Movie Review: “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”

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Coming out 14 years after the first movie premiered, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” is the fifth entry in the franchise — which means there’s a lot of weight on its shoulders on whether or not this franchise will survive.

The answer is yes it can. When a franchise starts entering numbers after three, it’s really easy for it to start feeling tired and worn out, almost like a guest who has overstayed their welcome in our home. Even in the second and third film audiences started feeling slightly less enthusiastic about the series and by the time we got to the fourth one — which was absolutely terrible — it seemed like the franchise was dead and buried and yet, here we are, gearing up to see number five and no one is more shocked than me to tell you that not only is it a good a movie, but it’s also the funnest these movies have been since the first one.

Taking place years after the third film,  young Henry Turner, the son of Will and Elizabeth, (Brenton Thwaites, who legitly looks like he could be Orlando Bloom’s son) has made it his life’s mission to find a way to rescue his father (Bloom making a much welcomed return) from Davy Jones’s curse and bring him back home. He thinks he’s found a way when he learns of the legend of Poseidon’s  trident, which is believed to hold the power to break any curse. Setting out to find it, he recruits the help of Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and a girl named Carina (Kaya Scodelario), who winds up having secrets of her own.

As far as sequels go — especially for a series as long as this — this film had a lot of potential to be a disaster. Luckily for Disney and us, it’s not. In fact my only real problem with it was how recycled the plot was.

If you look at it, this plot is basically the same plot they did in the third film only in that one they were looking for Davey Jone’s heart to save Will’s father instead of a trident to save Will. So the story itself is a little underwhelming and I would have liked to have seen a little more originality with the the plot but overall I was able to overlook it and enjoy the movie for what it was.

There’s also a really weird and random subplot involving Carina that comes literally out of nowhere. I won’t spoil it for you, but it felt unnecessary more than anything and doesn’t add much to the plot at all.

It’s going to sound like I’m going soft on my movies lately but I really don’t have a lot of bad things to say about this movie because I enjoyed it a lot and had a lot of fun while watching it.

Going off of that, I’d like to say one of things I enjoyed most about this movie was that it made ‘Pirates” fun again! After the first movie was released, the films that followed got a lot more serious and even a little dark. The jokes became fewer and fewer and there was always this tone of despair that clouded over them. The reason everyone loved the first one so much was because of how fun and lighthearted it was while also serving as a good action movie. With this film, we get back to that feeling of having fun and enjoying ourselves while watching it. The jokes are the best they’ve been since the first one and I’d even dare to say this is easily the funniest entry in the entire series. There’s a scene where Carina attempts to explain what she does for a living that absolutely killed me.

This is also Johnny Depp’s best portrayal of Jack since the first movie and everyone on screen just looked like they were having a really good time which in turn makes us feel like we’re having a good time. This movie gets major bonus points for bringing back Will into the story and one fantastic cameo at the end that I won’t ruin for you if you haven’t heard about it yet but both those things combined only added to the level of excitement felt throughout the movie.

I don’t want it to sound like I’m hating on the other films — except for the fourth one, boooo! — in fact, the third one is actually my favorite. Even with that film though, it wasn’t very funny and again, it had this really dark and depressing vibe to it so this latest film felt like a much needed burst of sunshine.

The other thing I really liked about the movie was just how full circle it all felt. In the first movie, we learn Jack used to sail with Will’s father before he became Davey Jone’s prisoner. After Jack meets Will, the two of them go on their own set of adventures until Will ends up suffering the same fate as his own father and now years later Jack is teaming up with Will’s son after he left Will in the same exact position he left Will’s father in. It’s great writing on the writer’s part and I think because of that I didn’t take too much issue with the unoriginal plot point.

This is potentially the final film in the franchise and if it is I think it would serve as the perfect ending to this 14-year franchise. They wrap things up really nicely and end it in a way that feels final yet open all at the same time.  It may not be quite the magical experience the first one was and didn’t thrill me the way the third one did but overall, it’s a great adventure movie that feels exactly like the kind of summer movie we enjoy going to see.

The bottom line: It may not be all that original or offer us anything really new that we haven’t seen before, but DMTNT is the movie this franchise needed to breath into it new life and will give you hope that if they continue to make more films, they’re going to be films worth waiting for.

P.S. Make sure you stay for the scene at the end of the credits!

—keithariaz1@gmail.com