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.

Review: The Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies

The defining chapter of the Middle Earth legend is The Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies

Throughout the opening minutes of Peter Jackson’s final installment of his prequel to the Middle Earth saga, the prevailing theme of war reigned supreme as the dreaded dragon Smaug, voiced by Golden Globe nominee Benedict Cumberbatch, breathed fiery fury upon quaint little Lake Town. The townsfolk survived thanks to Bard the Bowman, played by Luke Evans, but with their homes gone, they look to the Lonely Mountain for salvation, but there is a slight problem.

With Smaug out of the picture, literally he is only in the film for at least 10 minutes,  the company of dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield, played by Richard Armitage, have succeeded in reclaiming what is rightfully theirs and more; the vast fortune of gold that Smaug was hoarding for centuries have a particularly unflattering effect on Thorin and he is determined to hold on to his seemingly endless wealth like a politician who wants to hide his assets from the IRS. When Bard and the citizens of Lake Town come calling for their share of the treasure that Thorin promised them in the last movie, Thorin will not relinquish what is owed to the people.

Thandruil, played by Lee Pace, brings an army of elves to the doorstep of Erebor because Thorin’s new fortune also holds an elvish treasure of interest to him and even that doesn’t sway Thorin to let the people have what is rightfully theirs and the next thing everyone knows, all hell breaks loose as armies of men, elves, dwarves are pitted against two vast armies of orcs, and Bilbo Baggins, played by Martin Freeman, is in the eye of the storm. The Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies is a feature that is appreciative because it offers fans of the J.R.R. Tolkien literary series and the cinematic adaptation of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, one last look and huzzah at the Middle Earth legend.

The film itself is something of a rushed mess to be honest. It was paced nicely and it was decent in trying to tie the Hobbit franchise to the Lord of the Rings saga, its central function, but it was unfair and unbalanced in its method of trying to showcase their characters, it left too many unanswered questions and there was nothing that surprised me about this in any way, which is disappointing because Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy is a cinematic venture that I hold in the highest esteem while The Hobbit trilogy is basically the Star Wars prequels all over again; I already know how its going to turn out so what happened before is fascinating to look at but nothing to get overly enthusiastic about.

The Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies has a good cast of actors and actresses in it, I will not deny that. Armitage, Freeman, Evans, Pace, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Ian McKellan, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lily, Manu Bennett, Aiden Turner and Ryan Gage, are all decent with the material given to them. The problem is that it is as if Jackson and his screenwriting team of Phillipa Boyens, Fran Walsh and Guillermo Del Toro were in such a rush to wrap this franchise up that they didn’t really think about how to naturally allow these characters to finish their work in the story. When my mother and I saw this, I told her that this film and The Desolation of Smaug were supposed to be one movie and they decided to split them; I think the consequences for splitting the series were seen here.

I get that this is supposed to be Bilbo’s story, he is recalling the entire thing from memory and the film follows him, but at the expense of the rest of the characters? That’s a no no. The spellcasters vs. the necromancer, Smaug’s attack on Lake Town, Killi and Tauriel’s “relationship” is all pushed aside for this grand battle of the five armies, which isn’t all that impressive-if you’ve seen one Peter Jackson epic Middle Earth battle (and I’m not alone in saying that we have) you’ve seen them all-and the film just leaves so many questions unanswered at the end, it is terribly disappointing.

The real heroes of The Battle of the Five Armies have to be Jabez Olssen and his editing, Andrew Lesnie and his cinematography, Simon Bright and Andy McLaren’s art direction, the makeup team and the visual effects team. The production team leaders really poured a lot of effort into the extensive final battle sequence and it was nice to look at, even though it wasn’t the best battle sequence of the entire Middle Earth franchise.

The Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies isn’t exactly an enjoyable movie, but it is worth appreciating if you are interested in seeing how everything is tied together, sort of. It gives fans, like myself, one last look at the beautiful and dangerous realm of Middle Earth and that is enough reason to venture and see it.

Movie of the week: The Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies

Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings saga will always have a special place for me personally. Granted, the prequel Hobbit series haven’t exactly measured up to the standards left by the original trilogy, but they have some meritorious entertainment value. Now, the entire Middle Earth franchise will come to a stirring conclusion with The Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies. Picking up where The Desolation of Smaug left off, the company of Thorin Oakenshield have driven the dreaded dragon Smaug from the mountain, but at a terrible price. Now the challenge is holding on to it, while the armies of Middle Earth prepare for a conflict of epic proportions with the company of dwarves and Bilbo Baggins caught right in the middle of the storm.

What am I expecting to see?: This is a movie that is constantly promoting how epic it is in terms of sheer scope and size and it is said that this movie ends things on the highest note possible. The effects are supposedly better, there is talk about a 45 minute battle sequence, every loose end is supposed to be tied up and hopefully, this movie is worthy of being the defining moment of the Middle Earth franchise. There isn’t much to expect from the cast that hasn’t been seen before; Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ian McKellan, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Christopher Lee, Lee Pace, Orlando Bloom and Evangeline Lily are going to be solid. Jackson, Guillermo Del Toro, Phillipa Boyens and Fran Walsh should be able to wrap the franchise and the tale of Bilbo Baggins in a nice bow this weekend.

The Five Armies are Marshaling for War.

The dreaded dragon Smaug has been unleashed from his desolation and he threatens to bathe the lands of Middle Earth in dragon-fire. The company of Thorin Oakenshield have reclaimed Erebor but at a terrible price. The Necromancer has emerged from the shadows to exact his vengeance, starting with Gandalf the Grey. Lines are being drawn, forces are being gathered and Bilbo Baggins is smack in the middle of an explosive situation that threatens to turn friends into foes. The new trailer of the defining moment of the Middle Earth legend has just arrived. The Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies will be the final and fiery chapter of a sweeping and epic saga.

Peter Jackson will close the defining chapter of his cinematic Middle Earth legend. Jackson, Fran Walsh, Phillipa Boyens and Guillermo Del Toro crafted the screenplay from J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel. Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Richard Armitage, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Lee Pace, Evangeline Lily, Luke Evans, Orlando Bloom, Benedict Cumberbatch and Christopher Lee headline the cast. The Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies will blaze into theaters on December 17, 2014.

The Hobbit’s “Defining Chapter”

The dreaded dragon Smaug has been freed from his desolation, and he will rain down fiery death and destruction upon all of Middle Earth. Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and his company of dwarves are now left picking up the pieces, but a great darkness has fallen across the land. It will take all of the armies of Middle Earth to vanquish this evil before all that is good is razed to the dirt. Bilbo, Thorin and his loyal company, Legolas and Tauriel, Gandalf and Bard the Bowman will take the fight to the greedy dragon. The first trailer for what director Peter Jackson calls, “the defining moment” of his Hobbit trilogy, has finally reached the internet via Comic Con. “The Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies,” looks like it will hold its “defining moment” promise to close this epic prequel saga.

Returning to close the franchise is Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ian McKellan, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lily, Luke Evans, Lee Pace, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving and Christopher Lee. Peter Jackson will not only direct, he will have a hand in the screenplay with Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Guillermo Del Toro. “The Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies,” will blaze into theaters on December 17, 2014.