Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

 Yes, I’m a Pirates of the Caribbean fan. Something I would have said back in 2003 and I think until 2007.

The fifth adventure, with the perfect subtitle Dead men tell no tales is the most fun film since The Curse of the black pearl. Disney advertises this one as the “final adventure”, but after watching this you’ll wish there’s more (and yes, stay until the very last end credits, they still promise more).

Directors Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg managed to steer a fast paced adventure – It’s the shortest one with 129 minutes, but it’s also really the fastest one, no slow pretentious parts. Although I think that this is the accomplishment – in large parts – of screenwriter Jeff Nathanson uplifting work. He’s up there on my favorite writers list for his double duty on Spielberg’s Catch me if you can and The Terminal. Nathanson uses the confrontation between science and religion (in form of myths in this story) more effectively than the small bits of the same themes in ON STRANGER TIDES. Back then we had a cleric and a mermaid falling in love with each other – wonderful concept, but it didn’t get used properly. This time we have a boy, Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) who needs to believe in the power of the mythical Trident of Poseidon to be able to save a loved one. On the other side, the scientific mind, is a girl named Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario). She has to teach the boys, especially the bumbling pirates, how the world works. Another new member of the “Pirates” franchise family is cinematographer Paul Cameron who shot a beautiful movie, very reminiscent of his fabulous work on the pilot episode of HBO’s Westworld.

The new characters Carina Smith and Henry Turner are a welcome addition to the saga. By putting a new younger couple as the main leads, Sparrow takes his position as the third wheel, as the trickster, the harlequin of this story – and that suits him well!

The whole Elizabeth and Will drama from the third one worked so well that the small amount of nostalgia they put in the new one, started unexpectedly the waterworks for me in the theater. There is some closure to the drama of those two characters – curse and all – that at the conclusion of this movie, accompanied by the tragic music theme of the third movie – got me bawling through the end credits.

The music score is on par with the first movies. This time Geoff Zanelli is the commander of this franchise-ship and he does even a better job than Hans Zimmer did in the last movie. Zanelli uses of course the established themes of Klaus Badelt (yes, Mr. Badelt composed the world famous “Pirates” theme, not Zimmer) and creates a perfect canvas of new adventure and thrills music. And although At world’s end has the best soundtrack, this one is a fine and welcome addition.

I could go on, but have to stop to watch some upcoming summer movies. And although I hope there are many good and successful ones among them, I really wish that Dead men tell no tales is so successful that we’ll get another one.

Keep them coming, Yo ho!