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'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales' still isn't the sequel we've been waiting for

(ONE Media, YouTube)

Estimated read time: 7-8 minutes

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THE BLACK PEARL — Whether you wanted it or not, a new “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie is hitting theaters, and you probably won’t admit it, but you’re likely curious if it’s any good or not.

That’s why I’m here— to give you my opinion that you’ll likely get mad at me for and ignore, but you’re going to get it anyway because maybe there is one person out there that I can help make an informed decision.

The fifth installment of the swashbuckling franchise, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” had a lot going for it and a lot fighting against it before it ever released. In the “good” column, we had the addition of Javier Bardem and the return of Orlando Bloom. Not to mention another go around with Johnny Depp as the now iconic Captain Jack Sparrow.

The thing going against the film was the simple fact that pretty much every sequel in the franchise has been pretty terrible.

So did the good or the bad win out? Well, that’s a tricky question to answer. I would say “Dead Men Tell No Tales” is the best Pirates movie since “The Curse of the Black Pearl,” but that’s also not saying a lot.

Here are a few reasons why “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” is both worth your time and also a disappointment:

The good

Javier Bardem =============

This should come as a surprise to no one, but Bardem is a fantastic villain in this movie and adds more to the film and the franchise than anyone else has— with the exception of Depp.

Bardem is an actor who knows how to play the baddie better than just about anyone else in the business. Bardem’s Captain Salazar is smart, brutal and terrifying, but the best part about his character is the fact that he truly does not believe himself to be a villain, but rather a hero. The fact that he thinks he’s doing what is right in his conquest makes him even more menacing and forceful, which makes for a really fantastic nemesis for the antihero Jack Sparrow.

Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg

The directors for “Dead Men Tell No Tales” are not household names, but I think they soon will be. The duo has a handful of titles under their belts, but it was the 2012 film “Kon-Tiki” that really started turning heads.

With a film of this magnitude and budget, you need directors with a keen eye and an understanding of action and adventure, and I feel Ronning and Sandberg delivered. The film has the familiar feel of the earlier installments of the film, but there is an intangible vibe to “Dead Men Tell No Tales” that is unique to the franchise and the stylized visuals make for a visual treat. There is plenty of CGI in the movie, but for the most part, the directors make it part of the scenery as opposed to the focus of the shot, which made for a more realistic feel at times and made it easier to get lost in this world.

The biggest knock to Rønning and Sandberg is the fact that their pacing got off track a time or two, which also became an issue with “Kon-Tiki.” But overall, I really enjoyed what these two did and look forward to more work from them.

Johnny Depp (of course)

I’m not sure there is a lot to say here other than Captain Jack is back, and he’s every bit as lovable and infuriating as always. This is the role Depp was born to play and he delivers yet another fantastic performance as the dastardly pirate with a heart of gold.

You’d think after five films the clumsy Sparrow would get obnoxious, but somehow, I still enjoyed seeing him up there on the big screen.

The bad

Way too many storylines

One of my biggest issues with the Pirates sequels was the fact the writers tried to jam way too much into one film. Unfortunately, this happens with “Dead Men Tell No Tales” as well.

Granted, we don’t have the mess that was “At World’s End,” but we have way too much going on which ultimately robs other storylines that really lie at the heart of the film. In fact, we have enough going on here that the two new characters introduced to the film, Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario, seem to be forgotten even though they are crucial to the plot and development of the film.

One of the reasons “The Curse of the Black Pearl” worked so well is that one main storyline was the focus of the film, and it wasn’t bogged down by a thousand other storylines. The main idea of the film was given space to breathe and grow instead of being overpowered by lesser tangents.

Orlando Bloom =============

I don’t want to be mean just for the sake of being mean, but I have to be honest— Bloom was really bad in this movie. He was only in a couple of scenes, but his acting seemed so forced and awkward that they were hard to watch.

I’d go back and watch the earlier installments to see if I just didn’t recognize the bad acting, but I don’t want to put myself through the torture of sitting through the second and third film again. Maybe I can just watch “The Curse of the Black Pearl” again. Thankfully, he’s not in much of this movie, but the scenes he is in are pretty rough.

It can drag

For a movie all about pirate adventures and maritime action, this movie can get monotonous at times. For the most part, there is some kind of action going on the whole time, but I found myself looking at my watch at times wondering how much longer this was going to take.

“Dead Men Tell No Tales” is actually the shortest of all the Pirates films with a running time of two hours and nine minutes, but it felt much longer at times. It’s hard to explain, but even with the action going on, the film’s pacing managed to lose my interest more than once and I found my mind wandering to entertain myself.


Overall, this is not a great movie and there is a certain scene with a bank and only 12 horses that was a little hard for me to swallow even though I knew it was a movie. This is not the return to form for the franchise we were all hoping for, but by the time the credits roll, you’ll be entertained for the most part— even if you do leave the theater feeling a little let down.

Performances from Bardem, Depp and Geoffrey Rush definitely help the film, and this is not the train wreck that most of the sequels are. So with all that, it’s a film worth checking out at least at some point, whether it’s in the theater or maybe at home on your couch one night.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” is rated PG-13 for sequences of adventure violence, and some suggestive content. Dave Clyde will have a full parent's guide for the film on Thursday that you can check out for what kind of content you can expect to see in the new Pirates movie.

![John Clyde](\.jpg?filter=ksl/65x65)
About the Author: John Clyde \----------------------------

John has grown up around movies and annoys friends and family with his movie facts and knowledge. He also has a passion for sports and pretty much anything awesome, and it just so happens, that these are the three things he writes about. Contact him on Twitter at @johnnypclyde.


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