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

Movie reviews

Hello!

The summer movie season is already in full swing. Let’s see what it has to offer in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales also known as Salazar’s Revenge.

IMDb Summary: Captain Jack Sparrow searches for the trident of Poseidon.

Let’s start with a disclaimer: I have always been a fan of this franchise despite its flaws. The third’s film is my favorite (and I’m definitely in the minority) and its third act – one of my most rewatched action sequences. Also, the role of Jack Sparrow is the only kooky role that I still like Johnny Depp in.

Writing:

Pirates 5’s screenplay was written by Jeff Nathanson (Catch Me If You Can, Indiana Jones 4, next project – the live action Lion King) with some input on the story by Terry Rossio (who had a hand in creating these characters in the first place). In general, I have mixed feelings about the quality of writing for this film and wish it was better because it could have been (like the writing for so many blockbusters these days – come on, Hollywood, just hire some amazing TV writers!).

To begin with, I thought that the set-up for the narrative was too reliant on coincidences, while the twists and turns in the plot – just way too convenient. The film was also going all over the place with the multiple plotlines that were just thrown together. It was nice to see all the old characters and the new one were good too but I just wish they all would have fit into the narrative more organically. Another problem with the reveals in the story is that they came out of nowhere. They were surprising, for sure, but not in a good way. Not in a way ‘I didn’t see it coming but I can retrace the steps of the reveal now’ but more like ‘Oh, so you have come up with this like a year ago and not when you released the previous movies in the series’.

Having critiqued the script, I would now like to mention a few neat writing moments which really impressed me. First, I loved seeing the young Jack Sparrow. In addition to the de-aging technology being really impressive, it was really nice to see Sparrow as an efficient and clever sailor and not just drunk and babbling, even if lovable, idiot. The explanation of how he got the iconic costume and the name was also much appreciated. I also liked the fact that the story of The Turners was continued through their son. The new female lead was also a well-enough written character – I liked that she was a person of science who was confronted by the irrational legends and myths. The feminism aspect could have been handled better, though. The writing for the villain – Salazar – was also quite good. He is no Davy Jones, but then again, Jones had 2 movies worth of development while Salazar had only half of that. Jones might also get even more (further on that in the After-Credits section). Lastly, I also enjoyed the attempt at expanding the mythology of this world.

Directing

The Norvegian directing duo – Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg – best known for their Kon-Tiki film (about an expedition on a raft across the Pacific Ocean) helmed Pirates of the Caribbean 5 and did a good job. Having previous experience with water-centric films definitely helped them because the movie did look gorgeous. The locations themselves and the way they were realized on screen were just spectacular. The action wasn’t bad either – it was definitely entertaining and exciting, just not as impressive as it used to be before. This might be because I have seen too many Pirates of the Carribean movies or just action films in general. One particular action sequence – the first one centered on the robbing of the bank – really reminded me of the 3rd act heist in Fast Five but only done with horses instead of the fast cars. The visuals of the map in the final act (the island that’s the perfect image of the sky) were really cool-looking too.

No Pirates of the Carribean review cannot not mention the soundtrack of the film. It was really nice to hear the iconic theme music as well as the rest of the soundtrack, which, this time around was not done by Hans Zimmer but by his long-time collaborator/student Geoff Zanelli.

Acting

Johnny Depp (Transcendence, Alice, Black Mass) was fine in the movie. He was doing the same thing he always does, but I have already said, this is the only role of his that I can stomach his eccentrics in. Please, God, don’t let him screw up Grindewald in the Fantastic Beasts sequel.

The two new leads this movie introduced were both YA alumni – Brenton Thwaites (of The Giver) and Kaya Scodelario (of The Maze Runner). They were better replacements to Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley than the romantic couple from the previous film – On Stranger Tides – played by Sam Claflin and Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey. I hope that Thwaites’s and Scodelario’s careers can get a boost from this movie but I don’t think we will see more of them in these roles. Maybe in a supporting part in a sequel but I don’t see them getting a solo/duo spin-off (more on that in Post-Credits section).

The villain of the picture – Salazar – was played by Javier Bardem – Hollywood’s go-to Spanish actor for villainous roles (No Country For Old Men, Skyfall). Well, one can’t argue that Bardem is really good at playing these types of characters and he was truly menacing as Salazar – the hunter of pirates. His next project is Aronofsky’s Mother!. 

Geoffrey Rush was also, once again, back in the role of Barbosa. While I felt that his character was kinda tacked on, it was nice to see a different side of him. His demise, however, was mostly wasted and should have been built-up more (both story-wise and emotionally).

David Wenham also appears in a film, playing a secondary villain and a high-ranking officer in the British Navy. He is basically just a replacement for the character that Tom Hollander played (and in a much better way) in the original trilogy.

Post-Credits

If you sit through the 10 minutes of the credits, full of digital artists’ names, you will be treated to a potential teaser for a Will Turner spin-off. I really liked the character in the original trilogy and Orlando Bloom does not seem to be doing much, so a Will Turner or a Turner family-centered spin-off might actually be quite good or could at least happen. Maybe Keira Knightley could also be in it and actually get a few speaking lines (she just cameos and says nothing in Dead Men Tell No Tales). Thwaites’s Henry Turner and his new girlfriend, played by Scodelario, might also have a place in that picture.

In short, if you are a fan of the franchise, you will probably be able to overlook the problems with the movie (like you did many times) and will enjoy it for what it is. For all the regular movie goers – Pirates 5 is a good enough time at the movies but not a required viewing.

Rate: 3.3/5

Trailer: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales trailer

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Movie Saturday!

Movie reviews

Hello, my dear readers!

Today was a beautiful day in Lithuania, sunny and warm. However, I spent it indoors, watching movies instead of enjoying nice spring weather.  Bellow you will find my short review of each and every one of them as well as recommendations, when to watch it. Enjoy!

1. I started with a romantic-drama “The Spectacular Now”.  I wanted to watch it a long time ago, because it has one of my favorite actresses – Shailene Woodley – in it. This movie really surprised me – it is not a stupid romantic comedy with silly jokes, but a very emotional, inspirational movie with a very-well written scenario and well-developed characters. The movie follows lives of two teenagers – Sutter Keely and Aimee Finecky. It shows how they search for their true identity, how they deal with parents’ problems and of course – how they fall in love. The film is based on a book with the same name written by Tim Tharp (I am definetly going to read it) and premiered at a Sundance Film Festival, where it was praised by critcs. I would definetly recommend this movie for a girls night, when you want something romantic but still something authentic that captures the intensity, the beauty and the scariness of first love. Similar movies – The Perks of being a Wallflower.  Rate – 5/5

2.   The second movie was a classical one – “The Great Gatsby” (2013 version). I love Leonardo Dicaprio in every single movie he stars in, but this one didn’t amaze me. Maybe that’s because I am not huge fan of 1920s era? Or maybe because I was so angry with one of the main characters – Daisy – for treating Gatsby the way she did. Short summary: The movie is told from Nick Carraway’s point of view. He is in a sanatorium to treat his alchoholism. He tells a story of a millionaire Jay Gatsby, who devoted his life for a woman he did not even knew. The plot has a few twist and turns and no happy ending.  It is based on the book with the same name by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It is not a first time this story is made into movie. In 1926 it was made into a silent film, in 1949 and 1974 into a proper motion picture, in 1999 – into opera and finaly in 2000 – into TV film. Rate 3/5

3. The third movie I watched – “Inception”. It came out 4 years ago – in 2010. Leonardo DiCaprio also stars in this one.  Unlike Gatsby, this movie really astonished me. The plot was interesting and unpredictable and the overall idea of the movie was very innovative and exciting. The science fiction thriller explores the posibility of controling dreams, dreaming inside of dreams and so forth. I would not be surprised if this fantasy would actually come true in a couple of year’s time. Despite having Leo, film’s large ensemble cast includes Ellen Page,  Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ken Watanabe, Tom Hardy, Dileep Rao, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, and Michael Caine. This movie is perfect for Sci-fi fans out there as well as dystopian fantasy lovers. Rate 4/5

4.  The last movie of the day (night – I finished it around midnight) – “The Lone Ranger”. This one tells a story of the Lone Ranger and Indian named Tonto as they attempt to find justice in a corrupt world of XIX century. It is based on a book “Lone Ranger“ by Fran Striker and George W. Trendle. Johnny Depp portrays Tonto – Comanche Indian who is looking for revenge for his tribe. The Lone Ranger’s role went to Armie Hammer. His character is also trying to avenge those, who were close to him. William Fichtner plays Butch Cavendish, a ruthless and cannibalistic outlaw who is the main antagonist of the movie. The film is full of funny little jokes that usually involve horse and in my opinion, Johnny Depp is one of the greatest actors today and all his characters a very complex, interesting and unique. Rate 5/5

That’s all for today. Tomorrow, I am planning to post a short description of my Easter – I will tell you all about traditions in my family. Hope you have a great day. Bye.

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