A curse, a treasure, and a dead man hunting on the sea – these three story elements are present in every Pirates of Caribbean film, and this one is no exception. Before I get into the review, I need to let you know that it’s ESSENTIAL that you stay and watch the end credit scene, you won’t be disappointed.
The Pirates of the Caribbean movies are usually treated pretty harshly by critics and this time around will probably be no exception, despite that, at the very least I always have fun with them and this time around was no exception either,I thoroughly enjoyed this film. Johnny Depp helms his classic role as Captain Jack Sparrow, you know exactly what to expect from him, he has essentially become synonymous with the entire franchise. Yes, I do wish they did something different with his character, but he gets the job done. On the other end of the spectrum, the villain is played by none other than Javier Bardem, he’s great. Javier as the villain introduces a twisted form of humor accompanied by his unique character design, he has a thick Spaniard accent that is sometimes difficult to understand, while this might agitate some people, it’s sometimes interesting to not entirely know what an evil Spanish ghost is saying. New cast members include Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario who are both instantly likable characters, and to my surprise they naturally fit into the Pirates franchise with ease. Reprising his role as Captain Barbossa, Geoffrey Rush delivers a great performance that truly stood out.
As mentioned before, the formula is very similar to the previous films, however we get a wide array of revelations throughout the film – the story was constantly moving forward and managed to hold my attention throughout the entire process, as it systematically surprised me with fresh twists and turns. This films strengths lie in its execution; one of this films strongest assets is that it separated the emotional moments from the comedic ones, something I have seen movies recently mixing, when you mix humor and emotion, the emotion of that moment loses impact, I’m glad that this film knew when to deliver its jokes accordingly. Though there were plenty of generic and unoriginal plot devices in this film, as well as some agitating plot holes that even the most amateur Pirates fan could notice, some of this is made up for in entertainment value and some genuinely jaw dropping plot twists.
From an entirely visual standpoint this film’s visuals lie equal in CGI quality to the previous installments, like always they utilize visual comedy in a fun exploratory way. Audiences are also met by a flashback of Jack Sparrow as a young man (as seen in the trailer) and it looked much more convincing than the work done in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story with General Tarkin – this may be due to the fact that Johnny Depp acted as the base and they overlaid CGI on top. The floating ghosts as seen in Javier Bardem’s villainous character were done very well, and with a grand budget of $320 million, I would hope so.
Yes, this film does follow a formula that has been seen plenty of times before, perhaps some people will feel this film is very “been there, done that” and others might just enjoy watching Pirates of the Caribbean for what it is – if you see Pirates as just another cash-grabbing Hollywood franchise, I won’t argue with that either. Overall, I feel Pirates is not given the respect it deserves when you compare it to films like Fate of the Furious (2017), where for some reason critics give it a bizarrely high approval rate despite reusing formulas just like Pirates, and yes, just like Transformers.