A Tale That Probably Should Have Stayed Dead
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A Tale That Probably Should Have Stayed Dead

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

A Tale That Probably Should Have Stayed Dead

(Obligatory spoilers warning!)

If you're anything like me, you would have been nervously (and happily) awaiting the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie since the year 2013 when there were just light whispers of this film being a real thing. Just two weeks ago, this film was finally released, and I, of course, had to see it the day it came out in theaters. As Dead Men Tell No Tales ended, my anxiety for this film was finally over, but, unfortunately, was merely replaced with sorrow (and a bit of anger).

Now, I remember going to the fourth Pirates movie, On Stranger Tides, in eighth grade and being in absolute awe (yet again) of Captain Jack Sparrow's continued wit and charm. The opening of the film, where Jack escapes from the grasps of the British soldiers, put me right back into the mood that I call, “Hell yeah, Pirates of the Caribbean.” On Stranger Tides held all the charm and adventure that I was so fond of in the first three films. I was back in the romanticized, pirate world that I had easily grown to love. The fourth movie was, in the usual spirit of Pirates of the Caribbean, a blend of accidental cleverness, myth and history, and romance and action. It was fantastic and fun. Although I know that loving the fourth movie as much as the first three movies is an unpopular opinion, I will always allow myself to group it with the first three due to its inclusion of epic sword fights, a terrifyingly awful villain, a wonderful plot (even with the addition of Penélope Cruz), and the ridiculousness and wonderfulness of Captain Jack Sparrow himself that has forever and always captured my attention for a full two hours.

Reentering the present (and the time now after the release of Dead Men Tell No Tales), I find myself in the position of feeling obligated (as a Pirates fanatic and no film expert of any kind) to share a few of my opinions on it. And, that being the case, I must say that I was incredibly let down — brokenhearted even — by this fifth Pirates movie.

Where had the clever and playful Captain Jack Sparrow gone? Where was the badass female lead who could hold her own against a band of pirates? Where was the fantastical and mythical world we’d been introduced to in the first four movies? Where was the fear? The romance? The daring sword fights? I would ask “Where was the rum?” but the unfortunate truth of not asking this question is because there was too much rum in the fifth movie. Unfortunately, the beloved Jack Sparrow of the first four films had completely lost his swagger. Rather than being a proud and daring pirate, he was merely a drunken shadow of the Captain Jack Sparrow who always had a plan, a fight, a treasure, and an escape route ready to go. Though there was a short reprieve of my despair during moments of the film (like the two scenes with Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightley and the swinging guillotine action), those mere minutes were not enough to save the film from scathing reviews. Dead Men Tell No Tales will never hold a candle to the epic trilogy or the fourth episode of Pirates of the Caribbean. In this film, there was missing chemistry between the new cast of characters, a pretty awful young CGI Jack Sparrow, zero witty banter (and altogether poor writing), and an overall ridiculous and complicated plot that tried too hard to introduce new characters and tie too many not-really loose ends together. It was a film which, like the unofficial (according to me) eighth Harry Potter story, felt more like terribly written fanfiction than a true continuation of the tale.

As excited as I was to dip my toes back into the world of Pirates of the Caribbean, I came out of the movie theater sorely disappointed. In the words of a New York Times article that I happened to glance at, “Trust me on this: This movie would be a rip-off even if someone paid you to see it.” And in my opinion, it is high tide for the Pirates of the Caribbean narrative to become a dead man's tale.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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