Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales: Not the Best of the Series, By a Mile

Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)
Version: Library borrow

The most recent chapter in the Pirates of the Caribbean saga is Dead Men Tell No Tales. It doesn't measure up to its predecessors, not from the lack of will but from the lack of a good effort.

Here we find Jack Sparrow (played again by Johnny Depp) in threat for his life by a terrifying nemesis, one Captain Salazar (played by Javiere Bardem), whom Sparrow defeated long ago at the cost of his ship and crew on cruel rocks, trapped in the Devil's Triangle. Salazar's only hope of escape and revenge on Sparrow is seizing the legendary Trident of Poseidon. At Sparrow's aid is Henry Turner (played by Brenton Thwaites), son of Will Turner, who also seeks the Trident to free his father from the depths of the sea. In the mix is Captain Barbossa (played again by Geoffrey Rush), who is looking to profit from the Trident himself, and finds an interesting connection with Turner's love interest in the story, Carina Smyth (played by Kaya Scodelario).

Although this is a long, convoluted plot line, we find the usual silliness of the past Pirates of the Caribbean films, with the reappearance of many of our favorite crew from the Black Pearl. However, Jack Sparrow has lost some of his sass and swagger, and Captain Barbossa loses a bit of his nastiness by the end of the movie, although for a very good reason. Salazar's ship is a monstrosity and he is a monster driven by a hateful obsession over revenge, in an overly melodramatic way. All in all, this film is less fun and more sea drama, but without any real purpose.

The thrill of the film is built more around its reliance on CGI than the imagination of the screenwriters and cinematographers, so once again we are the victims of technology. I suspect even the make up and costume design are given heft by technology rather than actual human work. And that's a pity. I always feel cheated when most of the magic of the film is because someone created an alternate reality with a computer and software instead of humans creating a world with their bare hands and keen eyes.

Dead Men Tell No Tales is an okay film, but it's not the best of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Not by a mile. 

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