Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

03/21/2020 14:43

Film: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Year: 2017

Director: Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg

Writer: Jeff Nathanson

Starring: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush and Javier Bardem



I will lead off this review stating that I am fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean films. It is interesting that this all stemmed from a ride at Disney that has spawned into this series of films. One thing that does help is that there is a lot of lore involving the ocean and seas out there. The synopsis for this film is Captain Jack Sparrow searches for the trident of Poseidon while being pursued by an undead sea captain and his crew.

This film introduces the son of Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley). He is a young boy named Henry Turner and trying to find his father. He ends up performing a ritual that allows him to see Will. He is told that he needs to move on and that there is nothing he can do to help him. He is stuck on the Flying Dutchman for all of eternity.

Henry grows up to Brenton Thwaites and he is working on a British ship. They are chasing after some pirates and this takes them into a cove. Henry is branded as a mutineer by having his sleeves ripped. They don’t listen to him though. We do find the villain of this film, Javier Bardem as Captain Salazar. I really enjoyed this character’s back-story. He was a Spanish navy captain who was hunting down pirates. He had scourged most of the waters, but was foiled by a young Jack Sparrow. He has been sealed in the cove since, waiting to be free.

Reprising his role as Jack is Johnny Depp. We see that he is still a bumbling pirate and goes right back into this role as if he had never been away. His crew abandons him and he is penniless. He gives away his famous compass that directs him to where he needs to go. In giving it away, he frees Salazar. Also on this same island is Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario). She is being tried as a witch for studying astronomy. She does free herself from her cell. Also washing up on the island is Henry. The three of these meet up to try to find Poseidon’s Trident. Henry needs it thinking it will free his father from his curse.

The story of this film does do some good things for me. I love the concept of Salazar. He is a pirate hunter who is now a ghost that now he is freed is back to eliminating all pirates. His hatred for them is even more. He even wants to find the trident as he believes he could use it as a weapon. These films are geared down a teenage or a younger adult audience, but I like that it took a bit darker ton. There is quite a bit of bloodshed. To get around this, we don’t see a lot of the blood though. This is also a CGI fest with Salazar and his men. I’ve come to expect with these films though. I will give it credit as it does look real enough. It’s enjoyable in seeing him and his men attack other ships as well. They do some creative things with it.

We do get Captain Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) back in this film as well. He is a solid actor and really becomes this role. I even like that they tie his story into everything. It doesn’t feel forced to have him back as the back-story involving him works. It is also fun to see him as he is that character who constantly is just out for himself, much like a meaner version of Jack.

The two younger stars, Henry and Carina do give the film a fresh feel. They are both good looking and breathe some life into franchise. It also affords them the opportunity to continue it on if they want to as well. I really like the concept of Carina being into astronomy  which gets her persecuted as a witch, much like the scientists of the time. Using stars is the best way to navigate while being on the ocean from what I’ve learned since there’s no real landmarks aside from land. It is great though for this film as it incorporates mythology. The beings from these stories are also in constellations in the stars which I thought is a solid touch.

The rest of the supporting cast is really good as well. We get Kevin McNally back who is Gibbs. He has become a somewhat faithful partner to Jack and fun to see. Martin Klebba, Marty, is also back in this film. I did like to see the inclusion of David Wenham. He is Scarfield who is a British soldier. I think he is a solid supporting actor and his performance is good in this film.

Now the editing of the film itself is fine. We get the different groups where we can learn about them and then it works amongst them until the climax when everyone converges on each other. I think that is important when you are working with a film like this. An issue I have with all of these films is that they run a little bit long in my opinion, but it is hard to really see where to cut things to shorten it.

The score of the film was pretty solid. Geoff Zanelli composed this film and this is the first of the series he has worked on. I do feel that followed what the previous films did so I can’t give him too much credit. The theme was the same as the previous ones. He did go with the grand, classic style music that just fits. A lot of that is keeping up with the time period that the film was released, but also being on the open sea this is the type of music I’d associate with it as well.

I am adding this to the horror film research that I am conducting due to having horror film creatures like ghosts and zombies. It also has a lot of killing, which is kind of rare for a Disney based film. You don’t get to see a lot of it, but we still know that it is happening. This one especially as it seems to have a darker tone that many of the others.

And with that said, I would recommend seeing this film if you like the series. The actors that you’ve seen in the past reprise their roles and it seems like they never left. Bardem joining as Salazar was good. His character is quite dark and menacing. I liked the story as well as the mythology. This film doesn’t really violate anything that happened in past films, so that is good. The only thing is that the compass that Jack has is important again. I do have question in regards to that I need to check back on the previous films. The editing itself is fine, but it does run a little long. The score of the film is grand like the other films. It fits what the film is going for. Now this is a popcorn film with some horror elements to it. I enjoyed it, but do not come in expecting too much. I think this film is above average.


My Rating: 7 out of 10