FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: Last night, I saw “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” which stars Johnny Depp (Black Mass , Into the Woods), Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men, Mother!), Geoffrey Rush (Gods of Egypt, Shakespeare in Love), Brenton Thwaites (The Giver, The Signal), Kaya Scodelario (Moon, The Maze Runner), Kevin McNally (Valkyrie, Legend ), Golshifteh Farahani (Paterson, Body of Lies), David Wenham (300, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers), Stephen Graham (Gangs of New York, This is England), Martin Klebba (Scrubs [TV series], Project X), Adam Brown (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Emoji Movie), Orlando Bloom (Troy , Main Street), and Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game, Begin Again). It is directed by Joachim Ronning (Kon-Tiki, Max Manus: Man of War) and Espen Sandberg (Bandidas, Kon-Tiki), while it was written by Jeff Nathanson (Catch Me If You Can, The Terminal), and Terry Rossio (Deja Vu, Shrek). Henry Turner (Thwaites) sets out on a search for Jack Sparrow (Depp), hoping that he will lead him to find Poseidon’s trident and rid his father’s curse of the Flying Dutchman. Meanwhile, a cursed captain known as Salazar (Bardem) seeks for revenge on Sparrow after placing him in the torment that him and his crew have endured for years.
We all know how it feels when a franchise overstays its welcome. Once a sequel is made, we are curious and sometimes it works; every subsequent sequel after that creates a higher probability of failure. Every big franchise typically goes to the crapper at some point (“Alien,” “Star Wars,” “X-Men,” “Ice Age,” etc.). Unfortunately, “Pirates of the Caribbean” is one of these cases. I don’t know how to put it in better words: “Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” is purely awful. It’s an exhaustive, set piece by set piece feature whose clear motivation is to snag a few extra dollars for Disney at the box office. There’s hardly any character development, several story arcs fly at you like bullets from muskets, and there’s almost as much use of CGI as a “Transformers” flick. What happened to this franchise!? It pained me to watch this guys, mainly because it shoveled crap onto the “Pirates” name.. I loved the first three pictures; they were one of the first franchises I paid attention to, and for good reasons. The thrill of adventure and mythology of the high seas unfolded beautifully to great cinematography, stellar performances, and a masterful score. Once the Will Turner/Elizabeth Swan arc ended, so did the ride. Disney has since tried to carry the torch, but to little avail. I thought the fourth one was okay, though boring because Jack was prompted to be the straight man. Jack Sparrow is the best character of the series, but that’s because he serves as the slight comic relief. We enjoy watching him stumble his way around the movies in contrast to people who try to reach an end goal. What “Dead Men Tell No Tales” tried to do was return the franchise back to form. We have another Turner to watch, and it attempts to tie back in to the original trilogy by bringing Will and Elizabeth back. It seemed smart when the trailer and synopsis first dropped, however the execution of it all couldn’t have been worse. What happened? The biggest reason why this film flopped was because of its tug-and-pull of characters who weren’t interesting. The writers had several things in a hodgepodge when formulating this script. We have Will’s son, his female-interest, Jack, Captain Barbossa (Rush), Captain Salazar, Mr. Gibbs (McNally) and crew, and the British. There’s a lot riding on this, yet the writers couldn’t find a way to give them all equal time. Character development became one-dimensional, and the introduction of new character arcs became silly (like Barbossa’s towards the end that only served the purpose of pushing the plot). This was a movie based purely on moments rather than story. All of the characters served the purpose of cool CGI scenes and zany mythology that surpassed the restrained confines “Pirates” worked in that made it so good in the first place. I couldn’t even explain the amount of big set pieces this film threw in to make thing more “interesting.” It was insane! I felt like I was watching “Batman v. Superman” again. Slow motion after slow motion sequence, green screen after green screen use; it drove me nuts! I typically have a guilty pleasure in these types of things. “Transformers” is a prime example. However, there was a time when “Pirates” was great, so seeing this fifth installment made me feel terrible. It’s like seeing an awesome childhood friend grow up to be a crack dealer. It throws you off and acts as a different thing all together. Going into the many examples this feature presents to prove my point would give away spoilers, so if you actually want to see it, I’ll keep my trap shut. What I will say, though, is that it takes a mere ten minutes for something stupid to happen; another ten for the first set piece to unfold in all its horrid glory. “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” was a disappointing and sad endeavor. It’s excess use of CGI and characters to try to cram a cohesive plot down my throat didn’t work, and while I enjoy this universe, it was difficult to attach myself to this. It’s changed state felt more like a parody of what it once was, and on top of that Jack was construed to fit the persona of a never-ending, drunk idiot (more one-dimensional than before). The only good things I can say about this movie are its return of Will and Elizabeth, as well as some good cinematography and costuming (though those are a given). The acting was decent, but the story was downright terrible. If you love the “Pirates” franchise, I would suggest you stick to the first three. It’s one thing for a franchise to get progressively boring or stale; it’s another for it to mock itself entirely. Look at “Ice Age” and compare it to “Ice Age: Collision Course”; there’s no better example to what this is. FINAL SCORE: 42%= Burnt Popcorn
Here is the trailer: