which the pirates treated the
mermaid and what it showed about their attitude to her.