Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Review

Even though each film has gotten considerably worse, maybe there’s a slight chance that Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales could redeem this franchise out of troubling waters. But at last, not even zombie sharks can save this from being another bummer.

Thrust into an all-new adventure, a down-on-his-luck Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) feels the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost sailors led by his old nemesis, the evil Capt. Salazar (Javier Bardem), escape from the Devil’s Triangle. Jack’s only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it, he must forge an uneasy alliance with a brilliant and beautiful astronomer and a headstrong young man in the British Navy.

The first Pirates of the Caribbean back in 2003 is one of the most exhilarating adventure movies to come out. That made a huge splash for a PG-13 Disney movie and it embarked a huge following. Plus, it introduced me to the lovely Keira Knightly. And it’s honestly the only good movie because the sequels aren’t superior to the original. Dead Man’s Chest has its moments, but it’s way too bloated, At World’s End was horrible and dastardly long, and the last film On Stranger Tides was forgettable. Though I wasn’t anticipating seeing this fifth installment, this needs to be better than the sequels. Upon viewing Dead Men Tell No Tales, it’s the best movie since the first one. But that isn’t saying much.

There are several things that are positives: The story in this sounded interesting enough. Finding the Trident of Poseidon sounded like it might be a memorable adventure for these characters for about the first half. The score by Geoff Zanelli kept the nostalgia from Hans Zimmer’s previous score from the series. That’s about it.

As much I enjoyed Bardem playing the main villain Salazar, he was menacing, but he wasn’t used enough as I thought. The CGI used on him wasn’t that bad although I wish they would’ve used overall makeup on himself.

Captain Jack Sparrow is becoming a one-hit character that has no more redeemable qualities about him. This is Depp’s most popular role as he was actually nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor. But for me, he got annoying to a point just thinking doesn’t need to be the leading protagonist for five movies now.  He’s basically a cartoon character who sounds drunk in every scene. Just isn’t the same Jack Sparrow as before, which is disappointing.

Javier Bardem and Brenton Thwaites in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)

This gives us new characters like Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites, Gods of Egypt) and Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario, Maze Runner franchise), but even they don’t add to anything special to the story. There’s a running joke about the men thinking Carina is a witch but she’s a woman who’s an astronomer. That went on for so long that it wasn’t funny, to begin with.

Directors Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg (Kon-Tiki) are brought on helm this, and it didn’t this like this was filmed to be an actual movie at times. Both of them tried to go for that style that Gore Verbinski did with the first three movies but never reaches that quality. Most of the action sequences were alright, but it didn’t feel like there wasn’t any sense of danger while it’s happening. Nearly all the humor that was thrown in here wasn’t funny at all.

It is the shortest movie running in the franchise at 129 minutes. While it is short, it still feels longer than it sounds.

As the franchise becomes incoherent, there are some entertaining moments but nothing to be captivated by. The Pirates franchise needs to be more entertaining with thrilling action set pieces while not relying on humor or overblown characters to watch through. Being the fifth installment, I wish this was the last film, but it probably won’t be.  It will most likely be in the top 10 box office of the summer but it won’t be remembered long after it’s done. Something needs to be changed or just end this series as a whole.

It doesn’t sail smoothly as the original so there isn’t much to the mythology of the franchise overall.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales offers nothing exciting or new anymore to this now dull swashbuckling franchise.

Grade: C

Pirates of the Caribbean franchise ranked, best to worst: Curse of the Black Pearl, Dead Man’s Chest, Dead Men Tell No Tales, On Stranger Tides, At World’s End


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