Dead Man Tell No Tales Review
Why I took so long
Recently I went and saw the fifth installment of the ride-turned-to-movie franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean. I had mixed feelings about going to see this film, because of the following reasons.
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The con side:
- It’s the fifth freaking movie of Pirates. (Can we talk cash cow?)
- It has gotten so much bad press from Johnny Depp and his then-wife, delays, reshoots, and finally the movie leak/hacking just weeks before it was released. It was all just swirling with bad luck.
- The fourth (On Strangers Tide) left a really bad taste in my mouth, and I can still taste it.
On the pro side:
- I wanted to see this because I was, and am, still hoping this is the final chapter of Pirates. I will get back to this point later.
- Another reason is that in my teens, I grew up with this movie franchise, and as a child, I grew up with the ride. Which, by the way, Pirates of the Caribbean is my ultimate favorite ride in Disneyland. When the movie came out, it was like my childhood came to life on the screen, and suddenly didn’t feel that far away from Disneyland as I thought I was. I felt like I owed my younger self to watch it, no matter how crappy On Stranger Tides was.
- Lastly, I heard that Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan will be reprising their roles, thus cementing that this would be the last and final ride and everything would be wrapped up in a neat little bow.
So, with all of these feelings of nostalgia and disappointment, I headed out and watched this movie hoping for the best.
Thoughts Before The Movie
Quite honestly, I was surprised by all the hype that Dead Man Tell No Tales was getting in the normal press junket. There was, even more, hype amongst Disney Fans, which was actually getting me all psyched to go see #5. Then I would gently let myself down by remembering what happened in On Stranger Tides. It was a very tedious back and forth while I was looking at all the promotions. The trailers were spectacular, which brought back to everyone loved the first Pirates and Captain Jack Sparrow. It was promising us a lot of action and a lot of pirates, and of course, a lot of Jack.
The hype on the Disney side was phenomenal, and everyone was talking about it and it looked like in the parks you couldn’t turn around without some kind of PotC merchandise or plug for the new movie. Not that it was a bad thing, PotC5 had some competition with Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2, Cars 3, a new ride, and a new land all premiering close to each other.
After the movie came out, my Twitter feed was blowing up with all the rave reviews that PotC5 was up there on their top 3 of the PotC movies. Mind you my Twitter feed is mostly of Disney fans and like-minded people. From my Facebook side, the movie premiered and I heard nothing, except for a few blips on the trailer.
You can say that I was getting conflicting responses, and I wasn’t sure what I was exactly looking for before heading into the movie. This is probably why it took me so long to actually watch it in theaters. I didn’t want to be disappointed. I didn’t want a movie franchise that I grew up with, loved, and held so high on my list of my favorite movies to be strung along and forced to continue because it’s popular. (Also, I am a mom and it is hard to get out just to watch a movie by myself).
I survived and I will give you my honest review of this film, with no spoilers. When I mean no spoilers, I mean I will talk about certain points in the movie that won’t come to any surprise for people who watched the trailers or read the synopsis. I will not spoil any key plot points, surprises, or the ending.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man Tell No Tales
Starring: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Brand Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Kevin McNally, and Geoffrey Rush.
Dead Man Tell No Tales starts off where At World’s End ends, literally. If you remember the post credit scene from At World’s End, Elizabeth and her son are looking off into the distance as Will Turner returns from the sea. Dead Man uses that scene as a reference point and expands on it while introducing Henry Turner, the son of Will Turner, and his quest to release his father from the seas. An orphan, Carina Smyth, joins his quest while also following the stars and her father’s book. And then there is Jack, who just so happens to get dragged along with these Elizabeth Swan and Will Turner clones.
Enter probably the coolest and scariest antagonist of the Pirates franchise, Captain Armando Salazar. He looks to be forever stuck underwater, no matter if he walks or talks. He looks downright frightening, with black cracks along his face, the back of his head looks blown off, as his hair swirls around giving him the aura of death. Which he actually claims to be, along with whispering the movie title with a raspy gurgle as black tar drip from his lips. His whole goal of his non-existence is to exact revenge on Jack Sparrow for making him the way he is now. This is where we discover not only Salazar’s backstory, but Jack’s, which explains a lot of Jack-ness that never was explained before.
The threesome gets into a bunch of crazy hijinks together trying to follow Carina’s book, along the way running into our favorite pirates from the past movies like Gibbs, Barbossa, Jack the monkey, and even Mullroy and Murtogg.
My Initial Thoughts
I quite enjoyed this movie very much, but I felt like it lacked something. Seeing how the directors (Joachim Ronnin and Espen Sandberg) have changed since the trilogy (Gore Verbinksi), it probably had something to do with it. I can definitely say this movie was Pirates of the Caribbean eye candy. It’s got the pirates, the ships, explosions, and the cursed supernatural, everything that Pirates of the Caribbean is known for. It just lacked depth.
When I was trying to explain the plot to my husband after the movie, I noticed how flawed the story actually was. There were so many different kinds of elements, plot points, and stories it is hard to explain this movie to someone else without sounding like you are backtracking a lot. In no way am I saying it’s a terrible movie, just stating the movie didn’t flow, and was kind of chaotic and had unneeded scenes. I guess that’s what you get with Jack Sparrow.
The unneeded scenes were kind of mind-blogging about why they were there. There are two scenes that stand out which I truly believe could have been left out and no one would of miss them. I’m sure you heard the many articles that Paul McCartney makes a cameo in this movie, right? Unfortunately, Sir Paul is in one of these scenes, which he is most likely the reason why we had it. They needed that cameo. I just think they could have added that scene more seamlessly than just added it in as an afterthought.
The other scene, was more of comedic effect and just made me squirm in my chair, and wished I took my bathroom break during this scene. (Darn those large movie cups)
Despite these few hiccups, the special effects were by far the stars of the show. The effects they did with Salazar and his crew are by far is amazing and you don’t get sick of staring at it or looking for the CGI dots. Your mind kind of accepts the CGI and you can’t help but admire it all. Even Salazar’s ship is a character, reminding me of a preying shark. Any scene with this ghostly crew, I was immediately turned into.
The CGI does turn on you when we get to the backstory scene between Jack and Salazar. From the Dead Man’s trailers, you get a sneak peek of this young Jack, who is actually played by Anthony De La Torre, by the way. I will provide a picture of Anthony.
He does look like a Jack Sparrow/Johnny Depp look-a-like, but there was some CGI help aiding in at least a couple scenes with Young Jack. It kind of had a Rogue One Tarkin vibe going on when he scratches his face.
Characters That Stood Out to Me
Speaking of Jack Sparrow, I felt like we lost Jack a little bit in this movie. Or maybe all the heat and booze finally had done a number on him. I say this because from what I remember from the previous films (and yes even PotC4) that Jack Sparrow wasn’t just this dumb pirate that was a drunkard and blowhard, but he was just playing everyone and was actually dubious, cunning, thought 12 steps ahead of everyone, and was secretly looking out for others. In this movie, however, it felt like he was just drunk and stupidly lucky. The focus wasn’t necessary on him and what he wanted (which the compass plays a part in this), but what he was. Sad really.
Will Turner returns, and boy has he aged well. He isn’t the whiny eunuch anymore. He didn’t have a lot of screen time but what he had left a big impression on me. I wanted more.
Henry Turner and Carina Smyth are the new Elizabeth Swan and Will Turner. I wasn’t kidding earlier that they were clones. I like Carina because she could talk circles around all the men, and still brought the sass every time people questioned why she was smart. Henry, I wasn’t too impressed with. These two have a romance, obviously, and it seemed more forced than anything.
Captain Salazar was my favorite character in this movie. I do like Jack, but for reasons, I mentioned before he kind of just felt like a background character, like in At World’s End. Salazar was the one that made me feel for him. I don’t know if it was intentional, but before we know about his backstory you kind of feel sorry for him. Without a good villain, you wouldn’t have a good story.
Although the story does run into some dead ends and it is very choppy in some parts. I was saddened that there wasn’t much of any tie into the ride that this movie is based off. Except for the subtitle, Dead Men Tell No Tales. From the trailers, it made it seem like the franchise was wrapping up and ending on a high note. This could have been on a high note if they put a little extra into tying up the loose ends from the other films, yet it seemed like they did this fast and quick. Maybe that is why they put in a very questionable post-credit scene, hinting at a possible sixth PotC film. I hope they don’t do this since they struggled with Jack Sparrow and what to do with him in this film, I can’t imagine how they will handle the next film. This was a good ending for our favorite pirate
As I said before I enjoyed this movie. How could I not, it had everything that contains a good mix of an action movie. There were explosions, chase scenes, pirates, an awesome villain, curses, pirates. Visually it’s great, they didn’t miss the details of locations in the movie. You felt immersed in this past world of pirates. CGI blends perfectly with these locations and sea scenes. None of the CGI looks forced or obvious (except for the young Jack scenes), which could take you right out of the movie. A good villain and a shared goal on the high seas with our favorite pirate characters.
It may not be my number one PotC movie, but it was entertaining and I will be owning it when it goes to DVD.
Now out on Blue-Ray
MouSeekers gives 2.5 binoculars out of 5
Have you seen Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man Tell No Tales? Tell me what you thought? Do you agree or not agree with my review? Tell me why! I love to hear what other fellow Pirate-lovers thought!