Anthony's Film Review

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

The swashbuckling pirate adventure series continues with familiar thrills, plus a few unexpected surprises...

Has it really been six years since the last Pirates of the Caribbean movie? You'd think a good movie series like this one would have something every three years or so. But of course, any behind-the-scenes production issues can delay release, and given how busy Hollywood is these days, I guess I shouldn't complain. But now that the movie is here, how good is it? Does it disappoint because of the long release gap? Or is it still as good as before, as if nothing really halted and dampened production?

I am happy to say that it's the latter. The fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie, Dead Men Tell No Tales, sticks with the series formula, which includes ingredients like exciting action, memorable characters, elements of fantasy, and top-notch costume and production design to bring to life the world of pirates. It looks and feels no different from any of the previous four movies. Now, you might be asking now whether it's so similar to the earlier four films that it's boring and unoriginal. While I can say that this movie is a continuation of the series, it also has a few new surprises, which I'll briefly touch on later.

The first character I shall mention is a new one for this series. Henry Turner, played by Brenton Thwaites, is the son of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann from the first three Pirates movies, and he is seeking the Trident of Poseidon in order to break a curse that currently afflicts his father. (For background information on that matter, see Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.) Another new character holds the key to the Trident: a female astronomer named Carina Smyth, played by Kaya Scodelario. Through a series of random events, both Henry and Carina come into contact with each other and then with the one familiar character who can lead the way to the Trident: the ever-goofy Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp).

But while this trio sails for the location of the Trident, another pirate is on their tail. A Spanish ghost pirate named Salazar (Javier Bardem) is seeking revenge against Sparrow, essentially blaming that pirate for his current condition as an undead creature. In order to get to Sparrow, Salazar has to capture another pirate and his crew and force them to lead the ghost pirates to Sparrow. The pirate who is unfortunate to be the captive: Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush).

This is a movie that, like all of the other Pirates movies to date, is engaging and fun. The story constantly moves along, with plenty of moments to keep things interesting. The action and special effects are great and make the movie worth seeing. And the humor... you cannot forget the humor. You can tell that the writers understood the need for comedy in this series, so expect to see plenty of funny moments. I have two favorite gags in this movie: one involving a bank vault robbery and another involving a guillotine.

There is one other thing that makes this movie somewhat better than the second through fourth Pirates movies (the first one, The Curse of the Black Pearl, is still my favorite). There are moments that deliver unexpected surprises. I'm not just talking about surprises in the story. I'm talking about revelations about certain characters, the kind that make you momentarily care about them and that give the Pirates of the Caribbean series some new material to work with. It makes me wonder if the writers are now deciding to develop the characters more. Not that I expect in-depth characters in this action-oriented series. It's just something interesting to notice in this movie.

It's been 14 years since Walt Disney Pictures released the first movie to be based on the Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland and Disney World. Based on this movie, the series is far from dead. So it's not a question of if there will be another Pirates of the Caribbean adventure. It's a matter of when. It could be three years, or it could be longer. My only expectation is that it's at least as good as this one.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, visit the Internet Movie Database.

In addition, check out my review of the following:

The Pirates of the Caribbean Films


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