Friday, May 26, 2017

'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales' (a.k.a. 'Salazar's Revenge') Is Flawed but Fun

The fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie, subtitled as either Dead Men Tell No Tales or Salazar’s Revenge, follows a down-on-his-luck Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) being hunted by the vengeful, pirate-hating Spanish Navy Captain Armando Salazar (Javier Bardem), who along with his crew and ship had clashed with a young Jack many years ago, which resulted to them being turned into ghosts and trapped in the Devil’s Triangle.  But having finally escaped, Salazar is determined to kill Jack along with every single pirate in the seas.  The only way Jack can ever defeat the undead Salazar is if he gets his hands on the mythical Trident of Poseidon.  And in order to so, he must team up with Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites), son of former allies Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightly), and Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), an astronomer/horologist who is frequently accused of witchcraft due to her intelligence.  Meanwhile, Captain Hector Barbosa (Geoffrey Rush), to save his pirate business, is forced to aid Salazar in searching for Jack.
At this point, with five movies under its belt, you would have been familiar already with what this franchise has to offer, and either you are a fan or not.  If you enjoyed the previous Pirates of the Caribbean movies, you will most likely enjoy Dead Men Tell No Tales (or Salazar’s Revenge).  If you disliked the previous films (as most film critics do), you will probably dislike it, too.

As for me, I belong to the former category.  I acknowledge that these movies tend to get dumb, convoluted, superfluous, and muddled.  But I find them a lot of fun, too.  For me, the appeal of Jack Sparrow persona never wears off.  He’s an extremely likable scoundrel, and this alone is almost enough to make every Pirates movie worth it.  I’m also very fond of Hector Barbosa, as he goes back and forth being Jack’s foe and ally (thus, I’m somewhat glad of his significant part in this movie).  Furthermore, despite how many times these movies succumb to nonsensical plotlines and convenient plot devices and conveniences, there’s just something lovable about the franchise’s distinctive brand of worldbuilding, spectacles, physical comedy, and sense of adventure.  Plus, it has one of the best movie themes of all time.  I can’t help finding these movies very entertaining.
Thus, Dead Men Tell No Tales (or Salazar’s Revenge) entertained me much.  It’s a Pirates of the Caribbean movie through and through – meaning, it has everything that people love and hate about these movies.  So, again, whatever your previous perception about the franchise, that would likely reflect what you think of this movie.

I do have some problems with it.  The pacing kind of dragged at some parts.  And its plot is the kind where you will immediately find details to nitpick left and right whenever you start to pause and think.  Here’s one off the top of my head: within the context of its plot and world, there’s simply no reason why Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann shouldn’t have had bigger roles in the story.  Retrieving the Trident and fighting Salazar would have been a cinch if Will and the Flying Dutchman were around.  Another one: weren’t undead villains already used in the first movie?  But, again, these simply come with the territory of a Pirates movie.  Besides, negative reflections only bother for a while as the narrative immediately throws something so fun to compensate – like guillotine gags and ghost sharks.
Overall, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (or Salazar’s Revenge) won’t change what you already feel about this franchise.  Just like its predecessors, I think it’s a flawed but enjoyable movie.

This is supposedly the last film of the series, but I do wish there will be another one.

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