Review Blog

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: Dead Men Tell No Tales review by Gerald Wright

Posted by Gerald Wright on May 26, 2017 at 2:25 PM

Directed by: Joanchim Ronning and Espen Sandberg

Running time: 129 mins. in Conventional, Disney Digital 3-D, RealD 3-D, and IMAX 3D formats

Release date: May 26, 2017

Genre: Drama, Comedy, Action/Adventure, Fantasy, Reboot, and Adaptation

Distributor: Walt Disney Motion Pictures

MPAA Rating: PG-13

In the fifth installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series, this film serves as a soft reboot of the franchise. The filmmakers cited the first installment, The Curse of the Black Pearl, as inspiration for the script and tone of the film. Johnny Depp, Kevin McNally, and Geoffrey Rush reprise their roles as Jack Sparrow, Joshamee Gibbs, and Hector Barbossa, respectively.  The film also stars Javier Bardem as Armando Salazar, Brenton Thwaites as Henry Turner, and Kaya Scodelario as Carina Smyth.  The film also features the returns of Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly as Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann respectively, following their absence from the fourth installment, On Stranger Tides.

Swashbuckling movies have always been exciting going back to the silent era Douglas Fairbanks films of the early 20th century.  This contemporary film is no different when it comes to excitement as Captain Jack Sparrow is pursued by an old nemesis, Armando Salazar, who along with his Spanish Navy ghost crew who has escaped from the Devil's Triangle and is determined to kill every pirate at sea.  Jack, aided by a new ally Carina, must seek the Trident of Poseidon, a powerful, a powerful artifact that grants its possessor total control over the seas, in order to defeat Salazar.  At the same time, he comes across Henry Turner, the son of his former crew member Will Turner.  Henry wants to free his father from the curse of the Flying Dutchman so he can reunite his parents, Will and Elizabeth Swann.

As the film is structured in a prequel format, it also uses the present tense to incorporate the narrative.  It is a high energy big budget tale with non-stop motion, spectacular rhythm and pacing, and adventurous, often two-dimensional 'good guy' heroes and heroines battling 'bad guys' in the traditional swashbucklers on searches and expeditions for lost lands, treasures, and the unknown.  

Johnny Depp plays the eccentric but noble pirate captain of the Black Pearl on the hunt for the Trident of Poseidon. Javier Bardem as Captain Armando Salazar, a powerful and maniacal undead pirate hunter of the Spanish Navy, who was trapped in the Devil's Triangle.  After escaping, he seeks the Trident of Posedon to wipe out all piracy and exact revenge on his old enemy, Captain Jack Sparrow.  Meanwhile, Brenton Thwaites as Hery Turner tries to reconnect with his father Will Turner, as he struggles to break a curse that is preventing him from doing so.  Kaya Scodelario portrays Carina Smyth, a feisty, altruistic astronomer who has a diary with clues that leads her own her journey looking for the Trident of Posedon.  There is also the reprising character Captain Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), the one-legged pirate captain of the Queen Anne's Revenge, former captain of the Black Pearl, and Captain Jack Sparrow's former rival-turned-ally.

Perhaps, this film is more of an overdone romp, but it is mystical and causes great enthusiasm, while being thrilling and exhilarating.  It is excessive in its attitude of producing intensity because of the many elements involved.  It is an elaborate adventure fantasy film that covers a large expanse of time set against a vast panoramic backdrop, and adds an extravagant setting and lavish costumes, accompanied by grandeur and spectacle, dramatic scope, lively comedy, and high production values of special effects.  Yet, the fantasy aspect takes the audience to another dimension and netherworld places with elements of magic, myth, wonder, and the extraordinary that transcends reality.  

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales will appeal to both childen and adults.


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