Movies & TV Reviews

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

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Walt Disney Pictures

Arr me mateys, Jack Sparrow is back! That’s right, we have another Pirates of the Caribbean movie and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) marks the fifth installment of the franchise. It’s kind of hard to believe they’ve been cranking out Pirates movies since 2003. Don’t get me wrong, I dig Sparrow and the whole pirate thing, but how long can they keep this ship afloat? Well, as it turns out, the powers that be plan to set sail one more time. So, all told we’ll have six Pirates of the Caribbean films. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Black Pearl (2003), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006), Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) and Pirates of the Caribbean: six TBA (to be announced). Of course, things could change if Dead Men Tell No Tales doesn’t do well, but with a budget of $230 million and box office numbers hitting $794.1 million, I don’t see that being a problem. However, in September 2017, producer Jerry Bruckheimer stated that the sequel (sixth film) is still possible as long as Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales does well in the home release. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

So what are you getting into with Dead Men Tell No Tales if you haven’t taken the plunge? Well, for 129 minutes, you’ll be taken on an action/fantasy-filled adventure that’s rated PG-13 for violence. It goes something like this… We find Captain Jack Sparrow is still up to his pirate-like ways of searching for gold, emptying every barrel of rum and courting every woman he sees. All that changes when Jack finds out an old nemesis of his, Captain Salazar, has escaped from the Devil’s Triangle and is looking for him. Salazar was feared by most when he was alive, but with his ghostly abilities, he’s even more dangerous and he’s back to finish what he started… kill every pirate. If Jack has any hopes of defeating his ghostly nemesis, he’ll have to find the legendary Trident of Poseidon, which gives it’s possessor total control over the seas.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Walt Disney Pictures

I have to say: if anything, the pirate’s movies have stayed consistent in what they are. They found a formula that the fans like and they’ve used it for every movie. All the movies have the same look and filming style, which I actually like. It brings a sort of realism to the franchise. Some films try to change things up from movie to movie and while mixing things up does add a newness to things, it also adds a bit of separation to them, which makes one movie standout from the others in the franchise. Pirates from The Black Pearl to Dead Men Tell No Tales, looks and feels like a complete world. The story for Dead Men Tell No Tales fits perfectly into the fold with the other films. It’s wildly unbelievable at times, funny, it has great visuals, and it continues the tradition of delivering a new sea filled adventure with familiar faces.

The pacing is really good. The opening of the movie grabs your attention and the rest of the movie does a great job at keeping it. There’s a bunch of action scenes and chase scenes that are filled with some seriously cool special effects. One of the few things that bothered me was Jack didn’t seem like his usual pirate self; he seemed toned down or tame in this one. Like I said, they use the same Pirates formula in every movie. We see the same kind of trio dynamic (Depp, Knightly, and Bloom) that was in The Curse of the Black Pearl, here in Dead Men Tell No Tales (Depp, Scodelario, and Thwaites), but it felt different. In Curse, Jack was apart of the dynamic, but in this one, it felt like he was tagging along for the ride. Other than that, I really enjoyed the movie.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Walt Disney Pictures

Some of the cast is Johnny Depp (Edward Scissorhands), Geoffrey Rush (Shakespeare in Love), Brenton Thwaites (Maleficent), Kaya Scodelario (The Maze Runner), Kevin McNally (Pirates of the Carribean: The Curse of the Black Pearl), Martin Klebba (Pirates of the Carribean: The Curse of the Black Pearl), David Wenham (300), Orlando Bloom (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring), Golshifteh Farahani (Paterson), and Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men). The returning cast continues to bring the star power, and the new faces (Scodelario and Bardem) were a nice addition to the cast line-up. I thought Bardem was a great choice for Salazar and his part of the story made a great love/hate kind of character. Scodelario did a good job, but they didn’t have her character do a whole lot. Don’t get me wrong: she plays a super smart woman and helps lead the crew to what they’re looking for while working through some family issues, but that’s about it. I got used to when we had a female lead, and like Knightley, they were used for more than just story support.

The special effects looked great just like the rest of the films. The ghostly effects that they came up with for Captain Salazar and his crew were pretty cool to watch as they moved around. Just like the other films, there are some scenes that might frighten the little ones. The Curse of the Black Pearl had zombie-ish pirates and this one has some of that same kind of zombie-ish visuals popping up here and there. One of my favorite parts of the movie as far as effects go is when Salazar’s ship attacking. Yet again, they used some serious imagination when building how things move or work in the Dead Men Tell No Tales world, which created some killer scenes.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Walt Disney Pictures

Sidenote: Don’t bail out on the movie when you see the credits rolling because there’s a little post-credit surprise waiting for you…

Just a heads up: I didn’t watch Dead Men Tell No Tales on DVD, I caught it in the theater, but here are the special features you’ll get from the Blu-ray that was released October 3rd, 2017.

Dead Men Tell No Tales: The Making of a New Adventure: A seven-part feature.
A Return to the Sea: Cast and crew discuss returning to the franchise, making another epic film, and keeping the series fresh.
Telling Tales: A Sit-Down with Brenton & Kaya: The franchise’s newest actors reflect on their experiences in making the movie.
The Matador & The Bull: Secrets of Salazar & the Silent Mary: Cast and crew discusses the antagonistic character, the visual components and digital effects, Bardem’s portrayal, and more.
First Mate Confidential: A day in the life on the set of Actor Kevin McNally, who portrays Gibbs.
Deconstructing the Ghost Sharks: A short look at making one of the more interesting visuals from the film.
Wings Over the Caribbean: Paul McCartney makes a cameo in the film.
An Enduring Legacy: A short look back on the franchise.
Bloopers of the Caribbean
Jerry Bruckheimer Photo Diary: A quick collection of still photos Bruckheimer captured on-set.
Deleted Scenes: Highwayman, Henry Turner Learns a Lesson from Captain Jack, A Whale in Poseidon’s Tomb, and Alternate Coda: Murtogg & Mallory ‘Flogging’

Overall, Pirates fans won’t be disappointed. So, if you’re in the mood for some adventure, then hop on board and give this one a watch.

6

Score

6/10

Pros

  • Solid addition to the franchise
  • Good cast
  • Great visuals
  • Interesting post-credit scene

Cons

  • Jack seemed tamed down
  • Never enough rum
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