Greetings from Slovenia! I am excited to say that yesterday I had the opportunity to watch the fifth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise from a theater in Ljubljana. Thankfully, the movies here are in English with Slovene subtitles so it wasn’t that different from watching at home. In Europe, the movie is titled Salazar’s Revenge, rather than Dead Men Tell No Tales. Regardless of the name difference, I am confident that I would be having the same ratings discussion right about………now.
I don’t think I have ever met anyone who loves the Pirates franchise more than I do. I have been extremely excited for this movie for well over a year until just recently. The ratings and reviews started coming out and making me very worried that this movie could destroy an already sinking franchise. After seeing it, I can say that the overall quality of the movie is about what I expected but in ways that I would have never expected. There are good parts in this film, and as usual, we will start with those.
Brenton Thwaites played Henry Turner, the son of Will Turner, and was probably my favorite character in the movie. Not my favorite new character, my favorite character in general. That is a testament to how bad some of the other characters are but we will get to that later. Thwaites was a strapping boy that had the passion and charm of a young Will Turner from The Curse of the Black Pearl. I had a lot of fun watching him and comparing him to the Will Turner of old. Kaya Scodelario plays Carina Smyth, a woman that is thought to be a witch because she is “a woman of science”. I actually enjoyed her performance even though it didn’t seem like a very difficult role to play. If you add Javier Bardem to the list then I would have to say I enjoyed all of the new characters significantly better than the older ones in this film. Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightly both take up their old roles briefly but it is hardly enough to criticize their performances.
The music of this film is still excellent. Geoff Zanelli took the reigns on composing the franchise and did an awesome job in making it seem like it was still Zimmer doing the music. The music was honestly the only thing that really reminds you that you are still watching a Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
Probably the coolest scene in the entire movie was Salazar’s flashback scene. We see a young Jack take over the helm of a ship for the first time and outsmart Salazar. The scene was clever, funny, and well-done overall. It honestly made me think that a Pirates of the Caribbean prequel might be a cool thing to think about if you’re Jerry Bruckheimer.
As usual, there are some really funny scenes in this movie. Jack is still funny and there were at least 2 or 3 sequences that got me laughing really hard. The one the comes to mind immediately is the exchange between Carina and Jack as they are both about to be executed. Jack is locked into the guillotine and Carina is set to be hanged and they have this battle for the mic to get their last words in before they die. It was a really hilarious exchange that gave me hope for the rest of the movie. Unfortunately, that hope could only last so long.
This was not a Pirates of the Caribbean movie. There are so many things that make a stereotypical Pirates movie and other than the music, almost none of them were included. If they were included, they were done horribly wrong. One thing that I expect to see out of a Pirates movies is a witty escape by Captain Jack Sparrow. The movie made an attempt at a dramatic escape early on, and fell miserably on its own face in the process. During the escape Jack was completely drunk and pretty much did the whole thing by accident. Not at all like a Pirates movie. Unfortunately, this was only the first of many circumstances where the same thing can be said.
Jack Sparrow is one of my favorite movie characters of all time and I am disappointed to say that I felt like this movie made a mockery of him. He is basically the town fool and has very little importance to the plot of the movie at all. He spends the first half of the movie drunk and the second half of the movie not dying via a variety of stupid ex-machinas. I can honestly say that Jack could’ve been taken completely out of the movie and it wouldn’t have had a large effect on the plot. I don’t know how a franchise such as this could have gone so horribly wrong on a character they know so well. I am willing to bet it has more to do with Johnny Depp’s willingness to cooperate and put his all into this film then anything else. His performance just really disappointed me overall.
This movie is way more CGI heavy than any of the other installments of the franchise. Most of it was not just CGI, but it was bad CGI. I found myself noticing the obnoxiousness of the CGI almost constantly and it really put a damper on some of the action scenes. Not only that, but the storyline just didn’t flow at all. There were parts that felt rushed or omitted, and there were parts that felt like they didn’t need to be there at all. Poor writing= poor movie almost every time.
There are some good things about this film that make it possible to have fun with, but I found it to be a really rushed attempt to get another movie out there and make some money. This movie will make some money, but at the moment I am not even sure if I will buy it when it comes out or pretend like it doesn’t exist in context of the rest of series. If you are an avid Pirates fan, you will definitely enjoy having the chance to see some closure between the relationship of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann as this pentalogy comes to an end (or does it????, stay after the credits). However, I assume that most critics will agree that Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man Tell No Tales is little more than a shipwreck and the worst of the 5 films in my opinion.