Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Review

Jordan Samuel Jordan Samuel
Expert Contributor
June 1st, 2017

Content Editor, Film Critic and Writer for ComiConverse.com, the Founder and co-host of the official Nerdcast Network Podcast

Price:
More of the Same

Reviewed by:
Rating:
2
On June 1, 2017
Last modified:June 1, 2017

Summary:

The movie will be a treat for returning fans as Dead Men Tell No Tales brings back the franchise to its silly swashbuckling roots- with enough Johnny Depp to fill a boatload as the little changes will satisfy any cravings for those dirty pirates. But is that enough in 2017? I’m not the biggest fan but guarantee fun for franchise followers

Price:
More of the Same

Reviewed by:
Rating:

2
On June 1, 2017
Last modified:June 1, 2017

Summary:

The movie will be a treat for returning fans as Dead Men Tell No Tales brings back the franchise to its silly swashbuckling roots- with enough Johnny Depp to fill a boatload as the little changes will satisfy any cravings for those dirty pirates. But is that enough in 2017? I’m not the biggest fan but guarantee fun for franchise followers

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Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl surprised many in 2003, with Disney's signature charm lending itself to the swashbuckling genre. Gore Verbinski brought the Disneyland attraction to the big screen and created a renowned movie series. Eventual sequels forgot the franchise's savvy roots by including excessively complex storytelling, while needlessly expanding the Pirate universe with new characters and unneeded themes.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Review

Credit: Disney

 

The recent release Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides failed critically, but made $1.045 billion at the box office, showcasing a general respect for the series in the general public. But six years on, does the sequel Dead Men Tell No Tales (subtitled Salazar’s Revenge in several other countries) give us a credible franchise revival? Find out as ComiConverse takes to the high seas with Jack Sparrow one more time.

Johnny Depp returns to the big screen as the iconic, swashbuckling anti-hero Jack Sparrow in the all-new "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales." The rip-roaring adventure finds down-on-his-luck Captain Jack feeling the winds of ill-fortune blowing strongly his way when deadly ghost sailors, led by the terrifying Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), escape from the Devil's Triangle bent on killing every pirate at sea-notably Jack. Jack's only hope of survival lies in the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it he must forge an uneasy alliance with Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), a brilliant and beautiful astronomer, and Henry (Brenton Thwaites), a headstrong young sailor in the Royal Navy. At the helm of the Dying Gull, his pitifully small and shabby ship, Captain Jack seeks not only to reverse his recent spate of ill fortune but to save his very life from the most formidable and malicious foe he has ever faced.

Gore Verbinski's character-driven direction, gave The Curse of the Black Pearl a timeless blockbuster feel, with Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow performance creating a new standard for the pirate stereotype. It brought families together with accessible elements that stood out from the crowd, but with the superhero genre taking over cinema – Jack and his friends soon lost that appeal.

Comedy was an enormous factor in the Pirates of the Caribbean success story, as Verbinski brought in elements which made lighthearted fun of the Pirate label.

Story continues below

Credit: Disney

2017 brings us Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, a finale to a long drawn-out franchise, with increasingly run-of-the-mill results. Numbly feeling like one shot-for-shot remake of the original, but lacking gravitas and intrigue, Dead Men Tell No Tales is simply more of the same.

In an era of big yearly movie franchises, this might not be enough to win over a new audience. Dead Men Tell No Tales is better than previous iterations, but that is not saying much. Directors Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandberg bring the series back to square one, focusing more on the characters than obscure storylines.

Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandberg are not perfect here, due to overreliance on enforced comedy, which fails to connect on any level. Expecting the audience to burst out laughing at poorly-written unoriginal gags. Dead Men Tell No Tales provides more of the overly confident Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) as writers Jeff Nathanson and Terry Rossio try to give the character a fleshed-out backstory. This is the eventual set-up for the antagonist Salazar.

Credit: Disney

Johnny Depp returns as a now drunken Captain Jack Sparrow, delivering his signature pantomime performance, again going over-the-top with the famous antihero swashbuckler.  Dead Men Tell No Tales tries to give us Jack’s backstory but this is thrown away for another silly gag. Big mistake.

Jack Sparrow has decent screen-time, but he feels forced into the adventure, with his story eventually coming across pointless to his character’s development. Fans of the pirate might be happy for more shenanigans but Johnny Depp's performance felt stale - with each sequence ending up going on for too long, and not adding much to his story.

Capitan Armando Salazar, played by Javier Bardem is an undead pirate-hunter, who commands the ghost ship Silent Mary. Salazar is filled with anger after being duked by Jack Sparrow, and attempts to track down the man who ruined his life.

Salazar had potential to shock everyone as a great villain, but instead, Javier Bardem seems disinterested and eventually wasted in his role. He is sidelined throughout the run-time, in favor of various other plot threads. Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandberg both try to make a menacing villain out of Javier Bardem’s Salazar who - in the end - cannot be understood due to a ridiculously strong accent and poor character motivations.

Credit: Disney

The old school Pirates team (Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Geoffery Rush, Orland Bloom and Keira Knightley) are here in various roles. They are all poorly written and add nothing to plot, outside helping Captain Jack overcome his problem. Geoffery Rush is awe-inspiring as Barbossa, giving us another great performance, which cuts against cast members who all seem disconnected from continuing the franchise.

Dead Men Tell No Tales disappoints in numerous ways, straying away from original ideas. . It doesn’t progress the story going forward – throwing away a potential great Captain Jack adventure for more of the same.

The movie will be a treat for returning fans as Dead Men Tell No Tales brings back the franchise to its silly swashbuckling roots- with enough Johnny Depp to fill a a dozen life boats. It will satisfy any cravings for deep Pirates fans, but is that enough in 2017?

Story continues below

I’m not the biggest fan of this one,  but it should be fun for franchise followers.

 

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

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More of the Same

The movie will be a treat for returning fans as Dead Men Tell No Tales brings back the franchise to its silly swashbuckling roots- with enough Johnny Depp to fill a boatload as the little changes will satisfy any cravings for those dirty pirates. But is that enough in 2017? I’m not the biggest fan but guarantee fun for franchise followers

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