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Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales


I figured we would see the end of these Pirates of the Caribbean movies after the third one was released all the way back in 2007. But since this is an age where franchises simply continue, I’m assuming we’re going to be getting them until they are no longer popular. That can be problematic as the franchises that refuse to die usually tend to run out of ideas after a while. And Dead Men Tell No Tales proves to be no different as many will believe that it falls right in with the failures of the movie that came right before it.

The fifth installment of the franchise catches up with Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) as he finds himself on the run from a group of ghostly sailors led by Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), an adversary from his past. He also crosses paths with a couple of younger people (Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario) who are in search of seemingly unanswerable questions. As it turns out, the only way any of them can solve their problems is locating the mythical Trident of Poseidon.

From the start, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales proves itself to be mediocre. You’ll eventually come to realize this and the fact that it never reaches too far above that level at any point during its run time. You can also say that it doesn’t seem to fall much further than that in some ways. That’s primarily because the level and quality of the movie stays the same throughout. Once they establish what one part of the story is going to be it seems like nothing we see is ever moving in an upward trajectory.

With things never changing being a clear reason why this doesn’t impress, it’s no shock the characters are also hurt by this. In many instances, characters can help pull audiences through the sludge of middling theatrics. However, this movie doesn’t allow for that since the personalities that would have been asked to do such a thing are dull and definitively one-dimensional. The people who we are introduced to at the beginning show nothing resembling growth or development as they remain the same all the way through. Obviously, this doesn’t allow them to create any sort of interest from viewers.

At least at the start of the franchise, Captain Jack Sparrow had something appealing about him. He’s rebellious, entertaining and somewhat of an anti-hero. As of right now, the qualities of this character don’t have the same power to attract when you look at his inability to do much of anything outside of showcase his inept skills. While he’s supposed to be the protagonist, he’s reduced to being used strictly for comic relief while the others serve as the reason why the plot move at all.

This doesn’t make the movie bad, but it does make the character of Jack Sparrow meaningless outside of the antagonist wanting revenge against him. Even that element is more of a subplot than anything since he’s also a thinly developed character who is instantly forgettable and has very little range. In the end, not having anyone in the movie worth paying attention to does too much damage to it and will hinder the success in terms of enjoyment for many people.

If you’re going to make a movie like this, giving viewers better characters and/or better action has to be a vital factor that has to be brought in. Including myself, audiences are sometimes forgiving if you can do that. We can ignore the flaws and simply allow ourselves to have a good time since that’s the reason why almost all of us go to the movies anyway. It’s just unfortunate that the creators behind this didn’t do that. This makes the finished product that we get here appear as if it’s nothing more than a grab at money even if that’s not the case.

Rating: PG-13

Directors: Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg

Johnny Depp
Brenton Thwaites
Kaya Scodelario
Geoffrey Rush
Javier Bardem
Orlando Bloom
Keira Knightley

Film Length: 135 minutes

Release Date: May 26, 2017

Distributor: Disney

  • Score - 3/10
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