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)
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)