Sunday, October 1, 2017

Video review: "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales"

There really isn’t any reason for a fifth “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie to exist, other than guaranteed ticket sales and a boost to Johnny Depp’s flagging star. Still, as mindless special effects-driven entertainment go, “Dead Men Tell No Tales” was far from the worst the summer had to offer.

It’s pretty much more of the same: Depp stumbling about as Captain Jack Sparrow, the worst pirate in history; a CGI-enhanced villain, with Javier Bardem as Captain Salazar, an undead pirate hunter missing large chunks of his crucial anatomy; winsome youngsters in peril, in this case Kaya Scodelario and Brenton Thwaites; lots of swordplay and big action set-pieces; reprises from franchise alums Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, although the latter two are barely more than cameos.

The story is about… well, do you even need to know? As usual, it involves various forces chasing a MacGuffin, with most of the animosity aimed squarely at Sparrow.

Depp always has a lot of fun in this role, and the filmmakers keep things fresh with a look toward Sparrow’s youth -- with a little de-aging CGI help -- where we find out a little about how he became the drunken nincompoop he is. For instance, there actually is a reason behind all those little bits of jewelry and odds-and-ends he wears.

It’s undeniably a fun movie, as long as you’re willing to pull up oars on your brain and just coast with the giddy current.

Video bonus features are ample, cemented by a comprehensive making-of documentary that includes interviews with all the principle actors and crew members. There are also four deleted scenes, a photo diary by producer Jerry Bruckheimer and a blooper reel.

You’ll have to pay a few dollars more to get most of this stuff, as only a single featurette is included on the DVD version.



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