Everybody loves some Jack Sparrow in their movie experience, right? What? Isn’t it 2003 anymore? Well, nobody told Disney. You are still getting a ton of him in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
The Film: 2/5
So, Disney has decided that they still won’t let their theme park ride turned blockbuster movie franchise die. After one pretty decent flick, two very weak follow-ups, a fourth flick that some people liked a little better, we get yet another one in the franchise. Yes, this is the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean film. And what do we get in Dead Men Tell No Tales? Well, basically the same movie we’ve already seen. Jack Sparrow is adventuring about with his crew, but no ship. For sure, this is an interesting arrangement for a band of pirates. But we all know that Sparrow can’t have a normal arrangement. Again, the flick features an opposing band of pirates that clashes with him. Barbosa obviously makes an appearance. Yeah, pretty much the same thing we’ve seen a few times over IN THIS SAME FRANCHISE.
At the start, Will Turner is still stuck aboard the Flying Dutchman. His son, Henry has grown up to be a navy man but has always wanted to find a way to free his father. When Henry is locked up for mutiny, he happens to luck out as Captain Salazar and his ghostly crew attacks the ship. Salazar and his crew leave him alive to give a message to Sparrow that he is coming for him. The reason is rather unimportant as the point is there is a supernatural pirate crew that is coming after him (again). We can just assume that Sparrow has done something terrible to make an enemy out of this guy (again).
So most of the boxes are checked for a Pirates flick. What is left? Oh yeah, a romance with a strong female character. Disney will get to that right away with Carina, a young astronomer that is sentenced to death for the trumped up charge of witchcraft. When Sparrow is imprisoned alongside her and scheduled for execution, Henry and Sparrow’s crew frees them both. The lot of them exchange notes about Salazar and Poseidon’s Trident, which should free Will and defeat Salazar’s crew. So now we have the reason for them all to team up and set off on an adventure.
This isn’t to say that Dead Men Tell No Tales is bad. It isn’t. It is just something we’ve seen before, but worse. We’ve seen the same basic Pirates of the Caribbean story a few times over and this one brings nothing new. It is just a new generation of Turner and love interest with Carina. Sparrow is the same character as the last four films. It is all just a rehash. Still, it is probably better than the first two sequels. It is a bit weaker than the first and probably a little better than the fourth Pirates movie. Even Salazar and his crew feel like we’ve seen their sort of shtick before. And that is because we really have.
Not everything about it is bad, though. The acting is mostly pretty good. Obviously, Disney was serious about getting good actors. They brought in Javier Bardem for Salazar. Kaya Scodelario was also quite solid as Carina. For that matter, Carina was probably the most enjoyable character. Unless you just love you some Jack Sparrow. And Sparrow is just Sparrow. The same Sparrow we all used to love over a decade ago. Speaking of Sparrow, some of the more prominent members of his crew are also pretty entertaining as characters. But in the end, it doesn’t bring anything you haven’t seen and hasn’t been better in this franchise before.
Technical Side: 4.5/5
The picture and audio of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is quite solid. Nearly reference quality, the only thing that really brought this image quality down for me was the darks. Sometimes the darker shadow and sea scenes lost some definition. The image is sometimes a little too shiny, but that isn’t really the problem of the transfer, but of the digital effects that are literally everywhere in this film. Equally as strong is the audio. The track offers clear audio and score throughout the film. Additionally, the audio delivers on special effects throughout. The canon bursts play great on the surround system and deliver satisfying power in every action scene.
Special Features and Packaging: 3/5
The bulk of the special features consist of a seven-part feature with the cast and crew:
Dead Men Tell No Tales: The Making of a New Adventure:
- A Return to the Sea: Quick spots about returning to the franchise.
- Telling Tales: A Sit-Down with Brenton & Kaya: The two discuss what it was like to come into the series as the newbies.
- The Matador & The Bull: Range of topics on the new antagonist from personality to special effects.
- First Mate Confidential: This features the first mate and the actor’s routine for the films.
- Deconstructing the Ghost Sharks: A look at the special effects shots in the movie.
- Wings Over the Caribbean: Focused on the Paul McCartney cameo.
- An Enduring Legacy: A franchise retrospective.
Bloopers of the Caribbean: A few quick outtakes. Doesn’t compare to the Liar Liar, but not bad. Plenty of Johnny Depp being goofy.
Jerry Bruckheimer Photo Diary
Deleted Scenes: A couple short extra scenes. Nothing major here.
Overall, not bad, but nothing memorable here. None of this truly stands out, but at least they put a few things of merit on here.
The packaging is pretty standard with a slipcover that uses that same art as the cover.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Overall: 3/5
I’ve got to say, with a franchise this long, you often have some real stinkers and some mediocre flicks. Dead Men Tell No Tales is the mediocre part of the franchise. It looks nice, though. Perhaps the film looks a little too artificial at times for sure but remains pretty to look at. It also sounds great, as it should for its production. Extras on this release are solid. But the movie holds it back so much. I’d say just don’t bother until the franchise has a really good entry that demands you watch earlier ones for the whole story.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.