Oct 012017

Unlike the recently released Transformers: The Last Knight, which was a dull movie in itself, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales was at least passably boring and was mercifully only two hours long. But like Transformers, this franchise just needs to come to a close as neither is very creative or, worse yet, entertaining.



Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Disney | PG13 – 129 min. – $39.99 | October 3, 2017

Date Published: 10/01/2017 | Author: The Movieman


Directed by: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg
Writer(s): Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio and Stuart Beattie & Jay Wolpert (characters); Jeff Nathanson and Terry Rossio (story), Jeff Nathanson (screenplay)
Cast: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Kevin R. McNally, David Wenham
Features: Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: 4K, Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 2
Audio (4K): English (Dolby Atmos), French (Dolby Digital Plus 7.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital Plus 7.1)
Audio (BD): English (DTS-HD MA 7.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video (4K): 2160p/Widescreen 2.40
Video (BD): 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Dynamic Range: HDR10
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Codecs: HEVC / H.265 (4K), MPEG-4 AVC (BD)
Region(s): A, B, C

Note: This review contains spoilers, so reader’s beware.
Same goes for the screen captures on the second page.

THE MOVIE — 2.25/5

Yo ho, I pirate’s life is not for me. Amazingly enough, the first Pirates of the Caribbean sailed onto theater screens 14 years ago to modest box office returns before its sequel, Dead Man’s Chest exploded raking in over $1B worldwide. The two subsequent sequels didn’t do too badly either, though On Stranger Tides showed the weakness for the series. Now here comes Dead Men Tell No Tales a full SIX years later. Was it worth the wait? Short answer: Nope.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales opens with a young Henry Turner doing some fantasy stuff and manages to go underwater and on board The Flying Dutchman where his father, Will Turner (ORLANDO BLOOM) has been cursed to serve aboard following the events in At World’s End. Henry is determined to find a trident that may free him, and the man he believes who can help is none other than Jack Sparrow, much to his father’s chagrin.

Fast forward nine years later and an older Henry (BRENTON THWAITES) is serving in the British Royal Navy but upon attempts to warn the captain and crew of an impending danger as they sail into an area called the Devil’s Triangle, where many ships have gone missing, he is locked up. Of course, they did not heed their warnings, sailing in and are immediately attacked by the Silent Mary, a vessel with ghosts with their own curse, under the control of one Captain Salazar (JAVIER BARDEM). After quickly dispensing of the human crew, Salazar, seeing wanted posters in Henry’s possession, makes a deal with Henry, letting him live to not only tell the tale of the attack but to make contact once he finds Jack Sparrow relay a message to him.

Meanwhile, we are introduced to our female lead, in fact by my count only one of around five female characters in the film, named Carina Smyth (KAYA SCODELARIO), set for execution for being a witch. Well, the simple-minded villagers believe this due to her interest in the stars, as she attempts to locate her father through a diary with a red stone embedded on the cover and can only be read on the red moon. Or something. She manages to escape and overhears the story relayed by Henry, a story those around him don’t believe and he’s under arrest for treason and perhaps more. Part of the story mentions the stars she’s after and helps him escape… only for her to be recaptured. A lot going on to get this story going…

Just so happens, this town unveils a new state of the art, for its time, vault and upon opening we find a drunken and passed Jack Sparrow (JOHNNY DEPP). He awakens and there’s what I guess is supposed to be one of the signature action sequences as Jack’s crew attempts to take the vault via horses but the entire structure goes along destroying structures in its path. The failed robbery, as all the gold was thrown out, leads to the crew abandoning Sparrow.

Down and out, Jack is broke and barters his last remaining treasured item, his compass, for a jug of booze. Big mistake as once he gave it up, this allows Salazar and his ghost men to escape from the Devil’s Triangle and now they set off for revenge.

These three characters and storylines merge together. Jack is eventually captured and set for the new guillotine while Carina is going to be hanged. Henry swoops in the nick of time, fights ensue and the trio makes an uneasy alliance with Sparrow wanting command again, Henry needing the trident to break the curse, Salazar after Sparrow for revenge and eventually the trident to wield the power of the ocean and the British Empire after them all. Oh, and Captain Hector Barbossa (GEOFFREY RUSH) makes a return as well! As if we needed more characters.

There were many plot points in Dead Men Tell No Tales that reminded me of The Curse of the Black Pearl, including the freakin’ Black Pearl itself making her return in the film. You got two younger adults replacing Bloom/Knightley; Johnny Depp going full-on Sparrow-y with a character that has easily run its course; Barbossa, albeit not the main bad guy, is out to get Sparrow; and more high seas action with CGI that is both impressive and wonky at the same time.

But despite all the problems with the movie, I can’t say I hated it. Of course, didn’t care very much for it either. At the end, the only word I could think of was “Eh”. The new characters aren’t all that interesting but can’t say either Brenton Thwaites or Kaya Scodelario were bad, just not very interesting and Bardem is a solid actor, but isn’t a great villain.

Taking over directing duties are Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg who gained recognition for, I guess, Kon-Tiki (?). The only film I theirs I had seen, and this was years ago, was Bandidas starring Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz, the latter was in On Stranger Tides. I can’t say their direction was terrible but they were straddled with not only a poor script but, reportedly, on-set bizarre behavior from Depp.

Supposedly, Dead Men Tell No Tales was to be the last of the series. Or not with a sixth being announced, not to mention a post credit scene portending the return of Davy Jones (as played by Bill Nighy in Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End), because, why not? Let’s go back to the well again, if seeing Depp’s Sparrow wobble about wasn’t getting old.

And speaking of old, based on how uninspiring the film was, and its enormous $250M budget, and lackluster reception, one wonders if maybe, just maybe, it’s time to allow the series to go away? The first film was pretty good, after that these films tended to be too long (although DMTNT was thankfully about 2 hours w/o credits) and oddly enough, rather boring.



This release comes with a (slightly) title-embossed reflective slip cover and inside is a code for the Digital Copy which redeems in 4K.

Dead Men Tell More Tales: The Making of a New Adventure (47:50; HD) is a 7-part making-of documentary taking us behind the scenes from the story, characters, visual effects and more. Includes behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the cast (Depp, Rush, Bardem, Thwaite, Scodelario, Bloom, etc) and crew (Rønning, Sandberg, Bruckheimer and more).

Bloopers of the Caribbean (2:58; HD) contains some outtakes.

Jerry Bruckheimer Photo Diary (1:40; HD) is a staple on these POTC releases.

Deleted Scenes (2:59; HD) – Four scenes were left on the cutting room floor or trimmed.


4K VIDEO – 5.0/5, BD VIDEO – 4.75/5

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales sails onto 4K presented in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and a 2160p high-definition transfer (HEVC/H.265 codec). This absolutely looks fantastic, colors ranged from vibrant brightness during the daylight shots and the oranges in explosions or red in the stones, while black levels were deep without losing the detail within, and detail which is generally sharp and well defined throughout. The 1080p Blu-ray (MPEG-4 AVC) is not bad looking either, perhaps not as precise in comparison but still impressive.

4K AUDIO – 5.0/5, BD AUDIO – 5.0/5

Disney must be taking notes from Sony by offering Dolby Atmos (7.1.4) for the 4K disc while the Blu-ray has DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track. Both of these tracks are very strong offering amazing depth during the numerous action sequences, especially those on the high seas as well as crisp, clean and clear dialogue levels. The side channels get good usage for ambient noises (like crashing waves) and a non-descript basic score by Hans Zimmer protégé, Geoff Zanelli (The Pacific, Masterminds).


OVERALL – 3.0/5

Overall, unlike the recently released Transformers: The Last Knight, which was a dull movie in itself, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales was at least passably boring and was mercifully only two hours long. But like Transformers, this franchise just needs to come to a close as neither is very creative or, worse yet, entertaining. At best, this is worthy of a rental, nothing more. As for this 4K/BD combo pack, both the video and audio transfers are excellent and there is a fair amount of bonus material to check out.


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