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

The fifth entry into the swashbuckling action/fantasy franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales was directed by the duo of Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, and released in 2017. Johnny Depp returns as flamboyant Captain Jack Sparrow, who must team with Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites, Gods of Egypt) and Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario, The Maze Runner franchise) to escape the wrath of the undead pirate hunter Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) whilst searching for the mythical Trident of Poseidon.

+ Javier Bardem is fantastic, as he is in everything he is in. Bardem’s Salazar is equal parts Blackbeard and Barbossa (from the fourth and first films, respectively), and his menacing, tar spewing villain is easily the highlight of the film. I was also a fan of Scodelario’s Smyth, and I do hope she will continue to be in the future films, if any are made
+ there is some clever action with the now expected visual gags, and even a few genuinely funny jokes. In general, the ship-to-ship action is again the standout, and you can tell that the filmmakers were attempting to get the series back to it’s roots; this movie felt a lot like the first in terms of it’s tone
+ whilst none of the special effects can match up to Davy Jones from the second and third films, Salazar’s revenant crew is impressive, as they all retain their death-wounds in their undeath.

I’m not sure what the black stuff is meant to be, but it certainly is unsettling.

– overall, the plot is as standard as it gets. Bad guy wants revenge, good guys don’t want to be revenge’d and so both groups chase some magical Macguffin to solve all their issues. At least the previous movies had some solid bro-mances to keep it interesting; Sparrow and Henry Turner never seem to be on the same page at all
– David Wenham was completely wasted as secondary antagonist Lieutenant Scarfield, to the point where it was not even worth him being in the film. I’m a big fan of Wenham, and this left a bad taste in my mouth
– personally, I am completely over Johnny Depp, let alone his ‘wacky, zany or constantly drunk’ characters. Depp is still the focal point of the film, which is to be expected I suppose, but I was really hoping we could get some new blood in here

> Orlando Bloom does make a small cameo, as Henry’s father, Will. I wonder if the whole crew will be back together for the next movie. They’ll certainly need a big bad (or perhaps a few) to keep it a fair fight

Should you see this film: After hearing so much negative buzz about this, I went in not expecting much, but it turned out being a perfectly enjoyable 2+ hour watch. Bardem and Scodelario were great, the action was frantic and there are some good jokes to keep you interested. I can suggest this without any shame.


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