Tuesday, May 30, 2017

POTC: Dead Men Tell No Tales - A Review

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales opened this past weekend to a massive $324 million opening. So it's a real pity that the movie is such a clunker. None of the performances are particularly good, the story is a rehash of the same old, same old and the villain of the piece is completely two-dimensional.
Johnny Depp returns to familiar territory with Captain Jack Sparrow, but his performance in DMTNT is completely lacking in interest or the zest that the character had in previous installments.
Javier Bardem's Captain Salazar had the potential to be genuinely creepy, but his performance was so ham-fisted and blunt that any menace was removed by the slightly constipated expression the character maintained throughout the production.  And honestly, considering what he had to work with, constipation may have been preferable to other reactions.
Brenton Thwaites is one of the newcomers to the franchise. He plays Henry Turner, the son of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann.  He's certainly good looking, but he brings absolutely nothing to the role besides pouty lips and puppy-dog eyes. The role of Henry could have been played by any other vaguely hot blonde actor working in Hollywood. Yes, his character is that bland.
The other newcomer to the cast is Kaya Scodelario, who plays Carina Smyth. There's actually some interesting things about her character, and she does play a linchpin role in the movie. However, the character is never really utilized as anything more than a nag and a piece of set dressing.
And finally, we have the return and exit of Geoffrey Rush as Captain Hector Barbossa. I'll admit, I have an enormous affection for Barbossa's character. I was secretly hoping that he might get a spin-off movie, but chances seem slim that it will happen now.  Rush does what he can with the character, but even Barbossa feels stilted and ineffectual in this movie. Mores the pity, considering it's probably his last appearance in the franchise.
As for the plot? Its a paint-by-numbers plot that feels squashed, as if they were trying to cram three movies worth of ideas into a single film.  It doesn't drag. Quiet the opposite. DMTNT rushes from one scene to the next with a sort of spiritless energy that's more tiring than exhilarating.
There were some nice special effects, but the movie didn't even have the benefit of gorgeous scenery. If you're filming in Australia and New Zealand, why not take advantage of the scenery?
So, is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales worth seeing?
In my humble opinion, I would say 'No.' I would skip going to see this in the movie, and maybe catch it on DVD or on-demand.  On a scale of 1 to 5, I'd probably give this film a 2.
And, in all honesty, at this point they should either kill the franchise (unlikely given the cash it's made so far), or spin it in a new direction.

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