Dead Effective: Our Review of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’ on Blu-Ray

Posted in Blu-Ray/DVD, Movies by - October 03, 2017
Dead Effective: Our Review of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’ on Blu-Ray

While historically franchises have diminishing returns, once in a while they actually manage to steer the ship back in the right direction.  After a questionable fourth outing, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales gets back on the right course with a fun adventure that actually ties off one big plot point from the original films while opening the door for a little bit more.

With Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) down on his luck he’s looking for anything to change his fortunes and he may have just stumbled upon exactly what he needed.  When young Henry Smith (Brendan Thwaites) and Carina Smyth (Kara Scodelario) stumble into his life with a quest for the trident of Poseidon and an undead army of ghost soldiers led by the terrifying Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) freshly escaped from the Devil’s Triangle and looking for revenge against the man that put him there, Jack himself, the action on the high seas couldn’t get more intense.

I’ll grant that Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales doesn’t quite recapture the magic of the original trilogy but it works as a fun and charming romp that all ages can enjoy.

Going a little outside of the standard comfort zone for franchising filmmaking, the reigns of the franchise got handed to the dynamic filmmaking team from Norway of Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg who came to fame with the vastly underrated Kon-Tiki.  They effectively bring the colour and vibrancy back into the franchise giving it a very lush and rich feel.  These guys do have an effective sense of scale and know how to make movies that feel big and have transitioned well into the world of filmmaking with a nine figure budget and it’s not something every filmmaker can say when they get handed the reins to a multi-billion dollar franchise.  The script from Jeff Nathanson occasionally feels a little perfunctory and safe, but it does hit the necessary crowd pleasing points borrowing beats from the previous films to make something that was effectively while not taking any broad story telling risks.  It’s pure popcorn filmmaking and it plays out rather effectively.

Johnny Depp slides back into the pirate’s hat with ease and his usual aplomb but it’s all a little too easy.  While we love the character unequivocally it’s also feels like it’s time to hang up Captain Jack because while he’s a fun protagonist for an action franchise there can be too much of a good thing as the gags only have a limited shelf life.  Thankfully they did seem to be aware of this because while he’s still a focus, he does seemingly share equal time with some of the new people joining him on the high seas.  The new treasure hunters on his side in the form of Brendan Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario are charming enough but don’t have enough to work with in order to operate outside of their characters mission statements.  Scodelario gets to flash some moments of attitude and character development to make us want to see more of her, but Thwaites is just a little too rigid and the plot of him trying to free his dad Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) just didn’t give him anything to work with.  While Geoffrey Rush is his usual stalwart self and Javier Bardem manages to chew the scenery as Captain Salazar this isn’t the kind of film that is built on acting and just more on adventure and fun.

The picture and sound quality on the 4K Blu-Ray are just off the charts and a myriad of special features that let us dive into the world of Dead Men Tell No Tales including an extensive behind the scenes making of the film shine even more insight into this fairly strong entry into the franchise.

Nothing ever really does recapture the magic of a film that captured the hearts and minds of countless fans all across the world; however I feel confident enough to say that Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales certainly comes close enough.

Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)

This post was written by
David Voigt, has been a lover of cinema all his life and an actual underpaid critic for a solid 5 years covering everything that the city of Toronto has to offer. He was a content manager in video distribution industry before that and his love of all things cinema goes back to his first moments in awe looking up at the big screen. His 12 years of experience on the home entertainment side of the business have provided him with a unique view on what is worth spending your hard earned entertainment dollars on. Combine that with his unquestioned love of film, David should be your only stop to find out about the best in film, not only in Toronto, but worldwide.