Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

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Edited- 05/27/17- I made a mistake in my review and said that this was the final Pirates of the Caribbean film.  Apparently they are making at least one more. Though I must say it is misleading to use the words FINAL ADVENTURE in your trailer. Final means last, not second to last!

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Starring: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush

Opening Thoughts:

I can’t believe they made five of these films. After the fourth, I swore I’d never watch another (it was THAT bad to me).  However, Javier Bardem and a fun trailer gets me to the theaters for this one.  Plus, I needed a fun summer flick and I got it with this movie.

Plot:

Captain Jack Sparrow and an assorted lot of unique characters go looking for an artifact which would be the end to all curses.

What I Didn’t Like

There are some little things I didn’t like about the film.  The humor many times landed flat. There were a few ridiculous eye roll moments. (Move over Anderson Cooper, I got you beat this time.)

Jack Sparrow has lost his mojo. He is no longer the awesome guy from the original film (art reflects life). Many of us remember how energetic and confident he was in the first film. Some of this has been chipped away in the character by events in previous films, but some of it falls on the writers.  He isn’t the same guy we loved before.

The story was predictable to a fault. You had a good idea how everything was going to go more or less, and you are correct.  (With maybe one exception.)

The acting by many was average. I didn’t find anyone terrible, but nobody will be winning an Oscar for these roles.

The overall writing was very messy. Too many characters, several of them not needed at all. Plenty of story-lines to follow. Again, some of them pointless.  It felt like it fit two or possibly three films into one. That writing led to confusion at times and felt sloppy.  It was a 90 minute film stretched to about two hours.

 

What I Did Like

Now I mentioned that it was predictable, but I should also tell you it was fun. (Not the destination, but the journey that matters.) The high-energy action scenes kept you engaged from start to finish.

I found Javier Bardem as Captain Salazar to be wonderful. The effects they used on his body and crew was awesome. Gave it this definitive fantasy/cursed look from under the waves themselves.  Also, he was a menacing and passionate villain.  Bardem brings it for this role, perhaps a bit over-the-top, but that is fitting given the movie.

The first two acts had strengths and weaknesses for sure, but the third act rises up to what is a thrilling conclusion. The action superb, special effects were beautiful, and the various story arcs came full circle. Some in ways I didn’t expect.

One of my favorite character arcs happened to be Captain Barbossa. At first, I felt he was fan service on board for one final cruise and nothing more, but by the end of the film I was incredibly satisfied with his story.  There is some really neat ideas which initiated in the first act and came around to conclude the third. Awesome stuff.

Finally, there is some fan service.  If you have watched these films and enjoyed them at various levels. Always a few things felt wrong, but this gave the fans some love. There is no existential crisis, there is nothing really unsolved.  A satisfying conclusion (should be, but likely isn’t) to a franchise. (Now let it go, Disney. Let it rest for a while PLEASE.)

Conclusion:

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is not the best film in the franchise, but I think it a step up from the last film.  While the writing was sloppy, the film  was entertaining.  Action and special effects engaging, quality villain,and some neat story arcs.  Pirates 5 broke no new ground and followed several predictable story-lines,but it remained a fun, feel-good summer flick.

The Ladder: 

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

Pirates of the Caribbean; Dead Man’s Chest (2006)

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)

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