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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

May 30, 2017

What’s there to like?

Well we have a fifth(!) installment in the Pirates of the Caribbeanfranchise. The first trio was surprisingly enjoyable. And the fourth, lagging behind by a few years, pulled together a nice victory lap. Johnny Depp did his thing, and Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane brought enough pizzazz to make it fun.

And now we have a fifth, subtitled Dead Men Tell No Tales. So how is it?

I will say this: it looks pretty. The costumes, in particular are lush and wonderful. I repeatedly found myself wanting to go back in time to join the Royal Navy–even though they’re the antagonists!–as an officer, just for the luxurious threads. The effects were cool, too. Salazar’s cursed crew members were impressively disturbing in their decaying creepiness.

The guest cast isn’t as wonderful as it was in On Stranger Tides, but I do love me some Javier Bardem. And he pulls out both his charm and his intensity as the circumstances require. Not quite the show stealing performances he gave in, say, Vicky Christina Barcelona or No Country For Old Men, but he’s adequate.

What’s not to like?

Where to start. Well, there’s the screenplay. The dialogue is woefully lacking. It’s like a string of mediocre and non-memorable one liners. And then there’s the directing. There’s little craft on display in terms of the storytelling. We’re not in the hands of some Blarney-kissed tall-tale-teller here. It’s more like listening to a little girl who strings a story together with “and then . . . and then . . . and then . . .”.

That said, the story is rather tepid anyway. It would have taken true heroic feats of strength to bring it to life with the script or the directing.

It doesn’t help that the acting is mostly so-so. There’s little chemistry between the young would-be lovers. Johnny Depp dialed it in. Maybe that’s unfair. Maybe he’s just not up to the standards he set for himself in making Jack Sparrow one of the iconic movie characters of the century so far. But it’s certainly his least inspired showing of the Pirates franchise.

The Verdict

Remember how, years ago, you saw the very first Pirates movie and you thought to yourself, holy crap, that was tons better than it had to be? Well, this one is sorta like how you expected that first one to be before you were so pleasantly surprised.

Didn’t like it

[cross posted on]

From → Movies

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