The Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise is back with a fifth instalment named ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’ in the US and ‘Salazar’s Revenge’ in the UK. The film follows Johnny Depp’s iconic Jack Sparrow as he yet again searches the seas for an unattainable treasure – the Trident of Poseidon. With new companions Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) and Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario) in tow, Sparrow rejoins the likes of Barbossa and Gibbs to evade the capture of undead Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem).
Whilst the film remains yet another sequel in a high-overused franchise, I think it did pretty well by my standards. It was light, amusing and made a valid attempt at returning to the original Curse Of The Black Pearl. There is definitely an overarching feeling of the sequel, but by returning to a formula that works, they do in a sense return to a POTC which we know and love.
What Went Well
- Jack’s Back – after a disappointing Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, I think it’s fair to say that Johnny Depp was much better in this film. The opening film sequence was very entertaining and suitably ridiculous, which set a good tone for the rest of the film. The risque humour and quick quips certainly worked well.
- Sticking To The Good Stuff – I felt this film really stuck to its roots more than some of the other sequels. With a cursed crew chasing down the Sparrow as well as bumbling British fleet, it’s certainly putting a tried and tested formula to good use. The return of familiar faces such as Orlando Bloom further demonstrated the film’s loyalty to the originals.
- Proper Villains – The cursed Captain Salazar and his crew were pretty awesome bad-guys, and certainly made reminisce about the Curse Of The Black Pearl and Davy Jones’s formidable crew. Standout CGI meant these villains were running on water and releasing skeletal sharks, which is all you can want from a pirate movie.
- Bringing The World To Life – The Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise is well-known for its big spending and high budget blockbusters. The amount of detail which goes into the set and costume, as well as the general CGI certainly make films such as this one pretty epic. The reprisal of the extraordinary soundtrack rounds off that complete pirate-y feel.
What Could Have Been Better
- Fizzle-Out Ending – most of the Pirates films have that one problem of performing pretty well until the final act. I think At World’s End and Dead Men Tell No Tales epitomises this. You can easily get swept away in the adventure during the film, but the final moments try to be too epic and often end up being ridiculous. Wasn’t a fan of how this one ended (except for a certain reunion which I won’t spoil), would have preferred a gold old sword fight rather than another crevasse opening up in the sea.
- Assuming We Care – I think some franchises like Pirates Of The Caribbean and arguably the likes of Transformers need to remember that we are there for a good old action-flick. Whilst major character deaths, revelations do add to the film but aren’t as soul-crushing and dramatic as they’re shown to be. This a problem for many films and not just Salazar’s Revenge, but one that was pretty apparent come to the end.
Overall, I’d say the film was very enjoyable. It had some problems, but name a fifth franchise instalment that doesn’t. If you loved the rest of the films, then you’re pretty sure to like this one. Fun swash-buckling action with plenty of rum, ships and cannon-fire, it’s a simple watch with a few giggles and carefree action along the way.