Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales [Review]


SPOILER ALERT! This review contains massive details from the film. If you haven’t watched the film yet and don’t like to be spoiled, do not proceed.


Oh! The wait is over for yet another entry to one of the most loved movie series of all time.  But wait, is it a sequel or an underdeveloped TV show thrown at movie theaters? That’s exactly how it feels like, when the first act of this film starts to finish. Poorly developed characters, with so many clichéd lines, it might feel like those two hours of CGI enhancement are not going to save a poorly written script. And yes, the SCRIPT is the major problem of this 5th installment. Wasted talent, very poor story-writing decisions that made it to the big screen, killing opportunities instead of building them up so much more.  But don’t worry, not everything is bad, as it has some humor and good acting moments from some of these characters that save the movie from plummeting onto the abyss of the sea.


Yes, Geoffrey Rush gives us so much epicness when he is performing, and this time, he does as well. Such a presence when he’s on camera, such a menace when he stares onto his enemies as the hideous captain-turned-rich master of the seas throughout the story.  After his domain of the seas is stolen by Capt. Salazar (Javier Bardem), Barbossa helps the villain of this film achieve what he wants, in order to keep his control of the seas, or maybe much more than that. His first and second appearance are such wonderful moments, giving this crippled character so much power. But then the third act happens, and the story ruins everything (for now).

Also, new characters have been introduced, alongside with Salazar, bringing some cool elements and performances. Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario get some fun moments as the franchise’s newest couple, but are their characters strong enough to carry on the legacy? We’ll have to find out on future installments (if any), since this film doesn’t do them enough justice to really fall in love with them. On the other hand, the film developed Scandelario’s character a little bit more, a female astronomer and horologist, something this franchise had never done before with a woman. But with the newest undead baddie, who had a cool concept and future, was poorly created and was given such silly lines. Bardem, such a wonderful actor, and yet so many roads leading this man-made-monster to nowhere. Hopes up, perhaps in a future installment, they’ll get him right.


Poor writing haunts this movie, giving iconic characters meaningless things to say, pushing them to do some actions that feel like filling space for the story to keep on going. A perfect example of this is Capt. Salazar, whose threat could’ve been so much greater if this guy would’ve been given stronger lines and more character development. He’s the “Butcher of the Seas”, a pirate hunter, and even though his appearance might be creepy, he doesn’t seem that dangerous, like the deceased Davy Jones (if he’s really dead) was. Villains require a presence, authority when they are on-screen, for they drive the plot and the stakes. This guy had the power to walk on water, controlled a centipede-like ghost ship and had a very obedient undead crew. Which raises the question: why doesn’t he feel that much of a threat? Well, there are a few things that come with that: weak backstory, a Spaniard that says words in Spanish with a south american accent, so many silly lines instead of some cool-threatening ones, his transformation onto a monster explained in about 2 minutes of a “flashback” and easily removed from the franchise (for now). There you go, throwing a villain with great potential to the abyss without exploring him first.

Jack Sparrow, the infamous pirate everybody loves, but likewise, given such weak path to walk on this time. If we compare the first movie and this one, Capt. Sparrow has sunk with his ship, not Depp’s fault though. The movie has some funny moments, all thanks to him, but they were not good/funny enough. Even the sharks looked more terrifying than anything put on his path, all blame going to poor design and lack of creative elements.

The first act opened quite promising, but as it gets to the second one, it becomes a pirate drama, with much dialogue that doesn’t really change anything. More like it keeps throwing ideas on the table to set a 6th film on the road, but not diving too much into the topics themselves. The third act suddenly involves Avengers-like vibes, with special effects that look like that of superhero movies. This includes Poseidon’s trident, with infinity stone-like jewelry decorating its structure. How is this mythological godly weapon involved in all this? Well, the plot involves every character searching for it, some to lift all curses on the sea and others to control all the oceans. Cool concept I have to say, but then again, it needed more work and screen time.


Due to what we have discussed above, we rate this film with 5/10. It had potential, a great cast with new actors and elements to play with, but there were major problems with the script (especially the dialogues), ideas should’ve been given more detail and development, causing the Pirates of the Caribbean epic vibes to sink and swim with the fishes.

If you agree or disagree with our review, let us know on the comment section below. Thanks for reading, please like and subscribe to our website and Facebook page, to receive news on the latest films, detailed analyses on films and cool tutorials.  


-Jess O. Rubio

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I'm an actor, cinematographer and editor. I enjoy writing scripts and taking these stories to the big screen. I usually compose music for my films or by request. Currently have a blog on YouTube to share some laughs with the audience. There's nothing more beautiful than to share someone's world with an audience on the big screen, and nothing more fulfilling than to be able to bring a character to life. The secret is how you tell the story.