Thursday, May 25, 2017

Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales: Sails to Adventurous Standards of the Franchise

In 2003 the movie world took to the seven seas with Pirates of the Caribbean. What was just a movie based on the ride from Walt Disney World became a massive blockbuster that would become a major series for Walt Disney Pictures. Since its first outing with Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, the swashbuckling franchise has had three sequel to its name; and now the series is back with yet another adventure in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Directed by the team of Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg, Dead Men Tell No Tales the fifth installment is said to be the final adventure and aims to emulate a similar tone to that of the first film. With the trailer showing off a blockbuster riddled with spectacle, the new movie looked to be another exciting adventure for the franchise. So does Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales sail towards glory or does this sea adventure abandon ship?

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales continues the adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), who finds himself in down on his luck since the events of On Stranger Tides. However fortune (or misfortune) finds Jack when he meets Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) the son of Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley). Henry warns Jack that Captain Armando Salazar (Javier Bardem) has returned from the grave and seeks vengeance on the pirate captain. In order to save his skin, Jack journeys with Henry and astronomer Carina Smith (Kaya Scodelario) to find the Trident of Poseidon which has the power to control the sea itself and lift any curse.

The plot to Dead Men Tell No Tales was adventurous to say the least. When it came down to it the story to this installment was a treasure hunt and this aspect proved to be effective for the movie's simplistic narrative.Yet despite its simple nature I was surprised at how well the movie was able to keep true to the continuity of the series. Several element from the past films, like emphasizing on the fate of Will Turner and using plot points from On Stranger Tides, were present in Dead Men Tell No Tales and each was handled in a way that worked for both franchise and the latest installment.Then again this was not to say that Dead Men Tell No Tale's story could not stand on its own as factors like visiting Jack's past left an impression for this plot. The only rocky area the plot had to sail through was the story's pacing as it range from either moving too quickly or dragging its feet. Yet even with that issue, and few minor flaws, it did not take away from the adventurous aspect behind this swashbuckling tale.

The Pirates films have always featured a massive cast filled with a variety of characters and the ensemble to Dead Men Tell No Tales was no different. First and foremost is of course Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow. The character's direction went as expected and while this development may not been anything new for the captain it was able to work for Jack while keeping his antics entertaining. Depp's performance as Jack Sparrow could be off time (though this may have been part of the character's direction) but it was not so off putting that it took away from the character's strengths. When it came to the new characters I was surprised at much I enjoyed them. Both Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario had convincing performances as Henry and Carina-although their development and chemistry could have been a little stronger. Meanwhile Javier Bardem made for a enjoyable villain as Captain Salazar. The character could have used a little time and development, but it Bardem's performance managed to make the ghost captain (at the very least) a viable threat for the heroes. Geoffrey Rush provided a strong supporting role as Captain Barbosa. Although character could have used a little more development, that was not to say that the character was ineffective as his moments were handled well-particularly his scenes with  Jack. The supporting cast had its fair share of hits and misses. Characters like Mr.Gibbs (Kevin McNally) served their purpose while others such as David Wenham as Scarfield got lost in the shuffle; and in Wenham's case I felt that his role was a missed opportunity. Along with appearances from the likes of Orlando Bloom, the cast to Dead Men Tell No Tales was a formidable crew that managed to work for the franchise as much as it did the film.

The Pirates of the Caribbean films have always had a sense of spectacle to go along with their adventures and this installment held true to that concept. While the movie does not change the game with the likes of effects or design both element managed to work within the realm of the movie. Living up to the franchise's sense of adventure was the movie's action. The action to this installment, while it could have had more of an impact, was exciting with several moments (such as the bank heist sequence) featuring a flare of creativity. Along with the action was the movie's humor which was as witty as it was absurd. Cementing the technical aspects was the film's score by Geoff Zanelli. The music kept true the composition made by Hans Zimmer and Klaus Badelt all the while being an energetic score for the latest installment.

I must admit I was pleasantly surprised with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. The film was far from perfect as elements such as story and characters were not as fleshed out as they could have been. Yet that is not to say that the movie did not have its share of merits as along with its decent storytelling and characterization, the movie could be clever with its technical factors and was simply a fun adventure. In many ways Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales lives up to the standards of the franchise as this swashbuckling adventure turned out to be a fun blockbuster for the season.

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