Sep 15, 2017

[Movies] Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) Review

Wow, it's hard to believe that this is the fifth movie in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise. I had thought that we were done with the series after the third movie, but then it kept on going. And it's still going apparently and I'm honestly beginning to worry that it's not going to stop anytime soon.

Dead Men Tell No Tales is the title of the fifth movie. Let's say that again - there is actually a fifth Pirates movie. It blows the mind to really think about it.

Tobie and I ended up watching it on home video just for the heck of it. At this point it's hard to not watch these movies since you're curious as to what sort of a story they're going to come up with this time around.

It's not that the movies are bad - but more they're really running out of runway. Things are starting to feel tired and the franchise is feeling the weight of its own internal running gags and tropes. And yet there is still talk of a possible sequel.

Synopsis: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (or Salazar's Revenge) is a 2017 American pirate fantasy adventure movie. This chapter was directed by Joachim Rønning and Joachim Rønning based on a screenplay by Jeff Nathanson.

Time jump time! First two years after the events of At World's End, we are shown the 12-year old Henry Turner (Lewis McGowan) attempting to rescue his father Will Turner (Orlando Bloom). He is sent off as Will doesn't believe that the mythical Trident of Poseidon (that can supposedly break his curse) even exists. Then 9 years later (but 5 years after On Stranger Tides), Henry (Brenton Thwaites) is now on a British Royal Navy vessel that is attacked by Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) and his undead crew and Henry somehow survives this experience somehow.

In Saint Martin, we meet Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), a woman sentenced to death because she has been convicted of witchcraft, although it's actually just astronomy and generally being smart. But her execution is thwarted incidentally during another ridiculous escape by Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) as he gets away from robbing a bank vault. How all these characters come together to work on retrieving the trident becomes the movie.

What I Liked: While the fight scenes seem to happen in a similar fashion across the movies, you have to give some credit in terms of how well some of them are done. The big fight / stunt sequence at the beginning with Jack and he bank fault has a lot of elements that feel familiar with respect to his antics in prior movies but on the whole were generally entertaining. One has to respect how much work goes into these sequences.

Of everyone in the cast I still manage to enjoy the quirkiness that Geoffrey Rush brings to the character of Captain Barbossa. It's a small miracle that he returned for this fifth movie as he has been featured in most of the franchise thus far and there he is. I can totally see how his character had probably been meant for just the first movie but fan love probably supported him in this regard.

What Could Have Been Better: I feel honestly bad that Javier Bardem somehow got hoodwinked into playing the poorly developed Captain Salazar character. His curse didn't feel all that different from Davy Jones in Dead Man's Chest. Seriously, how many ship-bound cursed undead pirate crews do we need right? The only difference was that he swore to hunt down pirates based on his past life but he was trapped in the Devil's Triangle.

The new characters were equally flat. I wanted to life Carina Smyth but she really wasn't all that and the "big" reveal at the end didn't make her any more endearing. Henry's adult incarnation was as sort of deer-in-the-headlights as Will had been in the very first movie, so I suppose that's a bit of a family trait. Even Jack felt like a shadow of his former self given how he was force into stupid non-character decisions like giving up his magic compass in order to serve the needs of the plot. Tragic writing.

TL;DR: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is a sad addition to the overall franchise and acts s a reminder that some stories deserve to end. Bringing back characters from the original trilogy as cameos didn't help the movie enough to make it worthwhile. And thus the movie only gets 1 undead pirate out of a possible 5.

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