Title: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Studi0: Walt Disney Pictures/Jerry Bruckheimer Films
Director: Joachim Ronning/Espen Sandberg
Release Format: Theatrical
It seems like it was almost yesterday when “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl” hit the theaters. My then 13-year-old self was very excited for the journey I was going to be taken on when I sat down in the theater to experience the adventure of Jack Sparrow, Will Turner, and Elizabeth Swan. The movie was filled with exciting action, a gripping story line, detailed lore about the movie’s cursed villains that were the undead crew of The Black Pearl, and the silly antics of the legendary Jack Sparrow. It was the perfect pirate film. However, the latest entry in the Pirates series falls short. While still an entertaining film surrounded by hype crazy enough that hackers held it for ransom, an artifact effect that seemed to not take second and third films Davy Jones backstory into account, and stale new characters hurt the film overall leaving it shy of reaching the status of the original film.
Before people start shaming me for my issues I had with the film, let’s address a few things right away. First, there are plenty of awesome Jack Sparrow moments from beginning to end that will whet the appetites of many Jack Sparrow addicts. Second, the acting and production value of the film was top notch as seen in the trailers. The cast played their roles well. Although I hoped the writers would have allowed the new additions to the cast to be more original and not a repeat of classic characters (more on that later), they were great at the roles they were given. Finally, the action scenes and music score really made the entire film exciting. While it fell short on some things I would have liked to see in the first Pirates movie since 2011, the movie still moved at a very good pace and gripped me through until the very end.
Let’s talk about the artifact. All the main characters are out to seek the Trident of Poseidon. The Trident of Poseidon is an artifact that supposedly grants whoever wields it total control over the seas. It is also revealed that this device has the ability to lift any curses in the sea. This is the reason for Henry Turner’s, son of Will Turner, reason to seek out the artifact. However, watching the second and third films, it’s known that The Flying Dutchman’s crew is responsible for ferrying the dead and Davy Jones neglected his duties causing him to become the deformed squid-like creature that he was. With the fact that the legend of this Trident and what it can do was widely known by all the characters in the film, wouldn’t it have made sense to look for the Trident in the first place? And where was the talk about The Flying Dutchman ferrying the dead in this film? The movie made it seem like none of the backstory of the Flying Dutchman was even true and that this was just a curse to be lifted in the first place. Personally, I never felt Davy Jones’s appearance was the side-effect of a curse, but more on the lines of punishment for abandoning his duty to ferry the dead. While this didn’t ruin the excitement of the film for me, it left me wondering why they decided to abandon the backstory of The Flying Dutchman.
While the original Pirates of the Caribbean star couple, Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan, make brief appearances in the film, the addition of Carina Smyth and Henry Turner saw the producers trying to recreate a similar love affair. What we were left with was two characters pretty much told to copy the couple from the past. Henry is very much a carbon copy of Will from the first film in the franchise. He likes to take risks, doesn’t think everything through, and Jack Sparrow pretty much treats him like his father when they first met. I would have liked to have seen a different kind of Turner. One that maybe was unsure about his life. Maybe not as brave as his father. Possibly the fact that his father is a pirate ferrying the dead makes him afraid of the sea? Carina also draws a lot of similarities to Elizabeth. While definitely more book smart, she boasts a very similar sarcastic British attitude, questions all authority, and has (no surprise here) an attraction to a member of the Turner family. While the actors portrayed their parts very well and the characters had some funny moments, I wish the producers would have added more originality instead of trying to recreate the same relationship of Will and Elizabeth that we were familiar with in the first three films.
Even with the film’s shortcomings, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is still a very fun movie to watch. Not a moment went by where I wasn’t on the edge of my seat due to the amazing action sequences. Fans of the franchise are going to enjoy this film. I have no doubts about that at all. However, if you’re just getting into the series for the first time, I would highly recommend going back to original three films to experience the magic that started it all. While “Dead Men Tell No Tales” isn’t the perfect Pirates of the Caribbean film by any means, it definitely provides an entertaining experience that fans will happily enjoy.
- Great Acting
- Gripping Action Scenes
- Lots of funny Jack Sparrow Moments
- Poorly created new characters
- Rushed ending
- Disregards lore from previous films
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