Film & TV

Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Everybody’s favourite pirate Jack Sparrow is back with another Pirates of the Caribbean franchise film.

This time – thank the lord – the Turner family is back in the picture, as Elizabeth and Will’s son, Henry, seeks Poseidon’s Trident. This magical artefact is meant to break all ‘curses of the sea’, thus Henry pursues it to break his father’s curse from the Flying Dutchman (avid POC fans, are you following me?).

Of course, the only way Henry can find this artefact is with the help of the best useless captain of the Caribbean – Captain Jack Sparrow. Along the way they gain the help of Jack’s old crew, Captain Barbossa and a filler ‘hot (but smart!) girl’ played by Kaya Scodelario (Skins, Maze Runner). Her role in the film is to point out the obvious, serve as the lead’s romantic interest and has a major, personal ‘reveal’ in the end (remind you of Elizabeth much?).

Plot-wise, the film follows the same narrative as its prequels (SPOILER ALERT!) – escaping a prison, finding Jack Sparrow, surreal action scene, lead man tries to get lead woman naked, Jack gets drunk, random sea witch appears, the British are insane, bad guy is defeated, everything gets resolved, couple kisses… BAM!

Literally, the same plot as the previous POC films, but this film’s plot seems to go way quicker than its prequels.

Everything happens so fast that there is a lot of dire context missing from new AND OLD characters. For example, how did Barbossa get so pompous? Why is Effie from Skins in this film? Is it that obvious that she’s just a filler character and ‘the great reveal’ at the end was just to heighten the moment?

Personally, I was a bit disappointed with Captain Salazar, the film’s main antagonist. His character’s physical aesthetic was very chilling, but in the end, he just appeared to be weak. The film, again, gave little context to his back story and, as opposed to other villains in POC’s previous films such as Lord Beckett, there are little-to-no scenes that show his true, evil nature which explains his hatred towards pirates, especially Captain Jack Sparrow. Javier Bardem was great in his acting, but it was too obvious that his acting was very limited due to the screenplay. This was starkly different to his past acting repertoire in films such as No Country for Old Men and Skyfall, both in which he played ace villains.

In all fairness to the franchise, this film seems to have been made for the fans – the ones who have been infatuated with the series since 2003… myself included.

If it had been a standalone film, with no previous prequels, I am positive in saying that the film would have been an absolute failure. But, if you are a hardcore POC fan, I am sure you will ignore all the negative things I have mentioned about the film and watch the film just because you love anything and everything from this inimitable pirate universe.

If you still have not watched the film, get ready to relive your childhood fantasies involving Orlando Bloom, as he has several cameos in the film, and you will cry with the ending scene. If you are a film noob and didn’t know that every Pirates of the Caribbean film has a post-credits scene, now you now. It is very, very worth it and might be a hint of another POC film. But this time, let’s hope that the next one has more of the old characters (Will+Liz 4ever) or more background story to the new franchise couple, Henry and Carina.

Marielle Wilkinson

@mariellewilko

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