Monday, June 26, 2017

Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Action and laughs
Cons: Thin characters
The Bottom Line:
Action, comedy
Overshadow characters
Mindless fun is all

Captain Jack Sparrow and the Search for Poseidon’s Trident

Among my complaints about the third movie in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise was the ending.  I didn’t like how they left things for Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley’s characters.  So when I realized that their son was going to be one of the new characters in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, I was cautiously optimistic.

The movie wastes no time on introducing us to a pre-teen Henry Turner (Lewis McGowan) who has become obsessed with breaking the curse on his father Will.  He’s determined that finding Poseidon’s Trident is the secret to break the curse and allow his father to come home.

It’s not until he becomes a young adult that Henry (now played by Brenton Thwaites) has a chance of finding the trident, however, and that’s because of a chance encounter with Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), a female scientist who has the map no man can read.  She’s figured out the secret of the map and can use it to find the trident’s resting place.  But the duo need a ship, which is how they find themselves teaming up with Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp).  However, they are being chased by Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), who was cursed years ago by Jack.  Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) has teamed up with Salazar since Salazar’s dead army is destroying everything on the sea.  Will anybody find the trident?  What will happen when Salazar catches up with Jack?

Okay, let’s be honest.  We watch these movies for preposterous action and Jack’s antics.  Here, the movie delivers in spades.  There are quite a few memorable action sequences and lots of funny lines and moments.  The mindless action and comedy portion of the film works.

Now this isn’t to say that the plot doesn’t hold together.  It’s a bit too busy and convoluted, but overall it works, and things come together well at the end.  There are elements of the plot that definitely have a been there/done that feel, but it is the fifth movie in the franchise, so that’s hardly surprising.

It’s the characters where this movie fails.  As you can see, we are really following a new bunch of main characters outside of Jack and Barbossa for the second film in the row.  We really don’t get to know them, so the moments that are supposed to mean something near the end don’t have the intended impact.

Now this isn’t a slight on the actors, who all turn in fine performances.  Instead, it’s a slight on the script, which emphasizes humor and action over anything else.

It wouldn’t be a Pirates movie without special effects, and this movie doesn’t disappoint in that department either.  They look absolutely amazing without taking over the film.

And there is a final scene at the end of the credits that might be setting up the next film in the franchise.  (Or could be easily completely ignored if they so choose.)

The franchise has never been more than mindless popcorn movies, but Pirates of the Caribbean:Dead Men Tell No Tales is a bit more mindless than most.  It’s fun, but it’s forgettable.

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