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Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

One of the biggest surprises for summer 2003 was the original Pirates of the Caribbean film. There was a lot of goodwill with that movie and its sequels that would form a trilogy were very highly anticipated. Then came that fourth one, whatever you want to call it. I’m still a big fan of the first two films and can watch the third one, though its rather overplotted and confusing. I saw the fourth once. While interested in the fifth one, I didn’t make it to the theater and it wasn’t really priority viewing for me. It didn’t need me though as the film grossed almost 800 million dollars. What surprised me, though is looking back, this series was clearly more of a fan based one that critic. There is a pretty solid discrepancy among the sequels aside from pretty much agreeing the fourth one sucked. Now we come to the fifth one which has a huge distance between audience and critic. You’ll be able to find out for yourself, or if you’re a fan, own it on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray October 3rd.

Film 

Thrusvt into an all-new adventure, a down-on-his-luck Capt. Jack Sparrow feels the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost sailors led by his old nemesis, the evil Capt. Salazar, escape from the Devil’s Triangle. Jack’s only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it, he must forge an uneasy alliance with a brilliant and beautiful astronomer and a headstrong young man in the royal British navy.

When this movie was announced a really long time ago, I was part of the chorus of groans as to why do another one of these. However, the previous one made a billion dollars. That’s enough reason right there. Maybe not in America, but elsewhere, people are taken with this series. The first trailer interested me enough and some trusted friends said it was rather enjoyable. I didn’t know whether to buy into this being the last one, but it does wrap some things up nicely.

In Dead Men Tell No Tales, you get game Javier Bardem chewing up scenery to go along with some good pirate excursions. The new cast members Kaya Scodelario and Brenton Thwaites feel fresh and energetic, breathing younger, newer life into the series that we haven’t seen since the first one. They really do feel like watching Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley again, but with some differences in their characters. This feels like a good sequel for the original film. In a way, the mistake made with this entire series might have been too much of a focus on serialization and moreso on must making a self-contained adventure, then coming up with something else whenever the “next time” rolled around.

In terms of pirate action, it is not on short supply here. There are the typical swashbuckling fights, chases and comedic bits we’ve come to expect. But we also get a lot of newer feeling set pieces, creatures and action bits. Poseiden’s kingdom is really awesome and there are also some great looking visuals in the film with lighting and cinematography techniques unique to this film. Or maybe it just feels moreso because Rob Cohen directed the last film. One of my favorite things in this movie are the ghost sharks.

This fifth and (Pack your bags, Disney, this is a good point to stop) probably final film in the series was a nice step back to the simplicity and wonder of the first film while also wrapping up some loose ends. Depp’s Jack Sparrow is beyond tired, but its okay enough for one more go. The film introduces some newer and more interesting action and fantasy elements to the mix. There are a lot of thing you like, spun differently as well as brand new elements while not sitting and banking on pure nostalgia. At best, I can say the final Pirates movie is some fun, enjoyable and relaxed big budget adventure entertainment.

Video 

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail:  Dead Men Tell No Tales comes with quite a lovely and deep 4K Ultra-HD image. The blacks excell and the colors, especially with filters and explosions are quite appealing. Details are very strong in the image with wood grains, dirt, rope threads, molten rock and more just looking good to the touch. Water comes on strong and seamless. Its got a more naturally colored image with good depth and details. The CGI has a hint more of looking more like CG, but its still okay because the strength of the texture and information in it is quite good. Overall, this is a beautiful image whatever the time of day or lighting in a dungeon.

Depth:  There is a good amount of spacing and dimensional work on showcase throughout the film be it indoors and outdoors. Camera movements and characters ones are smooth, cinematic and confident. The separation, especially when on a boat, of character/foreground and background is quite good.

Black Levels:  Blacks are wonderful here. There is a varied palette on deep it is. They are natural and dark, impressively holding on to details and enhancing the sharpness of a various other scenes. Hair follicles, clothing wrinkles, surfaces and more retain a lot of individuality and textures. No crushing was witnessed during this viewing of the film for the review.

Color Reproduction:  Colors come across quite beautifully. The wardrobes, especially Barbosa’s crew and Carina’s dress. The purples, greens, reds and blues look lovely. Blues are a very strong color here with the skies and water looking gorgeous. HDR comes in hand with torches and the like. Dark cavern scenes really allow some of the colors to pop. During Salazar’s flashback, the red, flaming water reflection (Or whatever) really beams off your screen looking gorgeous.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and keep a consistent looking picture from beginning to end of the voyage. Facial features are excellent with freckles, moles, blemishes, lip texture, wrinkles, leather sun beaten skin, dried blood/mud and a lot more. Barbosa’s face is probably the best example at how terrific the detail is if you pause and take a look. Shansa’s face is also gruesomely detailed.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 7.1 Dolby Atmos (English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD compatible), English 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, Spanish 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, Japanese 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Chinese (Simple), Chinese (Mandarin), Japanese

Dynamics:  The Dead Men Tell No Tales, but the movie speaks plenty well through this Atmos track. Overall its  deeper sounding one and with plenty of good, explosive action set pieces. Though this is a terrific adventure to listen unfold, its a rare occasion where this Atmos track is above average, but not quite a top tier film to display the new technology. I hope I don’t sound harsh, as this more than does the trick with playful speaker interplay, well realized sound design and the like, but there are better ones out there easily.

Height: There are some breezes, bullets, swishes, ship creaks and more that time to time will cameo above your head.

Low Frequency Extension:  The subwoofer is the overall star of this track as musket fire, roar waters, boats being set to sail, cannons, sword play, storms and more just rumble, bounce and pounce your viewing area.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Sound travels quite accurately as we go boat to boat, land to see, canon to musket. Speakers also get their own distinct identities, fully understanding the rooms and places they are in.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is crisp, clear and plenty good from any environment or action sequence.

Extras 

Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and an UltraViolet digital copy. All of the extras are featured on the Blu-ray disc.

Dead Men Tell No Tales: The Making Of A New Adventure – A multi-part behind-the-scenes/making of that focuses on the old, the new, the effects, the villain Paul McCartney’s cameo and reflections on the franchise as a whole. Some of it is good some of it is fluff, but it amounts to about a 50 minute feature that provides some good info for the film and series.

  • A Return To The Sea (HD, 3:33)
  • Telling Tales: A Sit-Down with Brenton & Kaya (HD, 8:48)
  • The Matador & The Bull: Secrets of Salazar & the Silent Mary (HD, 13:38)
  • First Mate Confidential (HD, 8:48)
  • Deconstructing the Ghost Sharks (HD, 3:50)
  • Wings Over the Caribbean (HD, 5:11)
  • An Enduring Legacy (HD, 3:59)

Bloopers Of The Caribbean (HD, 2:58)

Jerry Bruckheimer Photo Diary (HD, 1:40) – On set photos taken by the legendary producer.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 2:59)

Summary 

Hey, I liked this fifth and presumably final (At least in this canon) Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Its a simple, fun adventure. This 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray looks very pretty and carries some good sound. There are also plenty of special features to expand the experience of the film. It makes me curious as to what the original three (You can have the fourth) films are going to look like when it comes time for Disney to upgrade them to Ultra-HD. If you’ve seen the previous four (or even just three), you might as well go with this one. No harm, as its a plenty enjoyable pirate adventure and pretty complete package in terms of quality movie, presentation and extras.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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