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

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Starring: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Kevin McNally, Golshifteh Farahani, David Wenham, Stephen Graham, and more.

Directed by: Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg Screenplay by: Jeff Nathanson Story by: Jeff Nathanson and Terry Rossio Based on Characters Created by: Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Stuart Beattie, and Jay Wolpert

Premise: Will’s son Henry has been trying to find a way to break his father’s curse. He believes Poseidon’s Trident has the power to do so. But to find it, he needs to find Jack Sparrow. But Henry is not the only one looking for Jack. Plus many others also want to get their hands on the Trident. The hunt for the treasure begins. (Rated PG-13)

Review:

1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: Johnny Depp once more reprises his unique take on a pirate captain as Captain Jack Sparrow. His crazy expressions, obfuscation, and general “go with the flow” attitude are in high force. Brenton Thwaites is very reminiscent of Orlando Bloom’s Will Turner, which seems apt as he is playing his son Henry. Kaya Scodelario as Carina Smyth is spunky, stubborn, and driven. Javier Bardem does a nice job as Captain Salazar. Geoffrey Rush gets to prove to everyone Captain Barbossa has got it all. Then comes to realize there is an even greater treasure to be had. Loved the expressions as the truth of things finally began to register. 🙂

2) Special Effects – Total Thumbs Up: Special effects tend to make up large sections of the “Pirate of the Caribbean” movies and “Dead Men Tell No Tales” is no exception. The smoky piecemeal appearance of Salazar’s crew is neat and very haunting. The effect when they touch land even more so.

The whole gag with the bank robbery and running through town was great! Only Jack has this kind of weird luck. Oh, and wait until you see the guillotine gag – hilarious!

Salazar’s ship was fabulous! A literal shark of the seas. I also loved what they did with the masthead later in the film. Too fun! The undead birds and sharks were a nice addition as well. The monkey is still a total ham. 😛

They did save the best to show toward the end. The island holding the last clue to Poseidon’s Trident was gorgeous! The area that unfolds from there was way cool as well. They did all sorts of fun things with water. And the trident itself was lovely. Something more befitting of the sea than the usual trident portrayal.

The Black Pearl’s transformation was also a lot of fun. Especially when the change stalls. Later, the maneuverings with the edge of the water and the anchor looked great!

3) Story – Neutral: I wish those who give the final okay on scripts and changes would remember the devil is in the details. While they carefully kept track of some information, they totally disregarded others, so certain things made no sense. For example: Don’t make a commander who is dead set on killing witches, and will hunt them relentlessly with all the soldiers at his disposal, then turn around and go pay/use one to come do magic! Also, if you have a captain say he only ever kills pirates, don’t have him going around killing non-pirates! (Since Salazar is a Spaniard, adding two words to his statements would have fixed this. Just say “pirates and Inglés,” and he would have been covered to kill all the Brits and pirates he wanted without anyone raising an eyebrow.)

Another bit that seemed weird is that Disney appeared to pull the same thing they did with “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” – they tried to cookie cutter the new film into a clone of the first with bits from the others. What is that about? Girl in distress, a boy about to get killed, Jack in trouble, all looking for a special treasure as they are hunted by the undead. Huh. It’s like they’re afraid to try new plots. 🙁

One thing I did like was the undercurrent themes of obsession, drive, and what we should all truly treasure.  Pay attention to the ship names as well, there are some subtle jokes going on there. 🙂

Another subtle bit was Jack’s descent since the events from years before when he bid his friends goodbye. His luck, his drive, his sense of purpose, all eroded by his inability to help Will. Jack’s final comment as he spies upon events on the hillside at the end said it all – veiled as usual of course.

Do make sure to sit through the credits! One final scene at the very end. 🙂

4) Stunts – Total Thumbs Up: Much to love in the stunt department. Pratfalls, guillotines, hangings, chases, sword fighting, shark wrangling, and much more. Of particular fun was Jack’s fight/chase scene between two ships jumping from canon to canon. 😛

5) Locations/Cinematography – Total Thumbs Up: Filmed in different parts of Queensland, Australia, there were plenty of gorgeous shots of the bay, the sea, and the sky. The sunrise over the map island and the blood moon are especially lovely. Add in the CGI locations like the Devil’s Triangle and the resting place of Poseidon’s Trident, and you’re in for many visual treats.

Conclusion: Though a fun romp and filled with cool effects, “Dead Men Tell No Tales” felt too much like a retelling of the original “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Some inconsistencies drew away from the fun. Stay through the credits for a final scene at the very end!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

 

Movie Review – Gods of Egypt

Gods of Egypt

Starring: Brenton Thwaites, Courtney Eaton, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Gerard Butler, Elodie Yung, Chadwick Boseman, Rufus Sewell, Bryan Brown, and many more.

Directed by: Alex Proyas Written by: Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless Cinematography by: Peter Menzies Jr. Music by: Marco Beltrami

Premise: In ancient Egypt, the gods walked the earth. As Osiris prepares to hand over the kingdom to his son Horus, his brother Set has other plans. And it is the humans who will pay the greatest price. (Rated PG-13)

Review:

1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: Brenton Thwaites is fun as the plucky mortal, Bek. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau was perfect for the role of the spoiled prince and later the bereaved god Horus. Gerard Butler brought a nice manic intensity to his portrayal of Set. Courtney Eaton was adorable as Zaya, with Elodie Yung as a very independent Hathor.

2) Special Effects – Total Thumbs Up: Lots and lots of CGI and fun effects in this film. Egypt is amazing to behold! All the locations depicted were full of detail. There are a ton of little touches that tie back to individual gods giving them their own little bits – like Set’s chariot being pulled by giant Egyptian beetles or Hathor’s flying carriage pulled along by flocks of birds.

To make sure viewers can tell the difference between the gods and the mortals, they did a size difference thing similar to what was done for the Lord of the Rings films but bigger. Makes for some neat visualizations when the gods and mortals interact together. And gods bleed gold!

Some of the most amazing visuals were simple, and made all the more awe inspiring because of it. The high peak with the large ring shaped like the sun. The dried out gardens belonging to Osiris, and the brief glimpse of what they’d been like as Horus recalls it to his memory.

The transformations and cool weapons were nicely handled. The creatures and traps were great. Lots of food for the eyes in this one.

3) Plot/Story – Thumbs Up: A piece of the basic premise/plot comes from actual Egyptian mythology. The stories of old are based on how at one time the gods did walk the earth with mortals. As in the mythology, Osiris is murdered by Set and split into 14 pieces, though Isis did not give birth to Horus until after she’d put her husband back together again. So while some details have been tweaked for convenience, there is still a bit of the old legends in there.

I liked their take on the core of a god’s power being an object. Made for some interesting twists as things moved along.

Jealousy, love, light and darkness, loss, revenge, wisdom — all themes common in many old and new stories. And they still managed to sneak an unusual spin here and there. This is an adventure, so it is pretty simple and straight. Set obviously spent way too much time in the desert and it fried his brain. But it still made for a fun ride.

4) Stunts – Total Thumbs Up: Mostly CGI, we still got some smacking and throwing around of actual people. The two were integrated very well, making for several fun battles. Even the giant snakes fit right in. 🙂

5) Locations/Cinematography – Total Thumbs Up: If I had one complaint about the cinematography, it would be that they didn’t let us see enough of some of the locations! I wanted more of a tour of some of these place! 🙂 The sweeping images of the prosperous capital were lovely. Horus’ temple was a gorgeous work of dark stone. The summit where Horus goes to pray to Ra was awesome in its grand simplicity.

6) Costuming/Makeup – Thumbs Up: Strangely, I thought they ‘dropped the ball’ a little with the costumes. While Bek’s and Horus’s costumes fit overall (and Thoth’s!), and they had neat head coverings/hats that looked wonderful, the women’s clothes, especially Hathor’s, seemed totally uninspired. 🙁 Even the head builder was dressed better and more fitting of the theme than most of the ladies. made me sad. 🙁

7) Music – Total Thumbs Up: The score by Marco Beltrami fit perfectly. Gave the film a theme of its own, yet filled it full of the sounds we think of belonging to ancient Egypt.

Conclusion: Gods of Egypt is a lovely visual fantasy. A fun adventure of mortals and gods.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)