REVIEW: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
A bad franchise retreads the elements from the first offering without really making any effort to show us anything new or to deepen our affection for the character(s).
This summer, sadly, we have been presented with several misfires starting with Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) was a breath of fresh air when he first stepped ashore many, many years ago. But the tipsy captain with the heart of gold and squishy moral code is pretty much the same here, film number five. We’re learning nothing new about him, we’re seeing him do nothing we haven’t seen before and frankly, we’re bored.
Visually, Dead Men Tell No Tales, is fine. The sea looks lovely, the costumes, props, sets, and ships are nicely rendered and detailed. But we’ve seen dead pirates rise from the grave, we’ve seen sea battles, we’ve seen people swoon or swing at Jack.
His initial supporting cast is now largely gone through attrition which is a shame since they livened up the story. His closest comrades, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Kiera Knightley) fell in love, married, and had a kid more or less ending their saga. The son, Henry (Brenton Thwaites) is now a man and is seeking a way to save dear old dad from eternal service aboard the Flying Dutchman. His quest has him cross paths with Jack, and we realize after two decades, he’s much the same. A Jack confronting age and mortality might have been interesting but Terry Rossio, back for one more bite of the apple, and co-writer Jeff Nathanson aren’t interested in that.
They came up with yet another relic, Poseidon’s Trident, and used that as the Maguffin to move the pieces around the seven seas. We do meet Carina (Kaya Scodelario), an amateur astronomer, who is interesting but doesn’t really play as large a part as she might have. When they encounter Jack, he is a lost man, without his beloved crew or powerful compass. Its loss, somehow triggers the resurrection of Captain Armando Salazar (Javier Bardem) and his undead crew but, yawn, we’ve seen that, too.
In the end, we see justice and true love triumph, we have fine cameos from Bloom and Knightley and even Sir Paul McCartney turns up. But really, we’re done and hopefully so is Disney.
The film was digitally photographed and the Digital HD copy that was reviewed was sharp, crisp, and just a delight to watch on the flatscreen. The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 lossless soundtrack is also excellent so at least we’re getting a pretty film to enjoy despite the content’s shortcomings.
The film is also available in 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD in varying combinations. Most contain the usual assortment of so-so extras including Dead Men Tell No Tales: The Making of a New Adventure: A seven-part behind-the-scenes feature made up of A Return to the Sea (3:33); Telling Tales: A Sit-Down with Brenton & Kaya (8:48); The Matador & The Bull: Secrets of Salazar & the Silent Mary (13:38); First Mate Confidential (8:48); Deconstructing the Ghost Sharks (3:50); Wings Over the Caribbean (5:11); and, An Enduring Legacy (3:59).
Additionally, there are some amusing Bloopers of the Caribbean (2:58), Jerry Bruckheimer Photo Diary (1:40), and four Deleted Scenes (2:59).