Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales SPOILER-FREE Review
I have never been a big fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. I loved the first film when I was younger. I haven't seen it in a long time, but I remember it being fun and adventurous. I was going to re-watch in preparation for this new one, but I just never got around to it. I saw the second film a while ago, but was bored by it. And I never ended up seeing the third or fourth installments. For the longest time, I had zero interest in this fifth film, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. I thought it was going to be just like all the others. But then it was screened at CinemaCon a couple months back, and people came out of it saying that the franchise had finally course-corrected back to what made the first one so much fun. After hearing that, I suddenly gained interest in seeing this one. I thought that there was a good chance I would be entertained, and would end up enjoying myself. So I went in actually pretty excited. And, unfortunately, it ended up being exactly what I thought it was going to be before. I didn't hate the movie, but Dead Men Tell No Tales is boring when it should be exciting, and Johnny Depp's performance suffers from utter fatigue.
Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) travels with a new team in search of the Trident of Poseidon, in order to stop the undead, led by the villainous Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem).
I think the visuals of this movie look great. It certainly has a wonderful color palette. There is clearly a lot of care and attention that goes into the production design, the costumes, and the hair and makeup. All of those production elements are really good, and definitely stand out. I also thought the CGI worked. In the trailers, it looked a little iffy. However, in the finished film, it looks really good. It's not as outstanding as say the CGI for the new Planet of the Apes movies, but it blended pretty well with the live action elements of the movie. I really liked the concept of the undead. I think the idea of them being broken bits and pieces of their previous selves made for some very interesting visuals. I also loved how their hair would stay suspended in the air. I thought that concept was fantastic. I also really liked the introduction of the new characters. I thought Kaya Scodelario had a more interesting and layered character than Brenton Thwaites did, but I thought they both did a really good job. Geoffrey Rush returns for this movie. Sometimes his performance was a little cheesy, but I thought he did stand out from the others as being one of the highlights of the movie.
This movie is just really boring. I was not engaged for 99% of the action sequences. The setting of the third act was really unique and involved breathtaking set design, so that caught my eye. But I thought most of what was happening was either bland dialogue or a meaningless action scene. I never felt any stakes, nor any real investment in what was going on. You may say "Well that's just because you're not a fan of the franchise!" This film should stand on its own. I may not understand every little thing, but I should be able to watch this, and appreciate and enjoy it for what it is, separate from the other films. And it didn't do that. I think if you like the style of the other movies, then you may enjoy this one more than I did. But I think my enjoyment of Dead Men Tell No Tales (or lack thereof) has nothing to do with my not being a fanboy of this franchise. I found myself looking around the theater a lot, and just not invested in what was happening on screen. This movie should have made me care about these characters, or at least what was going on. But it was just a repeat of all the same things that weighed down the previous movies.
I am really sick of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. The first time it was innovative, but at this point he's just f*cking annoying. I was hoping he was going to die the entire film. When he wasn't on screen, I was able to get into the movie more. But anytime he showed up (and he is the main character), I was just annoyed. His shtick has gotten really old at this point. He's not funny anymore. His humor is just stale. This movie is chalk-full of jokes, and I think I chuckled only a couple of times. Most of the humor ultimately falls flat. It's not even funny; it's just stupid. I shouldn't have to explain humor to the filmmakers, but it's only funny when it actually pertains to the story or to the characters. Having random things happen for the hell of it isn't funny. From the beginning, I was really intrigued by Javier Bardem's involvement in the movie. He's an Oscar-winning actor, and I was interested to see what he would bring as the villain. I think I was expecting more from him than I should have. He was cheesy and hammy, but proportionately so for the movie. I was expecting more of a terrifying antagonist, and I'm not sure why I expected that from a Pirates movie. This was no fault of Bardem's; he was just doing what the movie and directors called for him to do. But I went in really excited to see what he would give us, and it wasn't anything remotely special.
Overall, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is a disappointment. You may love it if you're a fan of the franchise, but as someone who was hoping for a course-correction, it just does the exact same thing it did before. The visuals are great, as well as the CGI. All of those elements were really good, as they are in the other movies. The new characters were also interesting. But Johnny Depp is just annoying as Captain Jack Sparrow at this point. He's done it so many times, and the character doesn't change or develop. It's no longer fresh or innovative; it's just annoying. I was (perhaps unfairly) expecting a lot from Javier Bardem as the villain, and he was incredibly cheesy. Proportionately so for the movie, but I was expecting more from him. Most of the humor doesn't land either, and the action sequences aren't exciting at all. I was bored throughout most of the movie, minus a couple of scenes. In the end, if you were hoping for something new from this franchise, you won't see it with Dead Men Tell No Tales.
What do you think? Have you seen Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales? Did you like the film? Leave your (spoiler-free) thoughts in the comments section below.
Written by: Nate
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