MOST NOBLE SWAN SONG
Film Review by Fiore
Luckily, I saw ALIEN: COVENANT before PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES, because had I seen them in reverse order, my review of the former would have been more brutal. P.O.C.: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES has some of the best Special Effects (SFX) I’ve seen in years. Nigel Phelps is extraordinary in his production design, reimagining such cinematic classics as THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, ZOMBIE SHARK and THE KEYSTONE COPS. Charlton Heston wishes he had the SFX Phelps whips up for his climatic parting of the Red Sea in Cecil B. DeMille’s biblical epic. The opening bank robbing sequence is patterned after the numerous Keystone Cops escapades, though on a much grander scale, while the SFX of the risen dead and zombie sharks are the stuff any Sci-Fi Saturday Night producer dreams of. It all makes Ridley Scott’s newest space adventure look amateurish by comparison.
P.O.C.: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES utilized two directors, which is usually a death knell for a production. Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg, however, pull off the aberration with aplomb. The same can be said for the editing. Normally in reviews, I reiterate the proven mantra of more than one editor being similar to too many cooks in the kitchen. However, P.O.C.: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES also proves the exception as Roger Barton and Leigh Folsom Boyd (another of the dreaded three-name people) splice the scenes into a constant clash of comedy and action.
Johnny Depp returns as Captain Jack Sparrow. Playing the infamous pirate is the only lucrative outlet for Depp. His other films and characters have proven to be box office disasters. The foppish, eye make-up laden knave, who transforms to rogue swashbuckler after an infusion of rum, is certainly Depp’s cash cow, and his swan song is epic.
P.O.C.: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES opens with Sparrow falling on hard times. He’s lost his mojo, to quote Austin Powers. No ship, no crew and no money, thanks to an incredible string of bad luck. To cap issues off, Sparrow’s former nemesis, Captain Salazar, played by Javier Bardem, has managed to escape the Devil’s Triangle and is on a revenge quest for Sparrow’s demise. Bardem is demonic in his portrayal. If P.O.C.: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES is seen as his on-screen test for his upcoming role as FRANKENSTEIN, he passes with flying colors.
Brenton Thwaites stars as Henry Turner, son of Wil, who seeks to relieve the curse placed on his father. He is added in his quest by Kaya Scodelario, who plays Carina Smyth. She is Disney’s Woman Warrior component; however, this time, it is done with panache. She does not heft a sword and waylay an entire pirate crew, which is always improbable, but rather provides elemental keys to their quest for Poseidon’s Trident, the only treasure in the world capable of lifting curses of the sea. It’s not long before Sparrow teams with Turner and Smyth in an effort to dispatch his hunter and regain his pirate mojo.
Geoffrey Rush returns as Captain Hector Barbossa. Also returning are Kevin McNally; David Wenha; Golshifteh Farahani; and Stephen Graham. There are also cameos by Orlando Bloom, the ever-lovely Keira Knightley and the musically talented Sir Paul McCartney.
1.1 KEY SCENES TO LOOK FOR:
1. THE OPENING SEQUENCE
2. THE ZOMBIE SHARKS
3. THE PARTING OF THE SEA
Let’s take a look at the cinematic report card for P.O.C.: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES:
1.2 ACTING = A
1.3 CINEMATOGRAPY = A
1.4 SOUND/MUSIC = A
1.5 EDITING = A
1.6 LIGHTING = B
1.7 SCRIPT = B
1.8 SFX = A
1.9 ACTION = A
P.O.C.: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES is a fitting conclusion to a highly successful film series, based, never forget, on a rather unimpressive ride at Disneyland. The film is very funny, in both dialogue and slapstick adventure. The SFX are truly outstanding; and even though the film is over two hours in length, something I consider a no-no in the filmmaking business, it moves at such a pace as to make time irrelevant. And, isn’t that the mark of a good film? As a member of the press, I had the opportunity to see P.O.C.: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES in 3D IMAX. It is quite spectacular in that format, and if you have the money, it’s well worth the extra nickel.