Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales sails into theaters this weekend. This outing has a down on his luck Captain Jack Sparrow finding out that just when things seem like they can’t get worse, they do. Sparrow’s past quite literally comes back to haunt him in the form of Captain Salazar. Salazar is determined to seek out his revenge upon Sparrow at all costs. This turns into an unlikely adventure that pulls together multiple connections from other Pirates movies as they seek out the Trident of Poseidon.
One of the problems that seemed to be plaguing this movie was overly-complicated over-the-top storylines. In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales it was a pleasant return to a straight forward storyline. This is a movie that isn’t trying to be more than what it is. This is a movie where each character has a motivation and they are chasing after it, much like the first movie in that regard. There are some strong character moments in this film, and some weak ones. However, the entire story makes sense. I would liked to have seen a little more come out of some of the actors as I think many of them could have had stronger performances. However, there was nothing that would sink the ship so-to-say.
There were a surprising amount of return characters for this film, going all the way back to the original. Some of these were smaller roles, some were larger. For the most part, the supporting roles were fun to see return and fit in naturally. The leading roles each had different strengths. Henry and Carina both had interesting characters and a cute enough story. Captain Barbosa was exactly what you would expect and probably had the best character development in this film. I also liked his performance quite a bit as well. Captain Salazar was a ruthless villain seeking our revenge. And then there is Captain Jack Sparrow. This performance was probably the most disappointing. It was Captain Jack as we have known him, but that’s just it. It almost felt like the magic that originally made everyone fall in love with Captain Jack Sparrow just wasn’t there. There was a lack of spark or energy in the character which really was disappointing. In fact, that was probably the big disappointment of the film. One thing that was definitely NOT a disappointment though was Paul McCartney’s cameo in it. This was easily one of my favorite moments of the film and definitely a favorite cameo in the series!
The Pirates movies have always relied on ghost stories and legends and this movie was no different. The moment a movie goes into the supernatural of any sort generally means that it also is going into the world of CGI. I was very pleasantly surprised that this movie’s CGI actually looked very good. Quite often CGI can make or break a movie for me. To me, successful effects are the ones you don’t notice. For the most part, this was true in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. There were a lot of special effects but thankfully they weren’t distracting. Even more thankfully, they looked pretty good and enhanced the storyline. The sound for the movie accompanied the visual effects fairly solidly. There was a moment or two in the movie where dialogue almost seemed too easy to hear with all that was going on around. However, that is just a small matter. Overall, this movie felt well done and even the young Jack Sparrow looked fairly good.
The music for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales was familiar but not the most memorable of the series. There didn’t appear to be any new themes added to the soundtrack. Instead, most of the music was repurposed from other Pirates movies. It was enjoyable enough and there were not off moments in the soundtrack. However, I would liked to have seen something new and magical presented.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales most likely has the script for an absolutely fantastic fifth Pirates movies. The storyline was good. The villain made sense and had a great motivation. Heck, just about everyone had a good motivation. However, good motivations and good stories aren’t all that it takes to make a great movie. Something was lacking in this film. The last fifteen minutes of the movie could have been stronger but that really wasn’t the problem. This is a decent movie that could have been so much better. It just lacked the energy, spark, and vibrancy that it needed to truly make it a full-fledged hit. At the end of the day, this is a good movie that could have been great. As I watched it I found myself enjoying it, but also wishing for more. Is this the end of the Pirates franchise? I’m not sure, the after-credits scenes seems to indicate not. Perhaps it is the end of one over-arching storyline for Pirates though and that just might be a good thing. All in all, this is a fun movie to watch. While it could be stronger, it is worth seeing on the big screen. I also find myself looking forward to seeing what is beyond the horizon for Pirates of the Caribbean.