Parkland Press

Monday, June 26, 2017

Review: ‘Pirates’

Friday, June 9, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN pwillistein@tnonline.com in Focus

“Pirates of the Caribbean: Deadmen Tell No Tales” could more aptly be subtitled “Lousy Screenplays Tell No Tales.” Therein lies the problem with the fifth sequel in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series that stars Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, who doesn’t so much swashbuckle as sashay, speaks with an at times difficult to understand drunken lisp, and rolls his eyes at every ironic aside in the grand manner of a silent movie star.

“DTNT” drowns in a sea of CGI (Computer Generated Imagery). “DTNT” is a mish-mash. It’s one part zombie movie: Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem, acting gamely through his CGI-distorted face), who captains a ship of undead crew. It’s one-part chase film: Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush, who gets the Masterpiece Theatre enunciation award), and a British Navy warship want to track Jack to his death. It’s one part pirate’s life quip-a-thon: Jack Sparrow (“Horology,” he intones, referencing the study of time by Carina Smyth, an effervescent and refreshingly strong Kaya Scodelario, “Maze Runner,” 2014, 2015). It’s one part romance, alas, too little, too late, between Carina and Henry (robustly-handsome Brenton Thwaites, “Maleficent,” 2014) and also between Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), in what amounts to a tacked-on reuniting and cameos by them. It’s one part supernatural thriller: ghost sharks brought back to life pursue Jack Sparrow, the Black Pearl is transformed from a ship in a bottle to a life-size seagoing vessel, the pursuit of the oddly-named Trident of Poseidon, and an ocean trough akin to the parting of the Red Sea.

“DTNT” doesn’t seem to be so much a battle of the pirates (although with pirates in triplicate: Captain Sparrow, Captain Salazar and Captain Barbossa, that’s at least one pirate too many) as a battle of the directors since there are two directors credited: Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg (both, directors,“Kon-Tiki,” 2012, Norway foreign-language Oscar nominee) and the screenwriter Jeff Nathanson (“Rush Hour 3,” 2007) based on a story by Nathanson and Terry Rossio (“Pirates of the Caribbean,” 2011, 2007, 2006, 2003) and characters created by Rossio, Ted Elliott, Stuart Beattie and Jay Wolpert.

While the CGI is impressive and the effects in 3D (the format seen for this review) are terrific, the Captain Salazar ocean-battle flashback and the visually very dark Trident of Poseidon scenes nearly sink the film, the latter supernatural gizmo would seem more at home in a Marvel Comics or “Transformers” movie. The battle fatigue is such that this moviegoer amused himself by peering over the top of his 3D glasses and then looking through them again to compare the lightness and darkness of the scenes with or without the glasses. At times, “DTNT’ is indeed silly spectacular fun. Several scenes work exceedingly well: the heist of a bank vault, and the guillotine and hanging scene, both taking place in a wonderfully-detailed St. Martln; any scene that Depp is in, and a cameo by Paul McCartney in jail as Uncle Jack. The extreme closeups in many of the dialogue scenes are effective, especially those displaying Scodelario’s blue eyes.

At one point, one of the characters asks, “This may sound like a peculiar question, but can someone explain to me why I’m here?” As “DTNT” wound down in the movie theater, those were my sentiments precisely. Better luck next time since “Pirates of the Caribbean 6” has already been announced.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: Deadmen Tell No Tales,”MPAA PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned. Some Material May Be Inappropriate For Children Under 13.) for sequences of adventure violence, and some suggestive content; Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy; Run time: 2 hrs., 9 mins.; Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures.

Credit Readers Anonymous:Once you sit through what seems like credits for a legion of CGI artists for “Pirates of the Caribbean: Deadmen Tell No Tales,” there’s a scene with Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) that may foreshadow, quite literally, the return of Davy Jones. During the opening credits, the Jolly Roger pirates’ black flag waves atop the castle in the Walt Disney Pictures Logo. The film was lensed in Queensland and New South Wales, Australia, and British Columbia, Canada.

Box Office,June 2: The long-awaited “Wonder Woman” with Gal Gadot in the title role opened at No. 1 as director Patty Jenkins set a record for the highest weekend box-office opening ever for a female director, with $100.5 million, one week, ending the one-week No. 1 run of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” sinking to No. 3 with $21.6 million, $114.6, two weeks, as the feature animation comedy, “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie,” opened way back at No. 2 with $23.5 million.

4. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” dropped two places from No. 2 with $9.7 million; $355.5 million, five weeks; 5. “Baywatch” dropped two places from No. 3 with $8.5 million; $41.7 million, two weeks; 6. “Alien: Covenant” dropped two places from No. 4 with $4 million; $67.2 million, three weeks; 7. “Everything, Everything” dropped two places from No. 5 with $3.3 million; $28.3 million, three weeks; 8. “Snatched” dropped one place from No. 7 with $1.3 million; $43.8 million, four weeks; 9. “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” dropped three places from No. 6 with $1.2 million; $17.8 million, three weeks; 10. “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” dropped two places from No 8 with $1.1 million; $37.1 million, four weeks.

Unreel,June 9:

“The Mummy,”PG-13: Alex Kurtzman directs Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis and Russell Crowe in the Fantasy Horror film about an ancient princess awakened from her crypt beneath the desert, unleashing her centuries of pent-up attitude.

Two Popcorn Boxes out of Five Popcorn Boxes