FILM REVIEW: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

May 22, 2017


Over the span of almost two decades. The Pirates Of the Caribbean franchise has dominated theaters. Creating a cinematic empire of sorts garnering some of the highest domestic grossing films of all time with Deadman’s Chest and its successor At Worlds End.

With that being said that leaves for some high expectations. The Pirates series is known to be filled with irritable story inconsistencies and story lines that left vague questions as to the flying Dutchmen and its crew. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides was refreshing because it took a step back from the original trilogies mucky lore and gave us a fun one-shot adventure about Jack and the Fountain of Youth. This installment of the series falls back into the curse of Davey Jones.

Revolving around Will Turners son Henry as he searches for Neptunes Trident a magical artifact that can expel any curses of the sea. Jack himself is usually a pivotal character in each movie that helps with each climax. But in this film, the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow seems almost misplaced simply put here for fan fair even though the main underlying reasons for the antagonist Captain Salazar ( Javier Bardem) revolve around Jack it’s really only his compass that pushes the story forward.

Unfortunately in attempt to give more back story and origin to Jack Sparrow it made yet another loop in continuity as to how he acquired the compass via Calypso in Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Which now makes the film redundant. Neptunes Trident having the ability to remove all of the seas curses seems less like a cool plot device and more ethical frustration. Jack having the compass could have acquired Neptunes Trident while Barbossa and his crew were still cursed. Also simultaneously breaking the curse of the Flying Dutchmen on Davey Jones nullifying his debt.

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Pirates 5 had potential for a creative rebirth of the series. Paving way for the new generation with a new cast and fresh swash buckling adventures to be had but instead fell on the need to use Jack Sparrow as a crutch plot device. Nostalgic moments sprinkled throughout the film reenacting some of the famous scenes the Black Pearl fell flat due to Johnny Depp’s off acting and instead of reward for being a long running fan of the franchise was seemingly disappointed on most fronts as if he put little to no effort in his role this time around.

Seeming frazzled and almost not there at all the Jack Sparrow of this film was less the self-serving anti-hero who was intrinsic to the series with a purpose but more of a drunk lay about whose uncanny convenience in happening to be there added little to nothing to the finished product. Depp since Mordecai has sadly seen more ups than downs but with this movie seems to be skirting the mediocre line between the two.

New additions to the cast Brenton Thwaits (Henry Turner) and Kaya Scodelario (Carina Smyth) should’ve had more pivotal importance and been memorable. Instead in many ways the new cast just nonchalantly skirted us through a movie that wasn’t even necessary in the first place and it shows.

Coming from a long line of films with visually awe-inspiring imagery and set pieces not to mention incredibly laid out fight sequences. Pirates 5 gave us just more of the same. But not the kind of same that was necessarily great. Salazar’s men were a distinctive mix between the cursed crew of the Black Pearl and Davey Jones’s men which at this point is just repetitive with only the Silent Mary (Salazars ship) bringing something new to the table. Honestly, the coolest thing this movie gave me was the ghost sharks.

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One thing I will give credit to Pirates 5 where credit is due is in its resolution. Granting us the long awaited ending we had been longing for since Pirates 3 which gives us all the closure we truly needed for the series. But the road to that closure is a rocky one at best. Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales took away from the series more than it contributed. From poking more holes into previously established continuity, a sub-par action that held no memorable moments besides the bank scene and last but not least for the first time made me actually dislike Jack Sparrow.

Regrettably; I give Pirates Of The Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales a 6 out of 10 for giving us less when promising us more. For attempting to cheaply build off an already well-established franchise with all style and no substance and further mucking up the waters of its cinematic universe instead of clearing it up.

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