It’s been 14 years since Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl hit theaters and became a massive success. Three sequels followed Curse of the Black Pearl, but none of the movies seemed to capture the same magic that the first had. Still, Disney decided not to give up on the franchise, and that brings us to Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. While Dead Men Tell No Tales didn’t quite live up its potential, it still became a worldwide success and is currently the #8 highest grossing movie of 2017. Now you can bring it home on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD. Let’s look at why you might want to add the latest Pirates movie to your collection.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Part of what made Curse of the Black Pearl so good was the amazing chemistry between Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, and Orlando Bloom. Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End were overlong and a bit convoluted, but all of the best characters returned for the sequels – even Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbossa. Then On Stranger Tides happened, and despite it being a financial success thanks to foreign markets, it seemed like Pirates had lost its charm and everything that made it fun and exciting. Disney must’ve picked up on this, because Dead Men Tell No Tales is the best attempt so far at catching lightning in a bottle, but it missed the mark.
Johnny Depp returned to once again play the iconic Captain Jack Sparrow, and this time around he is joined by a young man and lady, similar to the dynamic in Curse of the Black Pearl. One of Jack’s companions is Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites), son of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann, and he’s looking to finally break the curse placed on his father by finding the trident of Poseidon. The other is the mysterious Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), and she holds a diary that can help her and Henry find the trident of Poseidon. Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) is back for another go along with Gibbs (Kevin McNally) as well as some other favorites from previous Pirates movies. Of course, the most exciting part of the cast was the return of Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley as Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann.
New to the series is Javier Bardem as Captain Salazar, a Spanish pirate hunter, and he has a rough history with Jack Sparrow due to a much younger Jack tricking and trapping Salazar in the Devil’s Triangle. Jack, Carina, and Henry all must acquire the trident of Poseidon, so they can destroy it and break all of the curses of the ocean, while trying to outrun Salazar and his undead crew. If you think the plot of Dead Men Tell No Tales sounds very familiar to another Pirates of the Caribbean plot then you wouldn’t be wrong.
The strongest part of this movie is Kaya Scodelario. Of course Johnny Depp delivers another excellent performance as Jack Sparrow, and the same could be said about the rest of the returning supporting cast, but trying to discover Carina’s past is easily the most interesting part of the movie. Overall, if you’re looking for over-the-top action sequences and characters exploiting the qualities that made audiences love them before, then Dead Men Tell No Tales will be completely enjoyable.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales comes with about an hours worth of bonus features that range from dull to mildly entertaining, but the little amount of special features actually does a decent job of covering some of the highlights of making the movie.
- Dead Men Tell No Tales: The Making of a New Adventure – This seven part series consists of A Return to the Sea, Telling Tales: A Sit-Down with Brenton and Kaya, The Matador & The Bull: Secrets of Salazar & the Silent Mary, First Mate Confidential, Deconstructing the Ghost Sharks, Wings Over the Caribbean, and An Enduring Legacy. You can watch all of these features individually or as one long documentary that lasts around 40 minutes. I would recommend this to any fans of the franchise, but for me the highlight for me was Wings Over the Caribbean, which focused on Paul McCartney’s cameo in the film. The interview with Brenton and Kaya was also pretty insightful and gave me a deeper appreciation for their performances.
- Bloopers of the Caribbean – If you love watching blooper reels, you’ll love this. If you don’t find them funny (like me), you may not even make it through this once – if you even bother to watch this at all.
- Jerry Bruckheimer Photo Diary – This very short feature showcased some photos that Bruckheimer took on the set of Dead Men Tell No Tales. I enjoy seeing behind-the-scenes photos as much as anyone, but this felt like Bruckheimer made a deal with Disney that he’d take a pay cut if they will put his photos in the bonus features.
- Deleted Scenes – There’s not much to say about these deleted scenes. Sometimes you’ll get some gems that really help expand on the plot and story, but needed to be cut for time, and these are not in that category.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is far from perfect, but it would’ve made a fitting end to the Pirates franchise. It looks like a sixth film is definitely in our future, and assuming the newcomers return for the next one then there is still some promise in the fate of Pirates 6. As for this one, I personally would rank it right in the middle of the other films in the series. It isn’t the best, but it is better than At World’s End and On Stranger Tides. So, if you skipped this one in theaters, I would definitely recommend giving it a shot now. The bonus features are lacking, but the audio and video on the Blu-ray release is close to perfect, and the movie is entertaining enough. For Pirates completists, this is a must-have.