Ahead of going to see the fifth instalment in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’, I decided that it was time for a much-needed rewatch of the first four films. Having done just that I thought I would share my thoughts on what I think about each film in the franchise, and rank them in what I believe to be the best to worst (or should that be worst to best?).
#4. On Stranger Tides
The latest of the Pirates films flopped for me. A complete rehaul of the core cast, with only Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush reprising their roles, this film feels completely separate from the franchise. The inclusion of Blackbeard (Ian McShane) was one that I was really excited for, but he was so downplayed. The most fearsome pirate of the sea? Barely even scratched the surface of his potential. Pre-Finnick Sam Claflin plays missionary, Swift, but even his performance isn’t anything spectacular (sorry Sam). Penelope Cruz’s imitation of Jack Sparrow is probably the highlight of the entire film, and even that’s over in about a minute! This film feels like they made it *just because*. I sure hope that Pirates 5 makes its amends.
Pirate Rating: 4/10 doubloons
#3. Dead Man’s Chest
Dead Man’s Chest was good, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t think it was great. Continuing the Willabeth (Will/Elizabeth) relationship we see the two having the most unlucky of nuptials, being arrested on their wedding day, which leads to the crazy adventure. The standout introduction to this film is that of ‘sexy squid-face’ Davy Jones (Bill Nighy). The Scottish-voiced, tentacled Captain of the Flying Dutchman is supposed to come off as a sinister villain, sworn to ferry the dead to the underworld. Instead I just want to join him for a drink of rum and some dice games! My favourite thing about this film is how badass they make Elizabeth. Whilst she is out searching for the man she loves, they don’t turn her into the stereotypical pining, weak-minded female. Instead she is strong, quick witted and incredibly cunning in her efforts to get herself where she needs to be, and Keira plays this off brilliantly.
Pirate Rating: 6/10 doubloons
#2. At World’s End
The concluding film in the original trilogy, At World’s End is the most underrated. The most impressive in terms of CGI, with an epic clash of swords over a thunderous maelstrom in its final moments. This film has my favourite of the four soundtracks, with Hans Zimmer showing his quality on tracks such as ‘Up is Down’, ‘One Day’ (*swoon) and the Pirates take on rock ‘n roll, ‘Parlay’. Johnny provides some of his most impressive acting since Curse of the Black Pearl, covering the complete range of emotions any award-winning actor has in his repertoire. The Willabeth storyline is beautifully wrapped up by the end I feel (no spoilers here) with the direction Verbinski takes them on. Certainly tugs on the heartstrings in places. Be sure to stick it out till the end for a vitally important, and sincerely sweet post-credits scene!
Pirate Rating: 7.5/10 doubloons
#1. Curse of the Black Pearl
It is always said that nothing can beat the first in a franchise, and Curse of the Black Pearl lives up to that mantra. A completely fresh idea from Disney, this film came as a complete surprise to viewers. Based off the well-loved Pirates of the Caribbean ride at the Walt Disney Park, the story follows notorious pirate Captain Jack Sparrow as he teams up with Will Turner to rescue the damsel ‘not-quite’ in distress, Elizabeth Swann. This film has everything, from swashbuckling sword clashes, drunken brawls, a motley (yet sometimes dysfunctional) crew and best of all, a bundle of laughs.
Pirate Rating: 9.5/10 doubloons (I couldn’t bear to give it a complete 10!)
I am very much looking forward to seeing Dead Men Tell No Tales (hopefully tomorrow!). I’m highly anticipating the return of both Will and Lizzie, as well as the introduction to Kaya Scodelario’s character and what she brings to the story. I’ve read many comments online that it is a fitting ‘end’ to the franchise. Whether it is the final piece of the puzzle, we have yet to see.
Dead Men Tell No Tales is in cinemas now.