Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (Blu-ray) (2017)

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Released 13-Sep-2017

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Adventure Featurette-Making Of-Dead Men Tell More Tales: Making of a New Adventure (47:50)
Outtakes-Bloopers of the Caribbean (2:58)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Jerry Bruckheimer Photo Diary (1:40)
Deleted Scenes-x4 (2:59)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2017
Running Time 129:07
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Joachim RÝnning
Espen Sandberg

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Johnny Depp
Javier Bardem
Geoffrey Rush
Brenton Thwaites
Kaya Scodelario
Kevin McNally
Golshifteh Farahani
David Wenham
Stephen Graham
Angus Barnett
Adam Brown
Orlando Bloom
Martin Klebba
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $29.95 Music Geoff Zanelli

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 7.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0
Russian Dolby Digital 5.1
Chinese Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Post-credits scene

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Plot Synopsis

†††† 2017ís Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is probably the best instalment in this particular franchise since its initial entry, 2003ís The Curse of the Black Pearl, but thatís still damning with faint praise. Indeed, this fourth sequel is still studiously mediocre and in need of more editorial discipline (not to mention better screenwriting), but at least it provides intermittent charms, and wonít leave you wanting to run screaming from the cinema. Nevertheless, with lengthy six-year break since the last sequel (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides), itís disheartening that this is apparently the best that Disney could come up with. Even with a pair of new directors, Dead Men Tell No Tales (a subtitle not to be confused with 2006ís Dead Manís Chest) lacks ambition and novelty, emerging as yet another lacklustre entry into the tired fourteen-year-old series.

†††† Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites), the adult son of Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), has grown up to become a sailor in the British Royal Navy, but is determined to free his father from the curse of the Flying Dutchman. Learning that the Trident of Poseidon holds the power to break any curse, Henry seeks to recruit Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) to help him in his quest, and also meets Carina (Kaya Scodelario), an astronomer who knows where the Trident might be. To complicate matters, Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) and his ghostly crew are freed from their Devilís Triangle prison, and begin hunting for Jack who was responsible for taking away their corporeal freedom. In addition, Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) sets off to find the Trident of Poseidon for himself, while a British Royal Navy officer, Lt. John Scarfield (David Wenham), is also interested in the treasure.

†††† The primary drawback of Dead Men Tell No Tales is that it feels flat overall, lacking a certain spark to truly bring it to life. The screenplay is replete with nonstop exposition, and endeavours to work through too many different subplots and tangents, with no less than six different parties seeking the Trident for themselves, taking away focus and prohibiting any sort of enlivening momentum. Exposition lacks snap, dialogue is largely humdrum, and the script is too cluttered and over-complicated, as if screenwriter Jeff Nathanson was operating on autopilot. It appears that those involved in this fifth Pirates of the Caribbean picture have lost sight of what made The Curse of the Black Pearl such a hit in the first place - it was an exciting, high-adventure swashbuckler with a hint of the supernatural, whereas Dead Men Tell No Tales meanders all over the place. Ultimately, the finished movie feels more like a workprint waiting for a tighter edit. And thatís especially concerning given that this is the shortest instalment in the franchise to date.

†††† Directors Joachim RÝnning and Espen Sandberg (2012ís Kon-Tiki) do what they can with the material, but the problems primarily stem from Nathansonís script which could have done with a few rewrites. Salazar and his undead crew have a longstanding grudge against Jack, of course, and theyíre only freed from the Devilís Triangle (right after Henry encounters them, coincidentally) because Jack gives up his magic compass, which is surely the flimsiest plot impetus in recent memory. Meanwhile, thereís no justification for Barbossaís return other than to add another party to an already crowded narrative, and some of the cheap slapstick moments and silly jokes might honestly make you feel as if youíre watching a dumb spoof like The Pirate Movie or Carry on Columbus rather than an expensive blockbuster. Characterisations are strictly one-dimensional outside of the primary characters - of course all of the Royal Navy officers are snobby, and absolutely refuse to listen to Henry. Not to mention the screenplay just rehashes several elements from previous Pirates of the Caribbean movies - Salazar and his undead pirates mirrors Barbossaís skeletal crew from the first movie, Salazar himself feels like a dull retread of Davy Jones, and the romantic angle between Henry and Carina is just reminiscent of Will and Elizabethís relationship.

†††† Despite predominantly filming in Queensland, Australia to save on production costs, Dead Men Tell No Tales was still reportedly produced for a staggering $230 million sum, a sizeable chunk of which was allocated to Depp. (At least the budget is less than the eye-watering $410 million price-tag of On Stranger Tides.) Digital effects are difficult to fault and visuals are frequently spectacular, with cinematographer Paul Cameron making terrific use of the beautiful Australian locations, and with sumptuous sets and costumes bringing this world to life. Plus, itís undeniably rousing to hear the franchiseís recognisable soundtrack beats during the major set-pieces. (Despite a new composer, the score feels mostly recycled from the previous films.) Nevertheless, even though Disney brought in a couple of Norwegian directors who had the potential to create something truly daring, Dead Men Tell No Tales is content to colour inside the lines. The only real spark of inventiveness is a sequence involving zombie sharks that ultimately feels like itís over before it even begins.

†††† With the return of Bloom, Rush and even Keira Knightley, it appears that the makers of Dead Men Tell No Tales were trying their hardest to bring back established fans of this franchise, but it doesnít add up to much. Depp, who was so endearingly offbeat in the original movie (he was even nominated for an Oscar), appears to be simply going through the motions yet again for the sake of a generous paycheque. The shtick has simply gotten old. Mercifully, the two completely forgettable young faces from On Stranger Tides are no more, but their replacements - Thwaites and Scodelario - are nothing to write home about. Scodelario (such a standout in TVís Skins) admittedly has spunk and charm, but the romantic angle is dead on arrival. Meanwhile, Rush happily chews the scenery as usual, but Bardem is the meatiest addition to the cast, sinking his teeth into this ghoulish role. Bardem is a reliably focused thespian, and heís the most sinister villain of the franchise so far, but itís a shame that most of his screen-time is wasted on exposition and minor threats while Sparrow engages in buffoonery around him. Nevertheless, Bardem manages to keep the material at least marginally compelling, which is welcome. And for eagle-eyed viewers, Paul McCartney makes a brief cameo, though the moment feels both contrived and unnecessary.

†††† When Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales actually works, it is certainly fun, but the enterprise is too bloated on the whole, not to mention overloaded with CGI. Despite competent production values, itís all a bit ho-hum. Everything comes to a head for a climax thatís exhausting rather than exhilarating, failing to replicate the raw thrills of the 2003 movie which started it all. Even though Dead Men Tell No Tales runs a mere 129 minutes, which is short for this franchise, it feels much longer, and it doesnít linger in the memory - youíll forget all about it in a matter of days, if not hours. Itís just another rehash of the same Pirates of the Caribbean ingredients weíve seen before. And unfortunately, as long as these movies make money, Disney will continue to churn them out regardless of whether or not we want them.

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Transfer Quality


†††† Disney have always been known for reference-quality Blu-ray transfers, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is no different. Minted from a pristine digital source, this AVC-encoded, 1080p high definition transfer represents one of the best Blu-ray presentations of the year, never faltering no matter the lighting conditions, and faithfully replicating what the movie looked like on the big screen during its theatrical run. Whereas the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies were filmed on celluloid, and On Stranger Tides was captured with RED cameras, Dead Men Tell No Tales was predominantly shot with Arri Alexa cameras and completed at 2K resolution. The resultant digital presentation is absolutely pristine from top to bottom, exhibiting no nasty artefacts and looking seriously vibrant. Retaining the movie's original theatrical framing of 2.39:1, Disney's Blu-ray is flawlessly encoded, maintaining an above-average bitrate and taking up a very reasonable 37GB on this dual-layered BD-50.

†††† The Blu-ray transfer looks excellent at every turn. Of course, the 1080p encode can only resolve so much texture during darker sequences, and therefore scenes like the opening of the movie look a bit on the flat and smooth side, but the presentation really soars during scenes set in daylight. Textures are omnipresent on faces, costumes and the meticulous sets, allowing you to really marvel at the wonders pulled off by the production and costume designers. Clarity is flawless, and at times almost too great, as some of the make-up looks obvious (particularly on Rush). The transfer does resolve the slightest bit of source noise at certain points, but it's not obvious or distracting, and most viewers probably won't even notice it. Thankfully, no shots or scenes look at all smeary, as the presentation remains perfectly stable from start to finish. Sharpness, too, is confidently above-average - object delineation is consistently precise, and no shots look soft. It's clear that a lot of money was spent to create stunning visuals, and it perfectly translates to Blu-ray.

†††† The colour palette is faithful to the filmmakers' intentions, looking precisely as it did in the cinema. The movie is rich and vibrant, with bold looking sunsets, accurate flesh-tones (not too oversaturated, luckily), lush greenery, and beautiful blue oceans. The palette of a certain flashback sequence is deliberately muted, and again the Blu-ray looks faithful to the movie's theatrical exhibition. Contrast, too, is consistently marvellous, bringing out as much detail and texture as the 1080p encode can allow. Naturally, the transfer doesn't pop in terms of textures and colours as much as the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, but that's to be expected. It's hard to imagine a 1080p presentation looking any better. I did notice a little bit of banding, but the presentation is otherwise free of other encoding anomalies like ringing, aliasing or macroblocking. All things considered, Dead Men Tell No Tales looks superb on Blu-ray, and it won't leave anybody disappointed.

†††† Multiple subtitle options are available, including Korean, Mandarin and Russian. The English track posed no issues.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


†††† Even though the movie was mixed and exhibited with Dolby Atmos in select cinemas during its theatrical run, Disney only provide a lossless DTS-HD MA 7.1 track (the Atmos mix is reserved for the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray). Since this is a lossless audio track it sounds pristine and beautifully clear throughout, with no muffing, drop-outs, sync issues, crackles or pops. It's an aggressive track when it needs to be, as well, with terrific subwoofer activity accentuating the music and the sound effects. The encode is simply magnificent.

†††† The movie is extremely loud during the primary set-pieces - see the destructive sequence in which a bank is dragged through the streets like the climax of Fast & Furious 5 - but dialogue miraculously manages to remain easily comprehensible and well-prioritised amid the mayhem. In smaller, dialogue-driven scenes, you can still hear light ambience coming from all the channels for maximum immersion, from the creaking of ship decks to the sounds of the ocean, as well as the score by Geoff Zanelli. Pinpoint channel placement is evident throughout, as well, from the sounds of canons to the explosions, and the various sounds throughout the climax which is set on the ocean floor. There are instances of panning throughout, while the subwoofer is put to great use to heighten the impact of the audio. Canons sound impactful, thunder & lightning will make your walls rumble, and so on. You'd be hard-pressed to find any shortcomings with this excellent track.

†††† For those interested, the disc also contains lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks in Russian and Chinese. I only sampled the primary 7.1 track for the purposes of this review. It is perhaps a shame that there's no Atmos track, but this 7.1 mix is so good that you probably won't care.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


†††† Not even an hour of video material. Considering the special features that Disney produced for all the previous Pirates of the Caribbean movies, this is very scant. There should be an audio commentary at the very least.

Dead Men Tell More Tales: The Making Of A New Adventure (HD; 47:50)

†††† Here's a seven-part making-of documentary, which covers numerous aspects of the movie across its nearly 48-minute duration. Loaded with on-set footage and interviews, this is a slickly-made extra which is frequently enjoyable and informative. However, I do wish it was longer, as previous Pirates of the Caribbean movies received more in-depth extras. Still, this is well worth watching. Each segment can either be watched individually, or via a "Play All" function.

Bloopers of the Caribbean (HD; 2:58)

†††† What would a Pirates of the Caribbean movie be without a "Bloopers of the Caribbean" supplement? Here we have the usual selection of outtakes as the actors goof around, stuff up lines and miss their marks. Naturally, Depp is a prominent presence throughout. These are amusing.

Jerry Bruckheimer Photo Diary (HD; 1:40)

†††† Producer Bruckheimer enjoys taking candid photographs whilst on set for his motion pictures. Here is a small selection of pictures he took on the set of Dead Men Tell No Tales. This is played like a featurette; it's not a gallery.

Deleted Scenes (HD; 2:59)

†††† There are four short excised scenes here - Highwayman, Henry Turner Learns a Lesson from Captain Jack, A Whale in Poseidon's Tomb, and Alternate Coda: Murtogg & Mallory 'Flogging' - which can either be watched individually or via a "Play All" function. These are insignificant and were probably wisely cut. All of these scenes are actually more or less finished; they're graded, and feature special effects and music.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

† † In terms of special features content, all editions worldwide appear identical. It's a draw.


†††† Not as bad as I had feared but nowhere near as good as it rightfully should be, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is another hit-and-miss entry into this tired franchise. It's only for devout fans.

†††† As expected, the technical presentation on this Blu-ray is extraordinary, with expertly encoded video and a bombastic lossless audio track. The special features are a bit on the scant side, but there's still some great stuff on the disc. Fans can buy with confidence, but newcomers should try before they buy.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Monday, December 18, 2017
Review Equipment
DVDLG UP970 4K UHD HDR Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayLG OLED65E6T. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 2160p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationSamsung Series 7 HT-J7750W
SpeakersSamsung Tall Boy speakers, 7.1 set-up

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At least you blokes go it with the original title.... - Jame Gumm