Reason why I have always liked the Pirates of the Caribbean movies is because they are big, loud and entertaining but never because they were great movies as well. All movies, with perhaps the exception of the first one, are far from perfect and all have their flaws, especially at the story department. As the series continued, this became more and more obvious with each new movie. By that logic, this movie should also be the worst and weakest one out of the series. So, is it? Yes, absolutely. But is it a terrible movie as well? Absolutely not!

I agreed with the film-makers that it was time for a fresh start again. Time to drop some characters and introduce some new ones, as the series basically started to repeat itself over and over again. However, after watching this movie I'm not so sure anymore if it was such a wise and good choice to drop certain characters and introduce some new ones. The characters in this movie are definitely lesser ones than the ones in the first three movies. Yes, sure some of the main characters and biggest names are all still here but most of the secondary characters are all new ones. It's not just that they are not likable enough but the movie also does a poor job setting all of the new characters up and develop them into full fletched characters, that bring something fresh and new to the series. I definitely missed certain characters from the first three movies in this one, even the ones I never thought I would miss!

Jack Sparrow basically always have been a secondary character, who however grew out to be a primary one, due to his immense popularity and of course also due to Johnny Depp's wonderful performance of the character. But fact remains that the stories never have been just about him, since there always were plenty of other characters roaming. However, since he's the only returning familiar 'good guy' character, the movie more or less forces itself to focus mostly on just him and lets Johnny Depp carry most of the movie on his own. Sounds like a good thing but this definitely goes at the expense of all of the other characters and the story as well. I actually believe it's one of the main reasons why none of the other, newly introduced, characters work out very well in this.

Well, with the exception of Blackbeard. Ian McShane is absolutely wonderful and enjoyable as the movie its new main villain. And to be fair, I also kind of liked Penélope Cruz but it's an absolute fact that the role she plays could have been played by just about anybody. The fact that it's Penélope Cruz who is playing this character really doesn't add all to much to either the overall movie or the character that she is playing. But who knows. Perhaps if they put her in the upcoming sequels as well, they could find something more interesting for her to do and she might grow out to be a better and more popular character, within the franchise.

This movie obviously had less of a budget to spend, this time around. It's definitely not as action filled as any of its predecessors and there also isn't as much traveling involved. The movie also is mostly set during the night time and also feels much darker than any of its predecessors, which is never a good thing for an adventure movie, in my opinion. The movie overall isn't ever feeling or looking as fun and entertaining as the earlier movies, which is of course also due to it that this one had a different director involved; Rob Marshall. The fact that this movie is not always a totally fun and entertaining one also causes the movie to feel a tad bit overlong and somewhat boring at parts but if memory serves me well, the same can be said about all of the earlier movies as well. And really, there still is plenty of action to enjoy at times, though its a bit too formulaic all for my taste. The movie hardly offers any surprises with anything and it also isn't taking any chances. This was the perfect opportunity for the franchise to reinvent itself but aside from introducing some new characters, this movie isn't really ever doing anything new or daring. Even the soundtrack sounds completely recycled.

One of the problems, basically all Pirates of the Caribbean movies suffered from is its 'messy' writing. The main story actually is always something very simplistic and straightforward but all of the side-plots are unnecessary confusing and often also redundant ones. This movie is as well filled with some needless plot lines and characters, thrown in there in an attempt to let the movie appear more clever and complicated than it in fact really is. I'll admit, it's not as bad as was the case for the last two movies but the story is still filled with too many pointless distractions, which often also causes the movie to drag and makes you lose interest.

But really, the movie as it is still remains a perfectly watchable and enjoyable one. It's some quality entertainment and still better than, lets say, 80% of all of the other genre movies out there. This movie is only truly a disappointment when compared to all of the other, earlier, Pirates of the Caribbean movies.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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