Saturday, May 27, 2017

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales [2017]

MPAA (PG-13)  CNS/USCCB (A-III) (2 Stars)  AVClub (C+)  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. Mulderig) review
Los Angeles Times (K. Walsh) review (S. Wloszczyna) review
AVClub (I. Vishnevetsky) review

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales [2017] (directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, screenplay by Jeff Nathanson, story by Jeff Nathanson and Terry Rossio, based on characters created by Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Stuart Beattie and Jay Wolpert) while not the best of the series is certainly NOT the worst.  I'd put it at number 2 or 3, with the best entré in the series being the surprisingly good first installment (after the whole franchise is based on a Disneyland Theme Park ride) with the current film probably tied for second in terms of humor / entertainment value with the second installment.

Indeed, with the exception of a single (if extended) unfortunate joke (below), I spent most of my time during the movie wondering "Ah, to be a seven year old again" ;-). This is because the various gags / situations seemed gleefully geared to that exactly age group.  How else to appreciate jokes that began with: "Did you hear the one about the skeleton who went into a bar and ordered ..." (I'm not going to finish the joke ... IMHO the punch line alone is worth the price of admission to the movie ;-) or the ZOMBIE SHARKS !!! (OMG ... HOW UNBELIEVABLY COOL IS THAT :-) -- Sharknado meets the Walking Dead ;-).

The single unfortunate joke in question involved one of the main characters in the film, a 20-something young woman named Carina Smyth (played wonderfully by Kaya Scodelario) constantly accused of being "a witch" (Why a witch?, because she seemed way too smart and _self-educated_ for a young woman of her time) who kept repeating "I'm _not_ a witch, I'm an astronomer" (Why an astronomer?  Well, she was looking for her dad, who had left her as a 5-6 year-old at a portside orphanage somewhere in Britain with small ruby crystal hand and a small diary filled with star-maps presumably for navigation).  Well, there was a point in the film where protecting a fairly impressive time-piece from the dirty hands of dumb, inebriated pirates, she declared: "I'm not only an astronomer but also a horologist," (knowing something about time would have been very important for navigation back in that day...) to which, confused, one of the (male) pirates responded, "I think my mother was one too, but I don't think she was as proud of it as you," and the rest of the pirates including the always-amiable if also ever-confused Jack Sparrow (played, of course, by Johnny Depp) continued with then with a series increasingly stupid / sophomoric, "horology" jokes.  Yes, it was clear that Sparrow's pirate friends were a bunch of drunk / goofball morons.  Yes, it was Clear as Day they didn't know what they were talking about.  But a not a few Parents may wince, to the glee of their 5-6-7-8 year old charges, just waiting to ask their parents: "What's an horologist?"  ("Someone who studied the characteristics of Time (back in the 18th century) my child" -- and you'd be right ... but ... of course, somehow the title seems "dirtier" than that ;-)

But if you can get past that dumb joke (indeed a bunched-up series of jokes) the film is honestly a joy, both poking fun at the various characters and ... tying loose ends together: Obviously, somebody from the original cast was Carina's father... And there was another character Henry (played by Brenton Thwaites) who was also trying to do something for his long "lost at sea" dad ... Finally both Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly make (necessarily older) in-character cameo appearances in the film, as does Goeffrey Rush, who actually has a more extensive role in this film.

So over all, I have to say that I really quite enjoyed this 2 hour excursion into "5-6-7-8 year old land." I do wish that the above mentioned joke was not part of the film, but the other jokes / gags were more than worth the price of admission.  So over all very good job Maties! Very good job ;-)

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