Dearest Blog: Yesterday (and the day before), it was off to Marquee Cinemas for the latest installment in Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing of consequence that hasn't been revealed already by trailers and advertising.
Further misadventures ensue when Captain Jack Sparrow is enlisted for another magical mission.
Dear reader(s), so we're clear from the outset: The POTC franchise is my Bond, my Star Wars, my Avengers...all rolled into one. It's where Jack's compass would point if I held it in my hands. Any review is no more than one person's opinion, but my opinion of a POTC movie will never stray too far from a heart-eyes emoji and a bunch of exclamation points.
You may have heard that Dead Men Tell No Tales harkens back to the original POTC, the Curse of the Black Pearl, and in many ways this is true. Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) and Carina Smith (Kaya Scodelario) are a poor man's Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann on a parental quest; Thwaites even looks like a young Orlando Bloom at times. As a devoted fan of Johnny Depp, lately I've wished he'd steer clear of the "quirky guy in a funny hat" roles, but I'm powerless to resist Captain Jack. He lights up the screen like no one else can, and, if he can never duplicate that element of surprise that came with the first outing, it's clear he is an icon, still much loved by movie-goers...much like the POTC films themselves. Javier Bardem's Captain Salazar is the stuff of nightmares, and his ghost crew represents some of the most interesting CGI I've seen in many a moon, tops in a picture that's filled with plenty of huge, masterful effects. (Two words: ghost sharks.) Dead Men Tell No Tales continues the franchise's history of hilariously clever action sequences (another brush with the executioner is a highlight), and the movie keeps its secrets well enough for some nice reveals. Geoff Zanelli gets credit for POTC5's rousing score, though it features plenty of callbacks to Klaus Badelt's stunning Curse of the Black Pearl soundtrack, and one very special Will Turner cue from Hans Zimmer's work on At World's End. Fans of the franchise will be delighted to see such familiar old faces as Mr. Gibbs (Kevin McNally), Marty (Martin Klebba), Murtogg (Giles New), Mullroy (Agnes Barnett), and of course Captain Barbossa (the brilliant Geoffrey Rush). At this writing, I've seen POTC5 twice in 2D and once in 3D, and the only appreciable benefit to the 3D is that it lightens up some too-dark scenes; otherwise it’s not worth the upcharge and glasses headache. The movie is exciting enough that it doesn't seem overlong, but it does slow down juuuuust enough in the middle that a little trim might have been to its benefit. Finally, though this installment has been billed as "the final adventure," it clearly means "final adventure" in the same way the Rolling Stones mean "farewell tour." Dead Men Tell No Tales doesn't just leave a door open for more POTC movies; a great post-credits scene practically promises them.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales runs 129 minutes and is rated PG13 for "sequences of adventure violence and some suggestive content."
POTC5 is is a rollicking adventure filled with fun characters, terrific effects, and plenty of laugh-out-loud humor, perfect for the first holiday weekend of summer blockbuster season.
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales gets all nine.
Fangirl points: All of it really, but how about those Middle Earth connections, David Wenham (Faramir) and Adam Brown (Ori), and of course...Sir Paul McCartney!!
Until next time...