Pirates of the Caribbean : Dead men tell no Tales – Film Review

Rating : 3 / 5 stars

What’s it about?
Pirates of the Caribbean : Dead men tell no Tales is the fifth installment in the  successful Pirates franchise and is directed by director duo Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg. It stars Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem, Brendon Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario among others.
Henry Turner, son of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann from the first three films, is searching for Jack Sparrow to seek his help in finding the Trident of Poseidon, which can break any curse and will give its owner control over the seas. Henry finds Jack, and along with a “woman-of-science” named Carina in tow to guide them, they set out in search f the Trident, trying to stay one step ahead of the British Navy who are hunting for Jack. Meanwhile an error in judgement from Jack sees the release of Captain Salazar, a dreaded Spaniard who was famous for hunting down pirates, from his eternal prison in the Devils Triangle.  Hunted by Salazar and the British Navy, Jack and Henry must race against time and find the Trident before it falls into the wrong hands.
Do they manage to complete their quest? What ulterior motive do Henry and Carina have in searching for the trident? Is the Trident just a myth or does it really exist? These re some of the questions that the film manages to address in its run-time.

What’s Good?
This film is a definite improvement over the last film in this franchise. It manages to whip up a sense of adventure that is infectious. The film is also quite fast paced and filled with well choreographed action set pieces and does not allow the viewer to delve upon its plot holes. There is a lot of humor in the film and most of the jokes work. The flashback sequence which serves as a backstory for the villain is one of the highlights of the film as we not only get a good origin story for the villain, but also an origin story for Jack Sparrow as well. Special shout outs to the VFX and the art direction of the film as both are really good.

What’s Not?
There are too many subplots and not all of them are tied up properly. At more than 2 hours of runtime, the film does feel a little stretched out. Some of the scenes feel more cartoony than cinematic. My main problem with the film was that Jack Sparrow was used more as the comic relief and not as the main protagonist. Its mostly not his story and is just there along for the ride. Also, the writing robs him of any sort of character development and reduces him to a comedian. In the previous films Jack always had those few heroic moments that showed the viewer that under all the drunkenness and jokes, he was still a man with a plan and was in control of himself. Here he is a pale shadow of his former self, and that is really disheartening to see.

Performances
Geoffrey Rush gives the best performance in the film. His character arc is the best among all the characters and allows him to be serious, funny and heroic. Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow feels more of a caricature of himself this time around. With the film robbing him off any sort of character arc, he is reduced to mouthing jokes and acting drunk. Kaya Scodelario gets a lot of screen-time as most of the adventure is around her, and she does a decent job. Javier Bardem brings a certain amount of menace to his role. Rest of the cast is good in their respective roles.

Final Word
A decent adventure film, this marks a definite improvement in the Pirates franchise and is a fun time in the movies. A definite one time watch.


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