Following PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END being marketed as the final installment of the PIRATES franchise Disney decided to make another one. They racked up a reported $320MIL budget to film PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES in Australia. To be honest I am glad they did. AT WORLD’S END looked good but it was dreadful, finishing on something more impressive makes me happy. I am a fan of the franchise and I love all things pirates and seafaring so I was on board for another sail. PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES releases tomorrow, Thursday 25th May in Australia from world dominating Disney. It is 135mins long and rated M. 


Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Javier Bardem image
Javier Bardem




The latest swashbuckling adventure finds down-on-his-luck Captain Jack feeling the winds of ill-fortune blowing strongly his way when deadly ghost sailors, led by the terrifying Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), escape from the Devil’s Triangle bent on killing every pirate at sea…..notably Jack. Jack’s only hope of survival lies in the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it he must forge an uneasy alliance with Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), a brilliant and beautiful astronomer, and Henry (Brenton Thwaites), a headstrong young sailor in the Royal Navy. At the helm of the Dying Gull, his pitifully small and shabby ship, Captain Jack seeks not only to reverse his recent spate of ill fortune, but to save his very life from “the most formidable and malicious foe he has ever faced.”


Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Brenton Thwaites image
Brenton Thwaites



The Pirates’ movies have been on a slide from awesome with THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL down to dreadful at the bottom of the ocean with AT WORLD’S END. In film order the Rotten Tomatoes scores have gone 79%, 54%, 45%, 32% with scores on hold for this instalment. It appears Johnny Depp’s likability has adhered to the same scale. It was surprising when they announced another film for the franchise after the declining reception. Gore Verbinski jumped ship after his trilogy, Rob Marshall walked the plank after his shite instalment and Disney went a weird, but remarkable, choice with Norwegian directors,  Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg. The director’s made one of my favourite films of 2012 (2013 or even 2014 in Australia) KON-TIKI. Coincidentally a movie about a bunch of guys adrift in the ocean. If you haven’t seen it – DO IT!!


So how does DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES match up? It comes in at equal second to me in the franchise with PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST. It doesn’t do too many new things and mostly re-tells THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL. A crew have been supernaturally ruined by Jack Sparrow and will kill everything in it’s path and power to find and destroy Jack Sparrow.

I find the direction of Rønning and Sandberg follows the Disney Pirate template well but is more nuanced and slightly less bombastic. Some sections of the film felt slow but it does give you time for catch ups and the film has an interesting tale for Captain Barbosa, a tale I quite liked. Further to this is the tale of Will Turner and his son Henry, I loved it and would have enjoyed the movie more if it was about Henry’s search for Will with a minor role for Sparrow. 

The CGI is off the scale for PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES and is some of the best you will see. And one thing I have not said for a long time…to fully appreciate this movie it NEEDS TO BE SEEN IN 3D. It is the best 3D since GRAVITY and adds an extra layer of awesome. I also suggest the biggest 3D screen you can find and an ATMOS sound theatre for the cherry on top. Technically the movie is flawless.


Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Johnny Depp and Kaya Scodelario image
Johnny Depp, pirates and Kaya Scodelario



Depp does the same routine, pissed most of the time and doing a lot of stupid shit until he needs to save his ass. It’s a pass from me. Rush returns to his role with aplomb and it is the first time I have appreciated his character over Sparrow’s. Brenton Thwaites is one of my favourite up-and-coming actors and he was perfect in this role. I loved his innocent naiveté, “I just saw her ankles” hahaha. He is also drop dead gorgeous and a perfectly cast son for Will Turner. Kaya Scodelario of MAZE RUNNER and SKINS fame is a good independent character that fits the Elizabeth Swann mould. Her and Thwaites worked well together but their chemistry didn’t quite reach Bloom/Knightley league. 

Javier Bardem as Captain Salazar was great casting, he does dark and evil well. Originally it was going to be Christoph Waltz but there ended up being scheduling conflicts. I am more than happy about this – Waltz has done bad-guy to death. Salazar looks insanely impressive. His and his crew’s CGI is astounding and the way they do his hair and his fluid movement had me in constant amazement. But sadly it didn’t reach the greatness of Bill Nighy’s Davy Jones, another truly remarkable CGI character. It is more that each of the evil characters all appear to have done the same thing, they just want to kill Captain Jack Sparrow. It is like in superhero movies where cities always get destroyed, eventually the novelty wears off and I hope they let the franchise sail into the sunset now.


Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush image
Geoffrey Rush and Johnny Depp



PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES comes in equal second franchise favourite for me. It gives the Pirates Quintuplet a fond closure and a fun rollicking send off. Rønning and Sandberg do a decent effort directing to the Disney Pirates template. The best CGI and 3D you will have seen in years and Geoffrey Rush and Brenton Thwaites steal the show. I am glad they came back and ended on something better than the fourth and now I hope they let the Pirates tales flow with the tides into legend.





 owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the  industry for 26yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.


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