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 – Alice Through the Looking Glass

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Sacha Baron Cohen, Rhys Ifans, Matt Lucas, Lindsay Duncan, Leo Bill, Alan Rickman, Geraldine James, and more.

Directed by: James Bobin Screenplay by: Linda Woolverton Based on books by: Lewis Carroll Cinematography by: Stuart Dryburgh Music by: Danny Elfman

Premise: Alice comes home from China to find that things are not as she left them. Stepping through the looking glass, she learns matters aren’t any better on the other side. To help the Mad Hatter, she must go back in time and find out what happened to his family. Yet there’s more danger in her mission than she realizes. A lot more. (Rated PG)

Review:

1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: Mia Wasikowska reprises her role as the spunky Alice to good effect. She appears a lot more comfortable with her role than in the first film. Johnny Depp gets to explore some unexpected sides of the Mad Hatter. Leo Bill was fun as the extreme Hamish. Sacha Baron Cohen was fascinating, and fluid, as Time. Helena Bonham Carter was fun as always as chaotic Iracebeth.

2) Special Effects – Total Thumbs Up: If you can manage it, try to see this one in 3D or IMAX if at all possible. The special effects will make it totally worth it. From the mad dash of the Wonder through shallow waters to the Chronos Orb eye popping voyage over the seas of time. Lots and lots of amazing sights await.

Especially cool were the Grand Clock and the Chronos Orb itself. The Mad Hatters’ transformations from his illness were lovely. Time was amazing! The actor moving here and there and the audience seeing the machinery sticking out from the back of his head. It truly looked like it was a piece of him. Fabulous!

The vegetable people and the clockwork people looked awesome. The upright fish people were also rather interesting.

And if you enjoy the neat, unfolding buildings in the beginning of Game of Thrones, you’ll like the cute unfolding little tales during the credits.

3) Plot/Story – Thumbs Up: I enjoyed this second film a lot better than the first. The plot seemed more solid and fascinating. Life on both sides of the looking glass showed different facets of the same problems.

Friendship and family were the main recurring themes. And like the first film, it hints at how a small thing can begin a chain of events that end in unforeseen and even tragic results. Bits of darkness, than in and of themselves don’t seem like much, but can fester and grow until they are out of control.

They have some rather cute after moments that run through the credits, too. Like extra bits from after Alice’s visit.

4) Stunts – Total Thumbs Up: Lots of tumbles, crashing, jumping. A few of the landings from both the Chronos Orb and Time’s other machine looked like they hurt! 😛

5) Costuming/Makeup – Total Thumbs Up: The period costumes were very nice. And I loved the female captain uniforms. I also thought that Alice’s oriental dress was gorgeous. The makeup work on the Mad Hatter was superb, especially as it kept changing. They even used the makeup for some subtext with regards to Iracebeth as well.

Conclusion: Alice Through The Looking Glass is a fun ride with lots of gorgeous special effects. Definitely put the Wonder in Wonderland. 🙂

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!)