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.

The Fifth Swashbuckling Installment (Updated)

Word has it that Johnny Depp will crawl back into the skin of Captain Jack Sparrow one more time. Which means that there will be another high seas chapter to the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. This week, sources have revealed that the latest adventure is titled, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.”

Captain Jack Sparrow will set sail again in 2016 in “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”

The screenplay is penned by Jeff Nathanson, who wrote the screenplay for “Tower Heist” and the screen story for “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” and the directing duties fall to the directors of “Kon-Tiki,” Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning. “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” is set for production in 2014 and is scheduled for release in, you guessed it, 2015. Meaning this latest installment to this swashbuckling franchise will be released around the same time as “The Superman-Batman Project” and “The Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Is Captain Sparrow ready to contend with superheroes? Let’s find out.

Update: According to reports, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” has been pushed back to summer 2016. From what the reports indicate, the studio is giving the new screenwriter Jeff Nathanson and new directors Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning more time to adapt to the scale of the project rather than rush them into the spotlight with one of Disney’s profitable franchises. Such a shame. I was looking forward to see Captain Jack Sparrow duke it out at the box office with “The Avengers” as well as Batman and Superman. Still, I’m looking forward to the new swashbuckling installment all the same.

A look back at the 2013 summer blockbusters

Well moviegoers, it is August, which translates to: “it’s time to get ready to go back to school” a.k.a “summer’s over.” Astronomically, fall begins on September 22nd, but it is pretty easy to tell that summer is winding down and the the calendar days until school’s first term is getting closer and closer. Especially for me since I start graduate school in a few weeks. Anyway, let’s take a look back at a memorable season of summer flicks featuring monsters, heroes, aliens, zombies and the far and few between. If I was asked to describe this year’s crop of summer motion-pictures compared to year’s past, I would say I expected better from the films released between late May to July’s twilight. Let’s breakdown the best and the worst.

The surprise of the summer: “Fruitvale Station.”

The story of Oscar Grant is one to see in “Fruitvale Station

All of these big-budget, stylized and larger-than-life named movies completely overshadowed this gem, which could end up making rounds during Awards Season in 2014. Ryan Coogler’s docudrama about the last day of Bay-Area resident Oscar Grant, starring Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz and Octavia Spencer is one of the best films of the year and the sleeper of the summer. “Fruitvale Station” is a must-see movie.

The biggest disappointment of the summer: the super-hero films of the summer.

Summer 2012 was highlighted by two of the most profitable and iconic super-hero themed films in history: “Marvel’s The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight Rises.” Apparently, those movies were hard acts to follow. “Iron Man 3,” “Man of Steel” and “The Wolverine” were all highly anticipated adventures and there is no denying that they scored big at the box office, but unfortunately they didn’t live up to their respective hypes. All three films were nothing better than average at best. The genre has seen better than what the class of 2013 had to offer audiences. Speaking of super-hero films of summer 2013…

The best super-hero film of summer 2013: “Man of Steel.”

“Man of Steel” soars above its competition

Zack Snyder’s bold approach to his Superman origin story may not be in the same class as Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy but it was the best super-hero feature of the year so far. The feature was the most faithful to the origin story in the comic lore as possible as the details of Kal-El’s arrival on Earth led to the inevitable battle between Henry Cavill’s Superman and Michael Shannon’s General Zod. The cast was good, the direction was decent, the story was solid but somewhere along the line, this movie was just underwhelming. I really hope the sequel can pack more punch though.

The worst super-hero film of summer 2013: “Iron Man 3.”

I wish I go so far as say “disappointing” but I can’t be merciful here. Shane Black’s sequel to Jon Favreau’s installments was very disappointing. The beginning of Phase 2 of the Avengers Initiative was an adaptation of the Extremis storyline, where Tony Stark is up against a foe more dangerous than anyone he has ever faced: a terrorist calling himself, “The Mandarin.” Unfortunately, Shane Black altered the story to the point where it just feels so unfaithful to the original films and comics and the only saving grace was Robert Downey Jr. “Iron Man 3” missed the mark completely.

Best visual effects: “Pacific Rim

Guillermo Del Toro’s completely original sci-fi robots vs. monsters extravaganza boasts Academy Award caliber visual effects. “Pacific Rim” is set a few years into the future where giant inter-dimensional creatures called Kaiju wreak havoc on mankind and humanity’s only line of defense is the Jaeger Program: two psychically connected pilots operate a 25 ft tall giant fighting robot. The film also features a well-developed an imaginative story, solid performances from Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi, Idris Elba, Charlie Day and Ron Pearlman.

Best animated film of the summer: “Turbo

The underdog story about a snail-turned-speed demon is the most computer-generated animated fun I’ve had at the movies all summer. Unlike “Despicable Me 2,” and “Monsters University,” “Turbo” is an original idea with that special it factor that really gets the audience into the story and rooting for the characters.  The parallel plots between Ryan Reynolds’ Turbo and Michael Peña’s Tito is as equally fascinating as the concept of a snail racing in the Indy 500.

The best motion picture of the summer: “Fruitvale Station”

In terms of overall structure, entertainment value and impact, Ryan Coogler’s “Fruitvale Station” stands above the rest. I highly encourage movie fans to venture out and see this extraordinary movie.

The worst motion picture of the summer: “The Lone Ranger

Forgive me Johnny Depp for I am a big fan but this adventure from you and “Pirates of the Caribbean” director Gore Verbinski, just didn’t put the “wild” into The Wild West. Overall, this adventure starring Depp and Arnie Hammer was boring from start to finish and completely left its audience in the dust.

Final summary: This year’s crop of summer blockbusters was completely lackluster compared to year’s past. I always keep my expectations for a film high but overall, almost every movie I was looking forward to seeing this summer completely fell beneath the bar. Sure, there were a few exceptions but honestly, this year was dry in terms of excitement.

Fortunately, the year is about to experience a better class of film. The final months of the calendar year is typically when the elite class of films arrive in theaters for consideration for Awards Season. I’m really looking forward to what the industry has to offer when it comes to year’s end but unlike the summer blockbusters of 2013, I don’t want to end up disappointed.

Movie of the week: The Lone Ranger

Go back in time, to witness the rise of an outlaw who became an American legend known as “The Lone Ranger.” A Native-American spirit warrior named Tonto recounts the story of a man named John Reid. Reid’s brother and his father were Texas Rangers and Reid himself is recently deputized into the Rangers by his elder brother. On day, Reid and a posse were riding along into a canyon when they were ambushed and the posse was killed, except John, who awakes to find himself in a grave and a man named Tonto, explaining that he has “returned from the other side.” John and Tonto decide that the men who killed the posse, including John’s brother, must be brought to justice, but John has to wear a mask for the men responsible, believe him to be dead. In order to uphold justice, John becomes known as the Lone Ranger.

What am I expecting to see?: The team that brought audiences “Pirates of the Caribbean,” seem to be up to their old tricks as they deliver a supernatural flair, in addition to zany and outrageous swashbuckling action to a classic Western adventure about a masked outlaw, his trusty Native American sidekick and his steed named Silver. This is one of the more under-the-radar summer blockbusters of the year as it is overshadowed by other big-budget projects yet, director Gore Verbinski has never disappointed whenever he teamed up with Johnny Depp, who adds another peculiar character to an already versatile body-of-work. Arnie Hammer looks the part of the masked outlaw and I’m expecting him to shine just as bright as Depp, even though Depp has top-billing in this feature. Not much is known about the supporting cast outside of Tom Wilkinson, Helena Bonham Carter and William Fichtner, which is intriguing but the cast looks solid. I expect “The Lone Ranger,” to be a hit with audiences who grew up watching the show on television back in the day and a hit with the audience who are new to the franchise.

Side note: I want to wish everyone following the blog a Happy Independence Day weekend. Enjoy the food, fireworks and, if you have time of course, the movies.