FILM REVIEW: PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 5: Dead Men Tell No Tales (Contains SPOILERS!)

 
 
 
 

FACTS ABOUT THE MOVIE

 
US-title: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
UK-title: Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge
German title: Pirates of the Caribbean 5: Salazars Rache
film director: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg
screenwriter: Jeff Nathanson
producer: Jerry Bruckheimer
music composer: Geoff Zanelli
release date: May 25, 2017
running time: 129 minutes
cast:
Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Kevin McNally, Paul McCartney
 
 
 
 

WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

This movie tells the story of Henry Turner - William & Elizabeth Turner's 21-years-old son - who wants to find the "Trident of Poseidon" to free his father from Davy Jones' curse. To achieve his ends, he seeks help from an astronomist and horologist, called Carina Smyth, and from the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow. As it turns out, Jack Sparrow isn't as legendary as Henry had thought, but rather drunk and shipless. On the other end of the ocean: a now rich Captain Barbossa gets threatend by the undead Captain Salazar and his ghastly crew to bring him Jack Sparrow to get revenge.
 
 
 

GENERAL INFORMATION ON MY MOVIE EXPERIENCE

 
I went into the movie with pretty low expectations and I can only recommend you to do so, too - because that way you will get the most out of it. I saw the movie in English and in 3D. I can't really recommend the 3D to you, since it wasn't at all necessary.
But I can definitely recommend to you to watch the previous movies (you can very well exclude the 4th one though) before you watch this fifth one. Although it puts this movie in contrast with the amazing first three movies, it helps one to see deliberate parallels and to understand the allusions that are made to the previous movies, aswell as recognize old faces easier.
 
 
 

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT IT

 
The beginning of the movie felt incredible and actually set my expectations quite high for the following rest of the film. I sat straight in my seat and tears streamed down my face because there was Will and there was Will & Elizabeth's music theme and I just loved it. It was basically everything I hadn't dared to wish for in this movie. Before I had watched the movie, I had said that all I wanted from the movie were: a lot of the famous music, many scenes on ships (in contrast to the very few that were in the fourth one), old characters appearing while not getting their character changed too much, Johnny Depp having more screentime than he appeared to have in the trailers.
And the film actually fulfilled quite a lot of those expectations in the first half and also in general.
Although Will's hair seemed to be too long, and therefore obviously not Orlando Bloom's own, I was really surprised by the amount of time he was in the movie. Now, if you haven't seen the movie yet, don't expect too much on this point. It's just that I was a bit scared that he would end up only appearing as much in it as Mark Hamill had as Luke Skywalker in STAR WARS VII. And if you expect that little, the few lines he actually has are really a nice surprise.
 
 
 
 
 
I loved that most of the movie actually played at sea. I had wished for more scenes on ships and was definitely granted that. Especially in contrast to the many land scenes in the fourth movie, this movie presents itself with being set up to 80% on ships. Scenes on ships and seeing ships sailing in the sea, just gives me the pirate feeling that I want. I was definitely very happy with that part and also with the insanely beautiful beaches that they filmed. Overall, this movie gave me the Caribbean feeling that I expect of PotC movies. It's very astonishing that they filmed the whole movie in Australia. It definitely looks Caribbean. Therefore I was very happy with the cinematography in this movie. There were many great-looking scenes in it.
 
 
 
 
 
 
In contrast to the young lovestory in "On Stranger Tides" (the fourth PotC movie), I really liked the one in this movie. Of course it was obvious right from the first trailer, that Henry Turner would fall in love with Carina Smyth, but wasn't it as obvious in the first PotC movie that Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann would end up together? So that "obviousness" didn't really bother me.
I enjoyed watching both Henry and Carina in their scenes. Henry was incredibly handsome, which is only fair concerning the looks of his parents, and was quite likeable. I also very much enjoyed that he often mentioned how drunk and useless Jack was, because that mirrored my own impression of Jack Sparrow.
Carina was a strong-minded, independent and smart young woman and I really loved that about her. She had a certain wit about her that I deeply missed from Jack's side. She was probably the smartest character of them all and therefore very needed among these, otherwise, quite dumb characters and trashy scenes. She was fierce and basically everything I could wish for in a female character.
 
 
 
 
SPOILERS
 
It was very clear to me that Barbossa was Carina's father from the first time she mentioned searching her father. That is because this movie had been in the making for many years now and I once read rumours about Christopher Waltz and Rebecca Mall being cast for the villain and Barbossa's daughter. So I had known that the film would probably go in that direction. (click here to read that article from 2013) I wasn't too sure what to think of it but didn't oppose to it. I think it's sort of weird though, that if Henry and Carina were to have a child, that both Will & Elizabeth and Barbossa would be its grandparents. That reminds me a bit of Once Upon A Time and its confusing and awkward  family tree..
I was also quite certain that Barbossa would die in this movie. There was just a strong feeling about that to happen. Jack would obviously not die, and the fans would be outraged if they killed off Will or Elizabeth. So I waited for that moment to happen in the movie, and although I had often hope throughout the movie, that they would maybe not do it, I think that they did it in a way that gave Barbossa's character more depth. Although it was so obvious from the moment that Barbossa appeared on that anchor that he wouldn't get back up again - and though one could see right through the film's direction when Barbossa and Carina faced each other, and that he would die to save her, I still did not not like it. Still I'm not too sure if that should really be the end for Barbossa since it's not the first time he died in one of those movies. Geoffrey Rush said that he thinks it's the end for him, but he might just say it to not ruin the surprise of his return or to make the death feel more finite. I was very glad that he had taken off his dreadful wig in his last scenes. I could absolutely not stand that hair on him.
 
 
 
 
What I loved so so much about that movie was its setting on St. Martin. I have been to St. Martin in 2014 and adored this beautiful island. So when I saw the caption "St. Martin, Caribbean", my eyes were filled with hearts. And they stayed quite long on St. Martin and mentioned the island's name a couple of times, which made me smile brightly. It only bewildered me that they once referred to it as "the town St. Martin". Of course, it's also historically incorrect to use St. Martin because the English never occupied it but the French and the Dutch -  who still do. St. Martin is half French, half Dutch, to this day. Its French side is called Saint Martin while its Dutch side is called Sint Maarten. Still, I was obviously nevertheless very happy that they chose this setting.
 
 
 SPOILERS
 
I think everyone knew before going into the movie, that Elizabeth Swann would appear in it. Now, my expectations were a bit raised but I didn't expect her to be in it for more than a few seconds really. Throughout the movie I was actually quite certain that she would only show up after the credits, in the infamous "end-credit scene". Fortunately, she showed up before that and had that incredibly beautiful reunion scene with William Turner. They basically gave the fans everything they could have wished for in that hug and kiss - it was lovely and felt wonderful and heartwarming.
I hadn't expected them to show up again after that scene and was quite nicely surprised when they both did appear again in the end-credit scene.
 
There had been a tiny bit of hope in me, after I had just watched the third movie before the fifth one, that Davy Jones might appear in some way, since they brought Will back and with him, inevitably, Davy Jones' curse. But when the post-credit scene rolled, I hadn't thought about that at all. When that obvious shadow came into the room, I couldn't believe it and was very surprised. Of course I had hoped to see some old faces, but I didn't really believe that they would bring an old villain back when they had just made a movie with a new one and seemed to go that way. I wasn't too sure what the shells that Davy Jones left should mean but I so hope that there will be a sixth movie to clear that up. I don't want to get my hopes up too high since they never did anything with the end-credit scene in the fourth one (Angelica received a voodoo doll of Jack and would therefore have been the next villain. Funny fact: Angelica, who was played by Penelope Cruz, made place for her husband, Javier Bardem, who played the villain in this movie.)
But just imagine: The end-credit scene actually teasers a new movie starring both Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley and Bill Nighy as Davy Jones. I would have never dared to ask for so much in a new movie and can't quite believe that they would actually do it... but I would love to see it.




 
 
 
In the trailers, I had never quite known how to feel about the new villain: Salazar. I really like Javier Bardem, I think he can play quite intensely. My problem were the special effects on Salazar. The way they "erased" bits of his crew looked actually quite interesting. But I could never warm up too much to the way that Salazar's face seemed to fly in front of his head. It definitely gave me an unsettling feeling, which is probably not too bad if it's the villain who inflicts that.
Why do I write about that in the section that I liked? Because my fears of this bothering me were actually not fulfilled. Salazar didn't feel annoying or ridiculous (like Blackbeard did in the last one), he didn't take away too much unnecessary screentime for himself but functioned quite nicely. Although he wasn't given too much depth, it was still an "okay" villain, that neither bothered nor impressed the viewer.
 


 
SPOILERS
 
Since they teased possible sequels to this movie with the end-credit scene, they could have been bold enough to not kill Salazar off but reuse him as they did with Davy Jones in part three. It just feels too obvious when you watch a new PotC movie with a new villain and you already know from the beginning that they will eventually kill him off in the same movie. Still, he could reappear in some way, if they'd like him to. And that's not about me wanting this character back but rather wanting to not know that a new villain will eventually die in the same movie in which he gets introduced, when I watch a new PotC movie.



 
(Cotton's parrot, Master Gibbs and Marty)












 
 
Although Pintel and Ragetti (if you don't know who they are you have really missed out on two of the most funny characters in PotC 1-3. click here to see who I mean) were still not in this movie and therefore left a big hole of potential funny scenes in it; there were at least Master Gibbs and Marty in it, who I was so pleased to see. It's incredible how happy you can make the audience just by showing them old beloved faces. I really don't get why they don't bring Pintel and Ragetti back; as far as I know, the actors would be delighted to return.
 
 
I liked that the flashbacks of Jack & Salazar's past were relatively short and therefore appropriate in their length. They showed Jack's ship "Wicked Wench", which would later become the "Black Pearl", which made me want more flashbacks, especially of Jack, Cutler Beckett and Davy Jones' shared past. I found that young Jack Sparrow actor quite dashing and wondered who he was. They seemed to have dubbed him with Johnny Depp's voice. I later found out that it had actually been Johnny Depp himself, only made younger by visual effects. That really impressed me and gave me slight goosebumps. (I don't know how to feel about these recent events of animating a whole human. When I discovered that they had animated General Tarkin in Rogue One because the actor has been dead for over 20 years now, I felt a cold shudder running over my spine. It weirds me out a bit, that you think you watch an actual person act, but actually see an animated version. Of course it wasn't that drastic in this case, since Johnny Depp was actually playing the scenes and was only edited afterwards. But it still doesn't look like the current Johnny Depp and therefore like a different actor, who doesn't actually exist.)
 
 
 
 
 
 

WHAT I DID NOT LIKE ABOUT IT

 
My biggest problem with this movie was actually Captain Jack Sparrow - which is a very sad thing for me to say. He was nothing but a drunk, useless fool who made jokes that were cringy, sexist, unnecessary and not funny. He wasn't likeable at all. I don't know if Johnny Depp just always showed up drunk on the set and they went with it and made his character that drunk aswell to get that movie done, or if they actually persuaded him to play drunk all the time - which seems less likely to me. (The fourth movie came out in 2011, the fifth one was always set for 2015 and in production since 2013, so they actually took a very long while to get it done. Maybe this was also caused by Johnny Depp's drunkenness..)
I found it so sad, because after just having watched the first and third movie, I knew that Jack Sparrow hadn't always been that drunk idiot but a sharp-witted, creative and impressive pirate that made the audience love and admire him because of his smart words and moves. There was nothing of that in this movie. And I think it was the same with him in the fourth one: him making lame jokes and being rather unuseful.
Now, when I watched the trailer and had seen that young Jack Sparrow in the flashbacks, I had feared that Johnny Depp might actually not be in the movie for most of the time - so I was rather surprised by how much he was in it.. but while watching it I wasn't really too happy about that fact.
It felt as though they let Jack Sparrow destroy himself by making him such a fool with whom you don't want to have anything to do with. And although Jack had always emphasised his love for rum, Johnny Depp had never spoken him that drunken before (at least not through part 1 to 3). I read in some reviews that some viewers found his constant drunkenness to be funny - well I certainly didn't. It was annoying and cringy to watch.
Jack Sparrow has such a great first entrance scene in the first, second and third movie. That was my first disappointment in this new movie: His first entrance was a metaphor for his whole performance in the rest of the movie: ridiculous, awkward and to laugh at rather than to be impressed by him.
I feel like many people - unfortunately, including the ones who make these films - have forgotten that Jack wasn't someone to laugh at but someone to be impressed by and to laugh with.
 
 
 
 
 
Also, since I had rewatched PotC 1 and 3 before, I had known that the only slightly sexist thing in them had been the saying that it would be bad luck to take a woman with them on a ship.
Unfortunately, "Dead Men Tell No Tales" had a lot of sexism in it; and like mostly when there's sexism anywhere, it was so unnecessary. There were, for example, some unnecessary and perverted comments from Jack when Carina undressed herself. There were also, which I found horrific, two times when Jack remembered Elizabeth Swann and emphasised the size of her breasts, which made me go WTF?!?!?!?!. First, I found it so lame of the screenwriters and of Jack to reduce both Will and Elizabeth to their physical appearances when remembering them. Hadn't they watched the first three films in which these three bonded on a much different level? It was very disappointing to find out that Elizabeth's breasts should be the only thing that Jack remembered of her. That also diminished the fact that Elizabeth Swann had been an incredibly strong female character in the first three movies. She had done much more than just being a woman to gaze at.
 
 
Another thing that I really didn't like was that giant shipstatue/ figurehead that came to life to fight, rather at the end of the movie. It seems to be a recurring theme in the last big movies that I had watched, to include some gigantic monster to fight the heroes. (Avengers: Age of Ultron, Suicide Squad, XMen: Apocalypse) I found it utterly unnecessary and also something that made the movie feel like too much fantasy rather than piracy.
 
 
There were also the undead sharks that made me cringe a bit. The scenes in which the sharks or that giant statue were fought, made the movie drift into the trash movie genre for me, which I found so sad, because both these aspects were so not necessary.
What I had liked about the PotC movies was the seriousness with which they portrayed everything but still let humour slip through every now and then. (If you don't believe me and want to argue that PotC had never been too serious, then please watch the first PotC. It does take itself serious and still manages to include some nice jokes.)
The lame jokes also added to the trash-factor. It was very sad for me to see my beloved pirates drift into nonsense because, after all, I have grown up with Pirates of the Caribbean. This film series has accompanied me for over 10 years now. That's also why this story and its characters are so dear to my hear: I have grown up with them, have grown up adoring and obsessing over them. It just hurts to see them get ridiculed by their own actions.
 
 
Something that bothered me aswell was the fact that there wasn't a developed character among the English. I had always liked the idea of the other enemy, aside the pirate enemy: The East India Trading Company. But the reason that that had been an interesting enemy was always the one established leader of it: James Norrington and Lord Cutler Beckett. The Royal Navy had quite some screentime in this one, but never presented the audience with a single character with a name or a personality to grasp. I found that to be quite a mistake, since they could have easily established another enemy among the Royal Navy, had they only taken a scene to introduce a leader of them.
 
 
The movie was too often too dark for me. And I don't mean dark as violent but dark as not being able to see anything. If you watch the movie through the darkened 3D glasses, it will make it even darker, which makes it really hard to watch it at times. Especially the Salazar scenes were at times so black that I felt like I would fall asleep just because it was so dark. I never liked those scenes that are hard to look at because of their unclearness and I wish they had made some of those particular scenes a bit lighter. And since the 3D wasn't necessary, I can only recommend to you to watch it in 2D because then you won't have to look through those darkened glasses.
 
 
 
Although the movie started out amazingly in its use of its famous music, it slowed that musical aspect down quite a bit throughout the rest of the movie. I found it very unfortunate that they didn't use more epic music during the fight scenes. There could have definitely been more.
 
 
 

CAN I RECOMMEND THE MOVIE TO POTC FANS?

 
Yes. If you lower your expectations you will get pleasantly surprised by some old faces, allusions to the old movies, the famous music, and a much better film than "On Stranger Tides". 
Definitely sit through the credits! (I am always surprised by how fast people actually walk out of movies during the credits; if you watch a PotC or Marvel movie: KEEP F*CKING SEATED.)
 
 
 
 

CAN I RECOMMEND THE MOVIE TO PEOPLE WHO HAVE NEVER SEEN A POTC MOVIE?

NO. First: What the hell is wrong with you? Please buy yourself the Pirates of the Caribbean movies (click here) and watch the first three! Feel very free to leave it at that. If you want more, I would still skip the fourth movie, and watch the fifth movie with low expectations.
 
 
 

CONCLUSION

I have very mixed feelings towards this movie. It started out so extremely great that it got my expectations high, only to disappoint me when Jack Sparrow appeared and stayed too drunk throughout the whole movie. Jack was at times unbearable and took away a lot of his character's charme for me. I loved the many old faces and also liked most of the new ones. At times the movie drifted way too much into the trash and fantasy genre. Many jokes were unncessary, lame, unfunny and sexist. I was positively surprised by many aspects that the film did right (use of music, most of the scenes being on sea, Caribbean feeling, Will & Elizabeth, new characters, returning old faces).
The post-credits scene teasered a very interesting sequel to this movie and left the audience with a pleasant shock.
 
 
 
 

 MY RATING

I award this movie with 3,5 out of 5 stars.

 
 
 
 
 

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