Should you probably see the good blockbusters this summer like Wonder Woman (2017) or Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)? I don’t know, because those don’t have a Paul McCartney cameo in them. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is about as good of a fifth installment any franchise would be able to produce. As convoluted and bloated the Pirates franchise has become, I found myself enjoying this entry more than even Dead Man’s Chest (2006). This was because of how little it tended to digress as well as get caught up in minor details that didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. While the run time was about the same as most other films in the series, the pacing felt much smoother and natural compared to any of the other sequels.
The budget may have been scaled-down compared to record-breaking production-cost of 2011’s On Stranger Tides, but that doesn’t mean the effects are any less spectacular. The design of the haunting Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) is a good example of how CGI can be used correctly. I also think that the special effects will age gracefully throughout time as The Curse of the Black Pearl is fourteen years old and still has great visual effects. When there is no computer-generated effects involved, (so pretty much only the scenes on the mainland) the film has a bright, tropical-feeling. The camera shots may not match the Verbinski-era Pirates films level of cinematography, but it still manages to have comparable direction to most other blockbusters.
As far as the story goes, it has some problems. The story opens strong however, it re-introduces Jack in a comedic manner as well as provides an exciting chase scene. But as the plot continues it soon shows its problems of heavy exposition, cliches, and plot contrivances. How many times do we need to see Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) “almost” get killed and survive to tell the tale? This plot point has been used in every single film in the franchise and is not worthy of being repeated on multiple occasions. Many lines of the dialogue are written in as a series of dead-end quips which it worked for the type of film Dead Men Tell No Tales was going for as a light-hearted swashbuckling adventure.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is a passable and hopefully final entry in this franchise. The return of both Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) was a major disappointment, as Bloom, has a couple lines and Knightley does not have any speaking lines at all. But, as a good friend of mine said “Ham fisted closure is better than no closure at all.”