Saturday, 27 May 2017

'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales' (2017) Review

Catch it on Cable: Not the worst 'Pirates' movie, but far from the best.
‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales', the fifth release in the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' franchise finally sees the return of Captain Jack Sparrow. This time, Jack has found himself caught up with another adventure involving the literal demons of his past. The deadly Capitan Salazar has emerged from the mystical Devil's Triangle, hell-bent on getting his revenge on Jack. Jack's only hope is the legendary Poseidon's Trident, the key to warding off all curses of the sea.

That's a very simplified version of the story in Dead Men Tell No Tales, and one I would've much preferred to follow. The actual film is bloated, as it harbours more storylines than it can bear to stomach. The first half almost entirely consists of gathering the cast into one location so the plot can get underway. Previously, these films have excelled in having a large cast, with multiple stories, and still remaining focused. This is not the case here as this movie fails to find its momentum like a ship without wind in its sail. Then again, according to Captain Jack, wind isn't necessary as long as you have rum.

Note to self: Do not attempt to watch a Pirates of the Caribbean movie unless as drunk as Jack Sparrow.
As the movie struggles to get all the pieces together, there are a few scenes that evoke the very best of this series. One particular scene involving a guillotine is perhaps one of the cleverest moments these films have ever had. Bright spots like these keep the film from being a complete misfire and are a welcome distraction from the film's plot holes, and strange character behaviours.

The characters in question are the ones you've come to know an love, the ones you sort of recognize, and the new ones you don't care about. At least, that's how I felt, particularly with the last film. Here it's a little different since I cared a little bit more about the female lead in this film Carina Smyth, played by Kaya Scodelario. She embodied the strong female archetype that most franchise these days strive for, but come off as pandering and underserved. Not much else can be said for Brenton Thwaites character, as the most compelling thing about him is his heritage. The idea of him is much more interesting that what he actually is.

He's the Virtual Boy of characters. 
The latter half of the film is much more entertaining. Here the issues that previously plagued the film go by the wayside and the movie is consistently enjoyable until the credits roll. Still, this felt less like a reward for the first half's issues and more of an apology. I should also mention I liked the performance of Javier Bardem as the villain, although the visual effects put on his and his ghost crew, was less frightening and more laughable.

The hallmark cleverness and visual fortitude of the Pirates of the Caribbean films have not been present for quite some time but creep back in with this film. It is far from the best this series has to offer, but it is also far from the worst. Jack Sparrow, though, has never been quite so obnoxious, as his charm seems to have dissipated with age. Fans of these films should opt to see it at a Half Price. Everyone else is better off Catching it on Cable.

Rating: Catch It On Cable.


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