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

Captain Jack Sparrow has led a very colorful life pilfering and plundering his way through the high seas and seedy ports around the world. There was a time when the world wanted to know what this practically peculiar privateer would do next after a grand adventure but now, it is evident that that time has washed away with the tides.

dead men tell no tales

Image by Disney

In the fifth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean saga, titled Dead Men Tell No Tales, Captain Jack has run afoul of some very harsh misfortune. Meaning, he’s broke, he hardly has a crew anymore and he still hasn’t managed to get his beloved Black Pearl out of that bottle from the last movie. To make matters worse, Jack’s reckless actions have awakened an army of ghosts, led by a Spanish pirate-hunter named Salazar, hell-bent on casting every buccaneer, marauder and freebooter to Davy Jones’ locker-or is it Will Turner’s locker since Davy Jones is dead and Will has replaced him? Who knows!

Anyway, Captain Jack’s only hope to save himself? He must ally with Henry Turner, the adult son of Will and Elizabeth, and the beautiful and headstrong woman of science Carina Smith to find the Trident of Poseidon, a powerful artifact that will endow upon its holder total command of the seas.

When the end credits started rolling on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, someone tried to gauge my thoughts on the film and all I could tell them was: “Listen, I’m just thankful it’s over!” I want to let you know that this is not my official reflection of the film, but the franchise in general since this is supposed to be the final adventure of the series.

Officially, I found this movie drudgingly unnecessary and mildly mediocre. I will admit that it was nice seeing Captain Jack, Gibbs and Barbossa again and I was willing for this franchise to shanghai me aboard for one last adventure on the high seas but while I was watching this, it dawned on me that I just outgrew this franchise; the magic and the appeal had waned; also I found it convenient that this movie had ghost sharks because with this movie this franchise definitely jumped over them!

I thought this movie had continuity errors, had a lack of balance in the subplots between the characters, had twists that strained credulity and what’s more it had me asking why didn’t anyone come up with this “Trident” concept two movies ago? Why couldn’t they just leave the franchise with the ending from the third movie where everything was just full circle and tied everything together nicely rather than force this happy ending from this installment upon audiences? I just couldn’t comprehend why the producers of this movie couldn’t leave well enough alone?!

Johnny Depp is business as usual as Captain Jack Sparrow, Geoffrey Rush as a well-to-do Barbossa was okay, Kevin McNally, Martin Klebba, Stephen Graham were faces I didn’t mind seeing again and it was cool that they brought Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley back. As for the newcomers to the story Javier Bardem steps into the CGI-aided role of Salazar and even though he has a reputation of playing a damn good villain, I feel as though he phones it in due to poor writing courtesy of Jeff Nathanson. Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario and Golshifteh Farahani did alright as well. Even Sir Paul McCartney snuck aboard! That was a hoot for a minute.

Directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg’s efforts to try and put wind back into the sails of this franchise were wasted. Paul Cameron’s cinematography, Roger Barton and Leigh Folsom Boyd’s editing, Geoff Zanelli’s score, Nigel Phelps’ production design, Penny Rose’s costumes, the art direction, the visual effects; everything technical is just more of what you’ve seen before.

I for one hope that Dead Men Tell No Tales is the farewell voyage of the Pirates of the Caribbean saga even though it had some post-credits scene I didn’t bother to stick around to see! The era of Captain Jack has come and gone; he has the Pearl back and I pray that Disney will leave him be from this day forward!


Movie of the Week: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

The swashbuckling Disney franchise that set sail on the high seas 14 years ago will come to a close (finally)! Captain Jack Sparrow has lived an “exhilarating” life to say the least. One could call it a true Pirates Life but his greatest adventure before him draws back to the past when Captain Salazar leads an army of the dead across the seven seas on the hellbent mission to exterminate every able bodied man or woman who sails under pirate colors. Salazar, like many, bears a grudge against Captain Jack and our heroic and plucky pirate hero’s only salvation is a mythic artifact that could turn the tides of the ocean forever. Sailing into theaters this weekend is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Directors: Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning

Writer: Jeff Nathanson

Staring: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem, Steven Graham, Kevin McNally, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Golshifteh Farahani, Sir Paul McCartney, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley

What am I expecting to see?: I honestly love the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and the kooky lead character of Captain Sparrow but this franchise needs to end in the worst way and I thank heavens that Dead Men Tell No Tales will end it! I hope this is entertaining, it brings the right amount of closure to this series and it ends on a high note. This is a great cast of actors and I don’t want to see any of their talents go to waste. I’ve been looking forward to Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales for a while now and I hope it is everything that I ask for.


Orlando Bloom Returns to Pirates of the Caribbean

The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise will always hold a very dear place in my heart. Probably because Captain Jack Sparrow is one of the most peculiar characters I have ever seen on the big screen and his antic and exploits on the high seas are nothing short of swashbuckling fun. Big fan of the first three pictures, and I actually enjoyed On Stranger Tides, so in a way I’m looking forward to the next installment, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, but truthfully I hope this is the final Pirates of the Caribbean movie; it’s getting old and played out already. Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Kevin R. McNally and Stephen Graham will ship out once again, and joining them will be a very familiar face: Orlando Bloom will reprise his role as Captain Will Turner.

By – Bitte bei Bildverwendung auch Link setzen (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

You may recall that when we last left Will, he had basically signed away his life to be the captain of the Flying Dutchman, and can only visit his beloved Elizabeth once every ten years. He’s got an interesting character arc, and while he’s not as colorful as Jack Sparrow, he helps ground the films with real stakes.

Rounding out the cast is Kaya Scodelario, Brenton Thwaits, Golshifteh Farahani and Academy Award winner Javier Bardem. Jeff Nathanson’s name is on the screenplay and Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning are directing the fifth installment of the franchise. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales sets sail on July 7, 2017.

Captain Jack sets sail once again

In 2017, Captain Jack is back in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Today, production officially began on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Academy Award nominee Johnny Depp will once again, reprise his signature role of the peculiar pirate Captain Jack Sparrow in the new adventure written by Jeff Nathanson and directed by Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning. Aside from Depp, Academy Award nominee Geoffrey Rush will return as Sparrow’s swashbuckling rival Barbossa, Kevin R. McNally as Captain Jack’s trusty sidekick Joshamee Gibbs and Stephen Graham as Scrum, from the previous Pirates installment. Joining the film is Academy Award winner Javier Baviem, Kaya Scodelario, Brenton Thwaites and Golshifteh Farahani. The official synopsis of the fifth installment of the high seas franchise has been released.

In the new adventure, a down-on-his-luck Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) finds the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost pirates led by his old nemesis, the terrifying Captain Salazar (Bardem), escape from the Devil’s Triangle, determined to kill every pirate at sea…including him. Captain Jack’s only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, a powerful artifact that bestows upon its possessor total control over the seas.

My reaction: ugh! This franchise is a particular favorite of mine and I enjoy Johnny Depp portray Captain Jack on screen, but for the love of all that is pure I want this to be the FINAL Pirates of the Caribbean movie! I’ll get out of bed to see this movie, it looks and sounds like fun, but these adventures on the high seas are starting to become shallow. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales sails into theaters on July 7, 2017.

Review: Rosewater

I confess that I don’t watch the news much. I don’t watch the Daily Show often, in fact I’m usually in bed by 11:00 pm. Before word reached my ears that Jon Stewart was making his directing a movie, I will admit that I was intrigued that he was writing and directing a film about a journalist who was accused of espionage on Iranian soil and detained for months in 2009.

Gael Garcia Bernal (right) and Kim Bodnia (left) star in Rosewater

Again, I don’t watch the news as much as the next person and I had no idea who this Maziar Bahari was; in 2009 I was about to begin my second year of college and I had other things on my mind during the time of Bahari’s detainment, but the film Rosewater is based on Bahari’s experience covering the Iranian election which led to his arrest and incarceration at the hands of Iranian interrogators.

As someone with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts, this movie taught me a most important lesson: don’t make any travel plans to Iran for business or pleasure in the foreseeable future. Jon Stewart has certainly crafted a fascinating film on his first attempt at writing and directing for the screen; audiences can definitely tell that he has inserted his own experience as a faux news anchor in order to reconstruct the events that Bahari has experienced.

Gael García Bernal as Bahari is decent as the main character. He doesn’t exactly have to give a good performance in this movie in order for Rosewater to be effective.

What makes Rosewater effective is the message that it is trying to send by bringing Maziar Bahari’s story to a motion picture format. Rosewater attempts to shed light on Iran’s attitudes towards individuals and organizations they deem as threatening to their way of life while Stewart subtly pokes fun of these Iranian officials while they are trying to get Bahari to confess that he is a spy trying to subvert the Iranian people from following the laws of Ahmadinejad, but that isn’t the case; Bahari was filming the riots that took place after the election, he took part in a mock interview with one of the Daily Show’s reporters and he has no allegiance to another government entity, but his interrogators at Evin Prison refuse to believe that he is telling the truth and they do not let him go.

Cinematographer Bobby Bukowski and editor Jay Rabinowitz demonstrate fine technique in terms of visually telling the story and the supporting cast including Kim Bodnia, Haluk Bilinger, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Golshifteh Farahani, Claire Foy and Nassir Faris are quite respectable in their performances as well.

Jon Stewart tries his hand at directing in Rosewater

What works against this movie though is that it seems a bit biased. Granted this is based off Bahari’s novel and if there is bias towards the Iranian government, it is probably warranted from Bahari but considering that the writer and director of the film is Jon Stewart, it just doesn’t seem as if it is objective; the supporters of  Ahmadinejad are depicted as robotic, easily quick-tempered and defensive, prone to paranoia and considering that Stewart is writing and directing this film it is as if he is simply poking fun at Bahari’s captors while promoting his own sense of patriotism, preying on the sympathies of the American public.

Rosewater is a remarkably straightforward film. The film begins with the question what has he done? The “he” being Bahari as the officials from the Iranian government come to collect him at his mother’s home after he shot the footage of the riots and sent them to the BBC, then his incarceration where he kept himself going with memories of his late father and sister and how they endured in prison for angering the government themselves, how his mother and pregnant wife led the charge to get him out, relying on support from various governments including the American government and how Bahari made his jailers look like villains, then when he finally grasped that they had nothing to go on while he was being questioned, they are seen as stupid villains.

Rosewater is a film that tries to incite sympathy for the multitudes of journalists still incarcerated by the Iranian government and it tries to promote how Bahari, after his release from Evin Prison, has made it his life’s mission to help the still wrongfully imprisoned in Iran, however he can.

I cannot imagine a movie like this being released in Iran today, but I can say that Rosewater is a surprisingly decent film from Jon Stewart. It isn’t a certified cinematic home-run, it is his first directorial feature, but it is certifiably likeable and worth seeing.