This, much like Alien: Covenant, was one of those movies I was unsure about writing a review about. The early reviews were less than favourable and all seemed to be along the same lines. Here’s my two-cents.
How do you keep a franchise moving along? Well, sometimes, not very well and others, generally not well either. It’s a tricky thing, people move on, times change and you can’t keep telling the same story time and time again.
Well, so I thought, until I saw Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. You see, if follows an ‘on-trend’ Hollywood ‘thang’ we seem to be going through of remaking movies, very often in the same franchise, almost shot-for-shot.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales has so many familiar scenes, so many things we’ve seen before, that you begin to wonder why they’ve bothered actually shooting anything. They could have saved themselves the bother and spliced previous Pirates of the Caribbean movies together.
Even the opening set-piece (does anyone else wonder why it’s taken Hollywood so long to pick up on this James Bond way of starting movies?) is ripped straight from Fast and the Furious, including the horse power!
One thing you may have heard levied at Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is that Johnny Depp’s character has been kept to a minimum, that he’s almost a side-story.
Perhaps I was watching a different movie as I didn’t get that at all. I thought he was as much a central part of the tale as in any of the previous movies.
If anyone was kept to the side-lines I’d have said it was Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) who just manages to get in the odd “the black pearl” every now and again.
It is true that new-to-the-franchise Brenton Thwaites (The Giver, Maleficent), as Henry Turner, and Kaya Scodelario (Moon, The Maze Runner), as Carina Smyth, are front and centre. Picking up from Bloom and Knightley, though playing pretty-much the exact same roles.
It’s also true to say that Javier Bardem (Skyfall, No Country For Old Men), as Captain Salazar, steals virtually every scene he’s in. Some of that is to do with the astonishing special effects on display to him and his crew, as well as his acting abilities.
Instead of Naomie Harris as the witch character we get Golshifteh Farahani (Body of Lies, Exodus: Gods and Kings). Instead of Lee Arenberg and Mackenzie ‘someone-give-this-guy-a-directing-job’ Crook we get two guys who I can’t even bothered to look-up.
But perhaps the main issue with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is that it’s nothing new and I don’t think anyone has yet forgotten the previous movies.
The movie drags its heels at times. It lacks the non-stop action of previous outings and the laughs are also thin on the ground.
I don’t know why we’re all so surprised that there will be another one, potentially another two. It’s making money at the end of the day and that’s (like it or not) what the industry is about.
But it is a shame to see what was a fun, easy-watchable, action, comedy romp get reduced to, what can best be described as a regurgitated mess.