From the start, we know Capt. Jack is on his way to find the fountain of youth which Ponce de Leon went in search of. May as well use it in the title.
Action-packed beginning, lots of stunts, more plot twists than I could count just in the first 10 minutes. It kept on that way all through the movie. Horrible score - non-melodic, difficult to play , blaring music which was a massive waste of a very talented orchestra and conductor. Some clever lines here and there, but the audio was uneven, and I missed a lot of the dialog. The 3D is a joke - the majority of the movie made no use of it, and the few times it did was for childish in-your-face outbursts. There is a scene where Penelope Cruz is walking through a swamp and picks up a colorful snake, which magically goes 3D before our very eyes. When she releases it the snake goes back to being 2D. Gag me.
Johnny Depp is his usual delightful Jack Sparrow, Penelope Cruz keeps way too much clothing on. Geoff Rush is slightly less brilliant than usual, blame the offal scriptwriting. Ian McShane's Blackbeard has a huge part this time, and he is great at it except for the Moment of Truth near the end, where craptastic camera placement ruins it.
There are mermaids. The first one we see is played by a very beautiful waif Gemma Ward, but for some bizarre reason the casting clowns chose the somewhat plain Astrid Berges-Frisbey to play the one who gets the love interest and the lion's share of mermaid screen time. Probably because she has bigger tits, though we only get a moment's glimpse during the obligatory "long hair covers breasts" shot.
The movie turns the simple Fountain of Youth myth into a too-complex, convoluted scavenger hunt followed by an inane ceremony. Part of the scavenger hunt includes finding "silver chalices" on Ponce de Leon's 200-year-old ship, with its captain still on board. Let's all forget that Capt. Juan is buried in Havana, lived to the ripe old age of 61 until a poisoned arrow got him. And let's also forget that a silver chalice is not a quartz goblet in a wrought silver frame.
So, disappointing for the most part, but it has its moments. One of the moments comes as the Easter egg, which follows 5 minutes of credits which are in a hard to read font with just enough 3D applied to make them unreadable without the glasses, but not enough to make them much more readable with them. This 5 minutes is made less bearable by the alleged music (see above) over which they are shown, or by the two hours and 16 minute bladder-testing movie length.
Monday matinée was almost worth it, considering there were only 4 other customers in the theater, so I had my choice of seats and there were no screaming children. I recommend waiting for it on DVD.