Originally posted to Miniature Trading on May 30th, 2017
Dead Men Tell No Tales Movie Review
Here are my thoughts after seeing the movie a second time (first viewing was the first one I could go to, last Thursday 5/25/2017 at 7pm).
I thought the movie was great overall but a bit disappointing based on the previews and past movies.
Random things I liked:
-Jack pulling a pistol on Henry after Henry held a sword to him (like father like son, CotBP)
-Jack roping the shark, and tricking Carina
-Pretty much the entire St. Martin part, especially with Jack drinking rum on the way through and the actions/lines of the other pirates.
-Wedding scene was extremely random but funny
-Blurring of lines between protagonist/antagonist. If you hadn’t seen the previous movies, it would be very easy to root for Salazar (who never did any wrong, arguably other than killing defenseless pirates). None of the protagonists are as lovable as in the previous movies (other than maybe Barbossa), and they really don’t deserve everything they get in this movie. If this were anything like real life the bad guys won big-time. (also the Royal Navy wasn’t as “evil” as it was under Beckett, and they lost too)
-Post credits scene (mostly since it hints at a 6th movie)
-Barbossa talking about the Pearl only having one captain (AWE)
-I generally enjoyed the lines and comedy
-Not enough original music, though they did a good job reusing themes in new ways (Geoff Zanelli was supposedly a protege of Hans Zimmer but the lack of brilliance showed)
Things I didn’t like:
-They completely wasted their star power. Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley and Paul McCartney got like 5 minutes of screen time combined. Everyone was hoping for more Will and Elizabeth after On Stranger Tides, but the movie almost completely ignored them.
-By extension, they wasted the Flying Dutchman. There were multiple scenes where it would have been perfect for Will and the FD to pop up. One was when Jack and his crew threw Henry overboard. Will could get angry at Jack and confront him, which could have led to Will and the Dutchman playing a role for the rest of the film (along with making a great entrance). Also, when Salazar grabs Henry, we don’t see him again until Salazar possesses his body (lol). This is another great opportunity – the Silent Mary is alone on the water, Salazar looks like he’s about to kill Henry, and then all of a sudden the Dutchman shows up and starts shooting at the Silent Mary!! Would have been a fun ship battle, maybe with the same ending if Salazar and his ghost crew just ran away towards the trident and Will can’t do much but watch. Also could have had the Dutchman on the other side of the divide with her own anchor. (can she shoot while submerged? Imagine seeing the FD zooming along underwater, shooting cannons out one side of the water and into the other at the ghost crew!!) An absolute utter waste of one of the coolest characters and coolest ships in the series.
-Continuity problems. Everyone is talking about how the whole flashback did away with the established story regarding Jack’s compass, but also his accessories and hat.
-Why did Salazar and his crew survive? Since they died in the Devil’s Triangle, but this also brings up the fact that they’ve done the same thing for every movie (undead/unkillable antagonist with cursed crew on a ship with some kind of supernatural power)
-Will should die since he has no heart (lol)
-Elizabeth doesn’t talk
-Henry and Carina are a bit bland, and I’m a bit sick of the forced love story between two characters we don’t have a lot of reason to care about (this aspect was far worse in OST but continues here)
-Plot revolves around an all-powerful device that gets destroyed almost immediately without anyone being able to use it hardly at all
-Carina is like the “science woman” who explains everything in plain detail to the audience, while everyone else in the film is a buffoon regarding it (except for Barbossa to some degree)
-Forced family theme (similar to the Star Wars problem) – in a big world/universe, why do random family connections unexpectedly happen all the time? Carina wasn’t that likable and the way and speed in which the concept was introduced didn’t make me care more about Barbossa (he’s already a great character)
-Why was a Royal Navy ship of the line (by the looks of it, nearly a 3 decker if I saw things correctly) able to catch the Black Pearl that night? Barbossa was running from the dead, so there’s no reason to not go full speed.
-Too magical: For me this movie had too many cartoonish, supernatural elements. Obviously that’s been a theme since the beginning, but the entire Trident sequence towards the end (from when they touch land until Barbossa falls) felt way too much like some Guardians of the Galaxy/cheap superhero kids movie sequence. It felt too “disneyfied” (I like Disney but the previous movies had more realism and historicity). Too much science/gems/magic/fake island stuff for me.
-Jack isn’t as enjoyable – I actually didn’t have as much of a problem with this like most people did, since it makes sense for him to be a washed up drunk after all he’s been through and frustrated with the Pearl still in the bottle.
-Pacing was a bit too fast – movie could have been longer with some more exposition/slightly more drawn out scenes. Some fast cuts during the action sequences (especially the night battle between Jack and Salazar) were hard to follow, tough to tell what was going on with the details.
-Another dead villain after one movie. I understand they aren’t sure about a potential 6th movie, but I thought Salazar was probably good enough to remain as a villain for more than one movie (not as good as Davy Jones).
-Salazar and crew too similar to DJ and crew: can’t step on land, can walk through stuff (brig cell w/ Henry)
-Davy Jones or Barbossa returning in another movie would continue to cheapen the threat of death for the main characters (Elizabeth and Blackbeard seem the most reasonably mortal)
-Why wasn’t Jack more hurt from getting stabbed with the trident? (even before it broke there was no blood or evident pain)
-Especially during my first viewing, it really didn’t look like Salazar was about to kill Carina at the end. It seemed like all 5 people on the chain could just keep climbing, with Barbossa letting Carina go ahead of him if he needed to defend her from Salazar. Jumping off and dying on purpose seemed completely unnecessary and was kind of a cheap death, especially with how little the audience likely cared about Carina and how much people loved Barbossa. (Jack also didn’t seem to care about Barbossa’s death at all, but he’s understandably happy to finally not have a rival for control of the Pearl for once)
-Jack just randomly didn’t have his signature hat on when sailing off with the Pearl at the end
I seem to have had the opposite problem most people had. My expectations were too high for this one (based on the cast and amazing previews, again, wasted star power), but low enough for the 4th one (which was originally going to have a lower budget, and obviously a different cast than 1-3). The 4th one was as good or better than I expected it to be, but this one was somewhat of a disappointment. It seems like others expected way more from the 4th but after that one (which most people liked far less than I did), their expectations were lower for this one.
I did enjoy the film a little bit more the second time, since I knew what to expect.
My updated rankings:
1. 1 and 3 (1 is a more “perfect” movie due to 3’s plot and deals being hard to follow)
3. 2 (DMC)
4. 5 (DMTNT)
5. 4 (OST)
Also, I agree with most of this. I’ve made some customs that you can find at the bottom of the Epic Seas sheet (4th tab).
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!!
Great review. I have been meaning to watch this one for some time but I haven’t gotten around to it. Your critiques are similar to others I have heard from people that have seen the movie, particularly about the star power being wasted. I still plan on watching it when I get a chance but now I at least know what to expect when I watch it so I wont be too blindsided. Thanks for the thorough review!
Thanks for the comment! I do still recommend the movie, especially for fans of the series in general. Unfortunately it was a bit disappointing, but still a good movie.
Great review Ben. I enjoyed reading it and felt every emotions on your likes and dislikes about the movie. I still want to watch it. Will share my thoughts too.
@Wil: Thanks! Some pros and cons for sure, but overall a great movie experience. Just tough to measure up to the first 3.