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Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales Review (2017) | Meh!

Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales turns out to be an unwanted addition to one of the most exciting and adventurous tales that should have stopped with Gore Verbinski‘s incredible trilogy. It went on and on and look what it has become now – a money making machine that simply banks on cheap thrills.

Captain Jack Sparrow has been milked enough, so much that there has to be something new or it wouldn’t be interesting. Jests at play need to be out of the world. There has to be something eye-popping or there’s no point really in going on. Unfortunately, Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales lacks sparkle to shine out as a flick capable of standing on its own. The movie is almost like you can see through every bit.

Why something happens feels weirdly compelled. There are a fun moments nevertheless but without a proper direction to hold them taut, everything ends up becoming redundant.

Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales is an average flick yes. Poorly directed and aimlessly wading through to meet its waiting setups. Not properly written in terms of mind-boggling mojo as was the case with earlier parts of the franchise. It doesn’t have that element of surprise or something extraordinary that you can cherish or remember in days to come.

Plot of Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales (Spoilers)

To constitute the plot of Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales we have the son of Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) Henry Turner, visit his father on The Flying Dutchman trying to tell him that his curse can be broken by the Trident of Poseidon. It sounds a tad plaintive at the moment and carves the niche for another adventure in the making. You can almost tell with the father-son reunion that the resolve in the child’s head to help his father is unbreakable. Will asks him to chug it and not to return to his ship for his own safety.

Nine years later we see a grown up version of Henry played by Brenton Thwaites who is now working for British Royal Navy chasing a pirate ship into the Devil’s Triangle, an over-fictionalized version of Bermuda Triangle. On trying to stop them from going in, Henry is caged for treason. The ship is then attacked by a dead man walking nay limping, Captain Salazar portrayed by Javier Bardem, and his army of undead. They spare Henry’s life so as to deliver a message to his arch-enemy Captain Jack Sparrow.

Death will come straight for him. Will you say that to him, please?

Javier Bardem as Salazar in Pirates 5

At Saint Martin

We cut in to Saint Martin, where a pretty girl named Carina Smyth portrayed by Kaya Scodelario is being sentenced to death for witchcraft. She meets Jack (he just happens to walk in, whaaaat?) when he is trying to rob a bank along with his pirate friends. In a failed attempt to score, Jack’s crew abandons him. Meanwhile Carina meets a captive Will who is on his way for execution, and tells him of a way to find the Trident. She helps him escape in the process getting captured herself.

Meanwhile with no money to buy him a drink Jack trades his compass at a local tavern (did the director forget about that coin he had so skillfully put in his pocket?). This breaks the curse Salazar and his crew was bound by to not escape the Triangle, which apparently was somehow tied to the compass. So Salazar and his army could now easily roam the sea.

Jack is caught (who tipped?) and sent for execution alongside Carina. However Henry swoops in the nick of time alongside Jack’s crew to save him. They escape by setting sail to Jack’s ship The Dying Gull. Carina apparently has a diary with a red gem on it, a map to take them to the Trident. Their search for the Trident begins thereon.

Captain Salazar’s Revenge

Salazar on the other hand keeps destroying ships and killing fleet in the wake of his return. Captain Barbossa finds Salazar to cut a deal to spare his fleet by giving him what he wants. Then there’s  a flashback about Salazar’s ghostly making about how a young Jack had tricked him into Devil’s Triangle sealing his fate then and there to his compass.

With the help of Barbossa, Salazar finds Jack, Carina and Henry on a rowboat headed towards an island. Salazar and his crew can’t step on land, and so Barbossa arrives on Salazar’s behalf however chooses to help Jack and his crew find the Trident instead. He breaks free The Black Pearl from the bottle and reinstates command. On the ship both Jack and Barbossa realize Carina to be Barbossa’s daughter.

Salazar charges in destroying the British Navy warship that had been after Jack all this time (what a waste!) and then attacks the Black Pearl. Fight ensues. Why are ghosts fighting with swords again? It was clearly shown how their body couldn’t be harmed and they were literally souls walking around. Another moment of not thinking things through.

You can order Pirates of the Caribbean 5 from here:

Trident of Poseidon

An island shows up just in time (land alert!), as Salazar snatches Henry away from them before disappearing. Carina discovers the island to be the portal entrance by using the missing gem to open the gateway to the Trident of Poseidon. The sea caves in manifesting the Trident on land.

Salazar, being the ghost he was, possesses Henry to walk on land and confronts Jack and Carina who were trying to wield the Trident. On holding the trident, becoming all powerful, he lets go off Henry’s body, and attacks Jack with the Trident. Henry realizes if the Trident’s broken, all the curses across the sea would be broken too. So he breaks the trident forcing Salazar and his crew to come into their human forms again.

Pirates of the Caribbean 5 steering the ship anchor

With the trident broken, the sea path portal that had opened begins to come back to its normal form (slowly and very unrealistically). Just then comes Barbossa on an Anchor with Gibbs steering The Black Pearl like Vin Diesel his car in Fast and Furious, towards the edge of the sea that has begun to feel like a cliff now. Everybody boards the Anchor including Salazar in his less dangerous form now, and yet Barbossa decides to jump on him like a monkey (inspired by his Capuchin of course) and drive a sword in his back. In the process Barbossa falls into the depth (they will probably come back with him again, don’t shed a tear just yet).

Happy Ending

Before dying however Barbossa has his father-daughter moment with Carina before jumping away from the emotional aftermath, embarrassment and trauma  just like a true hero would have.

Carina: What am I to you?

Barbossa: You are my treasure.

Carina Smyth becomes Carina Barbossa. Henry Turner reunites with his father Will Turner whose curse is now broken. We find a cameo of Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) as she too reunites with her husband. Jack is once again aboard his favorite ship, with Barbossa’s monkey on his shoulder and is ready for more adventures.

We also have a post credit scene of Davy Jones entering the bedroom of Will and Elizabeth. So now we know where the story is headed next.

The Final Verdict

Dead Men Tell No Tales is not entirely without a purpose. It sounds like one last attempt to bring closure to the love story of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann. But with the post credit scene it becomes obvious they will resurrect it once again. Whatever happened to Pirates 5 being the last one?

Every part had something interesting to offer. Even the previous part had the concept of Mermaids as its USP to base the flick upon. Unfortunately Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales has nothing of the sorts. The concept of dead had already been brought on board in the first part itself. So there was nothing out of the box here to sell.

Whatever happened to the outstanding accords between pirates that used to be the crux of the story? Also, the British Naval army seemed to be the weakest and flimsiest element in this movie.

I think this swashbuckler franchise needs to lay down its swords or come up with a breathtaking story to topple us from the ship, or there’s no point really in going on.

You can check out the trailer of Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales here:

Collateral Beauty Review (2016) | It Sounds Good But It Isn’t

Okay we get it. The theme of Collateral Beauty was purely based on grief, and so it had all the good actors attracted to it naturally. They had a beautiful imaginative script, and if you read something like that on a paper, it does sound good. Unfortunately when you try to play it, it becomes plain stupid. That’s what happened with the gloomy David Frankel project.

Plot and Direction of Collateral Beauty (Spoilers)

All fingers don’t just point towards Allan Loeb‘s sad script, one of the middle one points towards the movie’s direction too. David Frankel still has a lot to learn about subtlety. It’s absence shows in his work at so many occasions that it makes you want to shake your head. You end up getting a cramp because it is lodged throughout the flick.

To begin with let’s take the character of Will Smith into account. Howard is a man that snaps out right at the prologue. He doesn’t hand us over even a second to relate to him. Then you think maybe, just maybe, the reason for his anguish might be inbound for a thorough melodramatic coverage in the later half, and that it would help us come to his frequency. But unfortunately you never crack his psychotic level at all. Very unconvincing!

The description of his grief starts when his co-workers Claire, Whit and Simon, played by Kate Winslet, Edward Norton and Michael Pena respectively, gossip behind his back talking about the why, the what and the how of “aftermath daughter death”. It flings us into the primal plot almost immediately. So, we actually know the paramount reason right in the beginning of the movie itself.

image of Will Smith as Howard in Collateral Beauty

Then starts dispensable charades. Tons of them actually, where you see Howard nodding his head in agreement as if listening to what people are saying to him, and then deliberately ignoring them. Then we see Claire leaving things for him that stay untouched. Whit trying to come up with ideas that puts questions against his friendship with Howard. Oh! oh! and Simon, Michael Pena’s character begins to cough suddenly out of nowhere just for the sake of creating sub-plots.

Laughable sub-plots

The sub-plots. Don’t even get me started on them! Horrible! Why were they even there in the first place? Oh right unless the writer wanted to come back to it at a later point? Heights of the platitude!

Movie tries to personify love, time and death. And it does so with characters of Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley and Jacob Latimore. Then you see these characters suddenly focus their spotlight towards people who had hired them instead. Stories you don’t want to worry about suddenly becomes their prime concern. And these issues are so irrelevant to the main tale, that you know for sure something’s up. And then lo! You can see through it all. All of it! You see the predictable climax appear from far away.

The only thing you don’t see coming is Madeleine‘s bizarre angle portrayed by Naomie Harris, which shows us Howard visiting her as a stranger. And the only reason you don’t see that coming is because they both act like absolute strangers. But even when that gets uploaded on the big screen, you can’t help but giggle.

The Goodies

Focusing on the good stuff, as I generally do, Will Smith goes in full acting mode when he tries to overcome figments of his head. When he shouts at them trying to justify his case, he leaves them in a vexed mode. That’s where you get to see his wound slash open. So if you are a Will Smith diehard fan you are going to enjoy that incessant frown on his head.

Also, you see Kate Winslet, Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren and Edward Norton toil really hard to deliver their bits. Even though it appears like a resounding debacle, never for a second they let you feel anything amiss. There is real pain in Kate’s

“I am really sorry, Howard!”

and there’s genuine concern in them Norton eyes for his daughter. Real blush lurks on the semblance of Keira and there’s real distress in Smith’s eyes.

You can pre-order Collateral Beauty from here:

Screenplay

Screenplay is so cliched that it hurts your ears when you try to listen to them. Okay I am exaggerating there. What is worse is that it gets delivered by theater actors (at least that was intended in the first place) who think a cliched definition is all a grieving person needs to listen to.  Some of them are actually pretty good too, but the smart stuff is intentionally kept for the hero to deliver.

The Final Verdict

It’s almost as if I tell you the story of Collateral Beauty you might actually like it, and not think of it as something cheesy. But when you actually see it get dramatized and performed by actors you begin to realize how idiotic it truly looks, and that it was better off as a script unplayed.

Despite Collateral Beauty has stellar actors in the vanguard, it falls owing to its unrealistic and super contrived look and feel. Some scenes are simply out of the blue and context for that to matter.

It could have been so much better if David Frankel had decided not to helm it. Even better handed it over to Spike Jonze instead and taken some time off to concentrate on comedies instead.

You can check out the trailer of Collateral Beauty movie here:

Everest Review (2015)

The first thing that hits you when the Everest commences is its music. There is melancholy inscribed, and you at once know there is tragedy in the tale. Well, of course, if you have been following the movie, the book, the unfortunate event and been watching the trailers, you already know what you are in for. And so the placard in the beginning tells you.

Everest is a true story that laps around the 1996 disaster on the mountain. The story brings Rob Hall and Scott Fischer, the leaders of two different groups, into the limelight and unwinds every minute detail related to their expedition. What it also does is open the gates for a little dread for those who think trekking it is a piece of cake.

Baltasar Kormakur’s direction is good but not great. His frames are silent and endearing and connect you at once. You suddenly find yourself amongst the characters. But sometimes you feel something is missing. Fleeting frames of the progressive kind don’t actually let you take profundity in. They rarely let you focus and you keep moving on.

Another problem with the movie is that you have a script that you cannot play around with. These events happened. You cannot toy with its reality. To make it into a feature film, you have to ensure that your direction is out of the world. To connect to the audience you have to make the gloom shattering.

Personally, what I felt missing was a heartbreaking emotional touch that would break you into a million pieces. Death didn’t seem to tingle you. Because there was little time spent on the aftermath and more time on the ‘what’. You couldn’t feel the warmth in the characters so losing them didn’t exactly connect. This again was a ball in the director’s court. Also, the screenplay being average fails to blow your mind. But there are, at times, brilliant lines in the movie that can be cherished as is.

There is one badass scene when the storm cloud gradually moves towards a stranded Rob that was one of the most memorable ones. Also, Doug and Harold’s fate was terrorizing to watch. The scenic beauty that the badass mountain offers is simply out of the world and is well captured. Though Baltasar often used the same frame again and again for emphasis.

There are little things in the movie that are really thought provoking. Clouds of thoughts engulf the team when they are asked “Why?” Why are they trying to reach its peak? Also, when the protagonist looks at a returning team with an injured member, fallen and vanquished, it puts him in doubts. The scene is metaphorical of defeat.

If you wish to relive the disaster, this movie sets a brilliant backdrop and entertains one helluva cast into a commiserating melodrama. A definite watch!

The Imitation Game Review (2014) | Benedict Cumberbatch is ‘The’ Prodigy

The Imitation Game is a beautiful glimpse into the head of the prodigy Alan Turing. Who plays that? None other than the handsome and captivating Benedict Cumberbatch himself.

 “Are you paying attention? Good. If you are not listening carefully, you will miss things. Important things. I will not pause, I will not repeat myself, and you will not interrupt me. You think that because you’re sitting where you are, and I am sitting where I am, that you are in control of what is about to happen. You’re mistaken. I am in control, because I know things that you do not know.”

The flick takes birth with the aforementioned enthralling screenplay that smells of confidence dripping off Benedict Cumberbatch’s brainiac-avatar. We like to listen to him that way. His bold voice that reeks of the Smaug fury. That voice of Khan that reminds us of his sharp demeanor that he so beautifully donned and carried throughout the movie Star Trek Into Darkness. He literally thrives on screenplay. Don’t you just wish sometimes screenwriters had more badass words to feed him?

Plot of The Imitation Game (Spoilers)

Enigma is impossible to crack. So the world told him. Alan Turing, the prodigy who defied a relentless encrypting machine, was the person responsible for reducing the devastating span of war that engulfed Europe by two years. The Father of Artificial Intelligence played God to minimize casualties and nobody had a clue. The biopic is a tribute to Turing which eases through 114 minutes of brilliance manifesting his love life, his genius, his eureka and his sorry demise.

Cumberbatch as the polymath works extremely hard to project a guy who is different from the rest. He imparts him an apt stammer with a clumsier gravity. Alexandre Desplat weaves magic in the background with his brilliant notes.

You can order The Imitation Game from here:

I loved how Keira Knightley‘s character Joan Clarke tries to reason with Turing when he tries to break up with her.

“We will have each other’s minds. Sounds like a better marriage than most.

still of benedict cumberbatch and keira knightley in the imitation game

Downsides to The Imitation Game

Morten Tyldum’s direction is good but there are times when you feel it could have gone better. Since, directors believe viewers to be laymen, most of them don’t venture into the technical aspect of a prodigy. A little bit fathomable technical is a welcome inclusion and if a director makes you understand the what and the how of the work entailed, big things like cracking a code should give you an equal and exact amount of thrill as its protagonist projects. Precisely what the flick missed.

Turing is a war hero often unsung and overlooked. What he gave the world is truly precious. Somehow something tells me, this guy’s life deserves a series to portray minute crucial details. Now that is something that couldn’t be possibly condensed into a movie. The grandeur of what he was doing and what he did is beyond time. A flick like this doesn’t do justice to his remarkable life.

The Final Verdict

The Imitation Game rivets you with Alan’s ingenious almost instantly. Desplat’s notes make sure that you don’t get a jaded moment at all. Whilst Cumberbatch ensures you witness a prodigy. Matthew Goode, Keira Knightley, Charles Dance and Mark Strong fill the screen aptly with their effective and memorable presence. Overall the movie turns out brilliant.

A great biopic to watch! Highly recommended.

Check out the trailer of The Imitation Game here: