Let me give you a word of warning: so far, before this Pirates movie, I have only thought the first one was fantastic. Dead Man’s Chest is only half a good movie, At World’s End feels like a disappointing remake of Matrix Revolutions, and At Stranger Tides is frankly a piece of absolute shit. So when I say that PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN – DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES is the best Pirates film since the first one, and the only other one I actually enjoyed immensely…you know I have to be telling the truth. In fact when you wake up early on the weekend to make a 9 am showing like I did, and the movie captivated you the entire time, you know that you won’t make that movie swab the poop deck of your mind.
What the movie does well is try to be it’s own adventure. I know that On Stranger Tides did as well, but On Stranger Tides completely relied on Johnny Depp to bring the whole movie together, and it failed completely. It didn’t try to make you care about Ian McShane or Penelope Cruz’s character, and the Tree of Life MacGuffin was used so stupidly I can’t even fucking remember why they wanted to find it in the first place. I guess to live forever? Which if I wanted to watch a movie that pulls that off I’ll just stick The Last Crusade in my Blu-Ray player again. This MacGuffin, the Trident of Poseidon, actually has different purposes, not just for one character, but for ALL of the characters, where you actually want them to reach the goal because the goal is extremely important to the plot.
And while some people might think it is lazy writing, the film introduces new characters that have to do with past Pirates characters that we care about, so it actually has us default to care about them a little bit. But their acting also works as well. Brendon Thwaites and Kyra Scadder…(I’m not looking up how to spell her name so I’ll say the girl from The Maze Runner movies) are actually quite good in this and bring some chops that were missing from Ian MacShane and Penelope Cruz from the last adventure. The film also does a great job by not just relying on Johnny Depp to bring the movie together. He is there a lot, but the film gives equal time to the other characters so we don’t get sick of Depp’s performance like we did with On Stranger Tides. I also like that there are really two MacGuffin’s in this film, where the black compass that we have seen Depp with throughout all the movies, has an interesting role to play.
And I’ll get this also out of the way. Yes, you get to see Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly in this, but just a warn of warning, one character gets about 5 minutes of screentime, and the other maybe two minutes, so don’t rely on their nostalgia to make you like the film. I would be also remiss if I didn’t mention that the action sequences in this movie are all pretty awesome. Yes, you get the cool ship pirate battles with cannon balls galore but this film has so much more fun stuff in it. You get a great sequences of not just a bank safe but an entire bank building being dragged through a town, a cool sequence with zombie dead sharks trying to keep two of our heroes, and the finale (I don’t want to spoil it here) is the most memorable of all 5 movies, with incredible set design and special effects. Yes, it is even better than the finale of the first film.
Also, the movie finally had some balls on some of the fates of the characters. It managed to course correct one fate of a character I didn’t care with what they did with him/her in the last couple of films, and not everyone survives this journey, which I appreciated (everything can’t all be happy and hunky dory). Also, Javiar Bardem makes the next best villain since Geoffrey Rush in the original. I never really cared for Ian MacShane or Davy Jones in the other sequels. Be sure to stay through the entire credits for an extra important scene possibly setting up the next film (although I kind of don’t like what they might be doing) that gives two important characters one or two more minutes of screen time.
But I really really really enjoyed this Pirates film, and I can’t see why critics aren’t enjoying this one as well, especially when they enjoyed the so-so Dead Man’s Chest and meh-meh At World’s End. This movie is entertainment in spades and will definitely check this out again. Maybe I liked it so much because On Stranger Tides is one of the biggest pieces of shit at the bottom of the adventure ocean. But this film gets a promotion, and is nowhere near having to walk the plank for this Movie Pirate.