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

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*Also called Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge in some countries.

Director: Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandberg

Starring: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem  & Kaya Scodelario

Review Author: Shaun

Rating: 1.5/5 Bottles of Captain Morgans

The big selling point of these films has always been Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow. He’s still the same trickster as we remember from the first film. His voice has gotten a lot more slurred than in previous entries and I believe the reason for this is the degree of freedom that Johnny Depp has with his character. You can tell from his acting that it is a very open performance with quips that feel improvised.

Kaya Scodelario performance as Carina Smyth is the glue trying to keep the film together, she looked as if she was trying to salvage a decent performance whilst also getting paid millions. If anyone earned their paycheck in the film it’s her. Her character also is given a semi-clever background which does make the film more involving and gives us a different side to another character that we haven’t seen before.

Most the films events are built upon layers and layers of exposition, with each piece of it going off to different story lines. There is no central or focused narrative. Admittedly, it’s not hard to pinpoint what each of the character’s desire and that the trident of Poseidon will grant them their desires, but that’s only because the audience is told what each of them wants to their faces. With every film, Disney is slowly turning one of the most unique franchises into pantomime.

The biggest let down of the film, is the treatment of Javier Bardem as Captain Salazar. This is an actor with a resume of stunning performances as villainous characters, from No Country for Old Men to Skyfall. To see him play a character as hokey and unthreatening as Salazar is degrading, to say the least. We know he can play villains magnificently, so why is his performance as Salazar so amateurish? The character’s motive of good old-fashioned revenge is so simple, there is no complexity to his revenge just that Jack pulled a fast one on him and now he’s out to kill him, that’s it. Another element to Salazar is the CGI used to create his ghostly figure. When I first saw it in the trailer I thought it was terrible but consolidated myself into thinking once the film was released it would be more polished, but I was wrong. It’s was just as awful as I remembered. The ghostly effect, especially his head, is very unnerving and strange, it seems to move of its own accord like a bobble head.

The Curse of the Black Pearls combination of practical and computer generated effects blended together so that our eyes wouldn’t be distracted from the importance of the film’s narrative, yet in Dead Men Tell No Tales, and in the previous instalment, the filmmakers have given into CGI for its cheaper value and supposedly, more possibilities. I’m sorry, but with a budget of 230 million dollars, the most expensive film franchise in cinematic history, you’d expect a bit of authentic grandeur from the film.

Overall, the film manages to be less bloated, dreary, and meandering than the last two entries, but it still suffers from many of the same wearisome, dredged-up villains and ho-hum action and comedy that have bedeviled the franchise since its second instalment. The film’s biggest positive is that it offers a degree of closure for the Pirates franchise, which will only be soured should Disney decide this isn’t the final voyage for Captain Jack Sparrow and his mates.

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