Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales ★★★

50/100

This was... Weird. A bit awkward, maybe. But I think I liked it a little?

The visuals are splendid. This is a uncannily stunning film to look at; the photography, the visual effects... All flames. It's not bad directed too; sure, this is no Gore Verbinski, but the direction is pretty decent. The thing is... That script.

I mean, the story is great, and it has a solid set of characters, and obviously a stellar cast, but the screenwriting... I don't know how else to put it, except incredibly weird. Very irregular, even to my tastes. First off, the film's way too short. This should've been at LEAST 2h40min long. There are tons of great ideas here that simply don't work because they're just shoved there out of nowhere. I get the feeling that Jeff Nathanson simply doesn't have the slightest idea how to structure a story. The flashback showing Salazar's past, for instance, is completely misplaced. There's a dual-arc with certain characters that is presented out of the blue, and by the end we understand that it was a necessary relation, but the way they introduced it was just from the absolute nowhere, as if it started halfway structured but there was no structuring at all before it; and if there had been, it possibly would've been the single most emotional and heartbreaking arc in this whole franchise, involving two really good characters, but it was so rushed and awkward that it just didn't get to me.

And then there's Jack Sparrow. Jack in this movie is... different. But there's a reason for it; at this point he has no ship, he's way past his prime and lost most of his crew. He's disgraced. And it shows on Depp's performance; his smile is different, his voice composure is different, there's a different attitude to Jack. He's in a state where the character's a little more difficult to sympathize with, but we still can, by a small margin, however that freaking script just does not collaborate. The jokes in this movie are super weird. I hardly ever really laughed. Depp does what he can with the material he's given - I suppose anyway -, but it doesn't do him any favors. Geoffrey Rush's Barbossa suffers from that same issue, and so does Javier Bardem's Salazar - though he's the least affected in that area since his character doesn't rely much on humor, but nonetheless his writing is poor - and pretty much the entirety of the film. There are a couple of scenes there are unnecessary and unfunny (Paul McCartney's cameo being one of them) and I was just left thinking what was the deal with that. This film's story has character arcs that require the sharpest screenwriting possible, and Nathanson's is anything but that, showcasing only the gigantic potential it had while never living up to it - not to mention a couple of ridiculous Deus Ex Machina that happen.

As for the rest of the cast... Kaya Scodelario is definetely the show stealer. Brenton Thwaites is decent enough. And that's about it.

STILL... I like it. A little. I just can't get over how fantastic it looks and sounds (the original score and sound design are also terrific). The thing is... The proper way to end this franchise was with At World's End. That was the PERFECT conclusion. BUT... Since they already insisted on making more, I hope they make another one, and a much better one, so that we can at least end the franchise in a higher note than that.

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