It’s been six years since the last sequel in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise arrived, and it wasn’t exactly a shining example of an entertaining high seas adventure. In fact, I couldn’t even tell you what happened in that movie. That’s how memorable On Stranger Tides was when it arrived around this same time in 2011.
Now we have Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales arriving in theaters this weekend. How did it turn out? Is it closer to capturing what made the first installment of the franchise so great, or does the return of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow fall in line with the lackluster sequels that followed? The /Film crew sounds off with their own thoughts below, and then you can let us know what you think in the comments.
First up, here’s what Ben Pearson thought of the the movie:
Dead Men Tell No Tales is a loud, chaotic attempt to recapture the heart and humor of the first movie in this franchise. Unfortunately, it fails on just about every level: the moments intended to be heartwarming feel forced and unearned, the infantile “humor” left my audience silent during what were clearly intended to be big laugh lines, and the action scenes – like the big bank heist (hey guys, that’s not how buildings work) – feel like the filmmakers ticking required boxes instead of crafting organic, fun moments. Just because it’s better than On Stranger Tides doesn’t mean it’s worth seeing.
Our editor-in-chief Peter Sciretta found himself enjoying it much more:
Like many of you, I was a huge fan of the first Pirates of the Caribbean film. Johnny Depp was brilliant and Gore Verbinski’s swashbuckling tale was a good homage to the classic Disneyland ride while also being just a kick-ass film. No one was asking for another Pirates movie, but Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is a pleasant surprise. I think most fans of the franchise will be happy we got this one, or at very least, they will enjoy it more than the last two installments, which were a bit of a mess.
What makes this new Pirates movie good is that they went back to the roots of the series and concentrate on the characters we love and their legacies. The main villain’s story is intimately tied to Captain Jack Sparrow’s past and the central MacGuffin that everyone is chasing has very personal stakes for the characters involved. I miss Gore Verbinski’s over-the-top action sequences, though. This one has a fun, elaborate opening set piece, but it never quite manages to top it.
Meanwhile, Jack Giroux had this to say about the sequel:
Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is significantly shorter than Gore Verbinski’s sequels, but it feels much longer. After five movies, it seems like there’s nowhere else new to go. Jack Sparrow is playing his old hits, but they’ve lost their charm. He’s now joyless. At the beginning of the series, he was funny, unpredictable, and there was a genuine push between good and evil in him. He wasn’t a typical blockbuster hero. Now, the pirate is a hollow shell who mostly cracks iffy jokes. His pursuit for the trident of Poseidon goes through the motions without any real emotion, laughs, or thrills. Even the action is lacking, never reaching the grandness of Gore Verbinski’s action. There’s a bit with a guillotine that’s clever, but that’s about it. The rest of the movie is two hours of Sparrow facing a threat who pales in comparison to Davy Jones and Captain Barbosa. The Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) effect is never convincing, but that’s the least of this consistently underwhelming sequel’s problems.
As for me, I was absolutely bored by the recent sequel. Dead Men Tell No Tales feels like it’s desperate to duplicate the success of the first movie, but it can figure out how to do it. The repetition of ghostly pirates and new MacGuffins isn’t making anything more exciting in the story department, and even in the execution of the action itself, there are only a few moments that made for decent entertainment (the escape from execution was fun, but not outstanding). It doesn’t help that the most exciting setpiece is basically lifted from Fast Five in the form of a bank robbery that sees a vault and the bank surrounding it dragged across an entire town. Even the score feels like its on autopilot, and that used to be one of the best parts about these movies.
Furthermore, as gifted as Johnny Depp is at playing the perpetually inebriated Jack Sparrow, the schtick has gotten old, and the jokes just don’t land as well anymore. The cameo from Paul McCartney was a solid bit, but otherwise, the humor in this franchise is stale. Not even an enthusiastic Javier Bardem can make this sequel any more engaging. Even the score feels like its on autopilot, and that used to be one of the best parts about these movies. Despite having fresh blood behind the camera, I think it’s time to let this franchise sink.
But that’s just our opinion. What did you think? Was this a return to what made Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl so fantastic? Or is it just more of the same without bringing anything worthwhile to the big screen? Sound off with your comments below!
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