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

12a, Action
Director: Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg
Screenwriters: Jeff Nathanson
Starring: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Geoffery Rush, Kaya Scodelario, Brenton Twaites


Dead Men Tell No Tales is the 5th installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean Franchise and is about finding the Trident of Poseidon, an object capable of breaking any curse. Henry Turner (Brenton Twaites), son of Will Turner, wants it to break his father’s curse while Karina Smith (Kaya Scodelario) wants it to continue the legacy of the father she never knew. The pair team up with Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) who is also looking for the legendary object after he unwittingly unleashes a curse of his own, releasing the legendary pirate hunter Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), seeking revenge for the man who cursed him.

Right of the bat, I really like the original pirates trilogy. Sure, the sequels were overly long and bogged down in their own lore but the series seemed like one of the last great adventure franchises and the high seas action was a lot of fun. The fourth I haven’t seen since its release which made me worry that the 5th would follow on but to my surprise this is a great return to form for the franchise. Sure it’s not the runaway hit Black Pearl was and Depp’s Jack Sparrow becomes more and more a parody of itself but it’s a lot of fun and makes you excited again for where it’s going next.

One thing that really works here is how refreshing the new characters feel to counter balance Depps of the wall antics. Brenton Twaites really helps to propel the plot forward and new bad guy Salazar is utterly terrifying and the visuals on display are really unique, the only faults I have there are his voice is a little too much at times with the way he delivers lines and his right hand man’s costume looks a bit like a dime store pirate. Kaya Scodelario on the other hand I’m still a little mixed on even after seeing it twice, she’s an interesting character but feels very loosely connected to the plot and there’s a running gag about how everyone think she’s a witch for being a female scientist in the 16th Century which was funny the first time but by the 17th it just halts the pace when the characters should really be running for their lives. Geoffery Rush is back as Barbosa as well and is as great as he always is in these movies, he genuinely is a highlight everytime he graces the screen.

Being the 5th movie I feel like the writers have been as inventive as they can with the movie, although it still feels like a paint by numbers of the previous films, and there are some imaginative sequences such as when Salazar releases zombie sharks to attack the crew. However this is also the first time the pirates movies have had both a completely new director AND writer which really shows as it opens up some continuity errors with the previous movies.

Overall though what can you expect from a movie series based on a theme park ride? The musical score is great, incorporating the familiar older themes with some new ones, the characters are enjoyable to watch and mainly the film is a lot of fun. It feels great to be back on the high seas with Jack Sparrow and it bring some fresh ideas to the franchise even if it plays it safe too often.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell no Tales gets a 7/10



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