Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean – Salazar’s Revenge, aka Dead Men Tell No Tales

Score: 6/10

Severe Spoiler Alert! –

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Please remind me never to go see a movie the first weekend it’s released. I always seem to have a kid behind me that finds it imperative to kick the chair in front. Looking around didn’t help, cursing in Dutch didn’t help. What is it with these parents nowadays? Do they not teach their kids social graces anymore? I agree I could’ve said something, but I had too much empathy for the kid and didn’t want to embarrass their parent in public. I hate confrontations. I should have though, for the sake of humanity.

I must admit I was tired when we went to see the movie. I tried to sleep in the car on the way, but it didn’t work. So, unfortunately, I’m sorry to say I fell asleep during the movie, my own snoring waking me up, as it usually does. My husband once told me I even scorned myself for snoring when it woke me up in the middle of the night 😀 . This time, I remember letting myself drift to sleep during a battle scene and I woke up near the end of it. I missed nothing. As there’s not much good to say about the movie, let’s analyze it, just for fun.

Movies are made to take you away from the here and now. The biggest taboo that could happen is to be taken out of that fantasy world abruptly during the movie. Unfortunately, this happened several times last night. The first thing that annoyed me was the senselessness of the first scene when we encounter Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp). Jack wakes up drunk in front of a firing squad. And nobody shoots him. Nobody. Then there’s the scene where the girl (Kaya Scodelario) meets the boy (Brenton Twaites) in shackles and, with a pin, she frees him from his bonds. She gets taken to prison, but lo and behold, with that same pin that was left at the scene of the crime, she draws on the walls. Did she have two identical pins? Surely they wouldn’t let her pick up her pin with which she opened locks before they took her away?

Then there’s Captain Salazar, a great performance from Javier Bardem. But why is his hair waving around as if he’s underwater? Why does he have black dribble running from his mouth as he speaks? What did Jack’s compass have to do with his predicament? Regarding his waving hair, his ship didn’t sink, it blew up. Salazar got thrown into the water by the blast, maybe that’s it. But why would it wave like that when he’s above water? It doesn’t make sense. My only reason for making it happen would be because it sort of imitates the ‘living’ beard of Captain Davy Jones (played by Bill Nighy in Pirates of the Caribbean-Dead Man’s Chest), which looked cool. There also was no curse mentioned at all for him to roam the seas forever, dead or alive. Apart from him being blown up in ‘unchartered’ waters. Why is he now cursed to be a zombie? Is that why he has black goop escaping his mouth? As to the compass, I’m completely directionless.

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Talking about the other installments, even my son (he’s just turned fifteen) mentioned that the other movies at least had red herrings running through the main storyline. The relationships between Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann, her relationship with her father. The father’s relationship with the Navy, the Navy’s relationship with Jack Sparrow, etc. Salazar’s Revenge had none of this. It was a one-line story, at least that’s how it felt. There was a brief moment involving the Navy (impersonated by David Wenham, to me always the monk from Van Helsing) and a witch called Shansa (played by Golshifteh Farahani), which I thought could have potential. However, the witch didn’t have the same dread as Calypso had (played by Naomie Harris in Pirates of the Caribbean-At World’s End). Not sure if it’s a director or editor issue. The whole sequence also kind of felt wasted when she didn’t appear in the movie further along.

The storyline was very predictable, very American. The biggest surprise/WTF-moment was at the end when Will Turner walks up to his (now grown) son. His son rips off the necklace his father had given him as a child, offers it to Will and says “Father!” Upon which Will Turner says “Son!” Really? If he didn’t know that was his son, why did he, of all the people on the planet, chose to walk up to him? I’m not even going to discuss Elizabeth Swann turning up that very moment.

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Now, CG-wise, this movie was awesome. It must have taken a tremendous amount of work to make it all look like it did. The wavy hair, the water, loved it (even if it didn’t make sense)! I always wonder how they do the water. In my opinion, the green screen was pushed too far, with dead pirates consisting of only a hat and an arm ‘walking’ around. Come on. And the dead pirates ‘jesussing’? WTF? This is inconsistent with what the cursed pirates did in Pirates of the Caribbean-Curse of the Black Pearl, where they walked underwater.

I can’t stop myself from mentioning the Barbosa’s monkey. Did anybody else notice it wasn’t the same monkey? I’m not saying ‘know thy monkeys,’ but this monkey definitely had a bigger nose.

There was one scene in the end that didn’t feel right for no apparent reason; when the boy gets the girl. No, I don’t count this as a spoiler, it is, after all, an American movie and you know from the beginning this is going to happen. Anyway, they stand all alone on a green hill, sun setting in the background, clumsy words are exchanged, and they kiss. And… it all feels wrong. It wasn’t the music, music was great. The setting was great too. I’m still not sure if it was the angle of the camera, the directing, or the editing that screwed it up. But there was something not there, like the scene with the witch. Maybe it was the casting. I thought the boy a bit too young for the girl, but maybe that’s just me being conservative. I don’t know. I’m going to put my money on the editing. Let me know your thoughts after you’ve seen it.

Do stay until after the credits. There’s a nice surprise waiting for you there. Even though it makes absolutely no sense at all 😀 .

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4 thoughts on “Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean – Salazar’s Revenge, aka Dead Men Tell No Tales”

  1. I think I shall miss that one…as for falling asleep on the way to the movie, it sounds as though you’d have spent your time better staying asleep?

    1. Well, I didn’t feel I missed anything. There were no funny actions as they used to have, no funny communications during the fight. There certainly was something lacking in this installment. Save your time and money for something more interesting, Bob 😊

  2. Jacky,
    I agree, Salazar’s Revenge is a good movie. I think you’re onto something with the wavy hair and being underwater too. It looks like they green screen the actors underwater.

    Stanley

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