Saturday, May 27, 2017

Movie Review … Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

The ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ films have been huge hits.  Based on the Walt Disney ride, it has amassed a fortune since the first movie in 2003.  That’s just as well because it has cost a fortune to make.  With gargantuan-sized budgets thrown mostly towards the actors and CGI, they truly embrace the word ‘spectacle’.  Every penny of the money spent is clearly seen with its efforts in creating colourful romps obviously appreciated.  ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’ is in the same vein as it offers glorious entertainment other rivals can’t afford to match.

Still sailing the high seas like a piratical scallywag, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is on a new mission.  Discovering an old enemy, Armando Salazar (Javier Bardem) has risen from the depths, Jack is worried.  Knowing Salazar tends to kill every pirate at sea, Jack goes in search of an ancient artefact to enable him to defeat Salazar.  In his quest, Jack is helped by Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) who is on his own crusade to free his father Will (Orlando Bloom) from a bygone curse.  What follows is adventure aplenty among the high seas with Jack’s pirate skills firmly affixed to the mast.

As entertaining as previous entries, the fifth outing for the colourful pirates generally scores.  You know what to expect with the series by now which isn’t a bad thing. Those wanting action, romance, dazzling CGI and lashings of humour will find it.  It may be looking a little tired around the edges with Depp’s Sparrow now more caricature than true character.  But there are a few new wrinkles maintaining freshness.  Henry’s journey to re-unite his family ties in well with the film’s overall theme with depth seen in a series not usually known for it.

‘Pirates 5’ is hardly a sombre experience with fun and colour evident.  Whilst the zippy energy of initial outings feels lost, the performers never over-play the humour in spite of their cartoonish roles.  Unlike the previous film Sparrow doesn’t dominate proceedings which allow other characters to come to the fore.  This is a wise move as it makes the film different with the CGI out-doing itself.  The pacing is occasionally sluggish but the visual feast displayed ensures the story maintains engagement until its soggy conclusion.

An entertaining slice of expensive escapism, ‘Pirates 5’ does exactly what the posters promise.  It might not rank among the best but it offers a grandiose epic one expects.  Although things are neatly wrapped up another outing wouldn’t be amiss with the pirate’s flag showing little sign of flaying.

 
Movie Review Rating out of 10:  6

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.



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Movie Review … Viceroy’s House

Audiences enjoy good historical dramas.  The genre seems to be going through a boom with several TV and films delving into the past.  The early part of the 20th century especially seems popular with the likes of ‘Downton Abbey’ and others finding favour.  ‘Viceroy’s House’ uses one of ‘Downton Abbey’s’ leads which should help carry over some of its audience.  As with any good historical essay, it revels in its elegant costumes and gripping story that should appeal to audiences of all ages.

In 1947, British India was in the stages of beginning its independence.  Splitting the land into India and Pakistan, the task for those in charge was monumental.  The head of this taskforce was Lord Louis Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville).  Attempting to oversee a peaceful transition, his efforts were made harder by different sides opposing change. Aided by his wife Edwina (Gillian Anderson), Louis faced hurdles at every corner at an important moment in history.

As an educational document of a defining moment in 20th century history, ‘Viceroy’s House’ is engaging.  How Mountbatten’s compassionate idealism was at odds with his role demanding it ‘do the right thing by Britain’ is compelling.  His wife’s influence on his thoughts shine through with the romance between Jeet (Manish Dayal) and Aalia (Huma Qureshi) providing another interesting layer.  Jeet’s and Aalia’s religious differences become a metaphor for the split India faces and the tumultuous times ahead.

These elements are conveyed with competent ease by director Gurinder Chadha.  With her own family having lived through the painful aftermath of independence, Chadha infuses the film with genuine authenticity.  This extends to the locations and period detail which is excellent. Whilst the script occasionally leans towards narrative clich├ęs, the central true story remains consistently fascinating.  The cast provide genuine conviction to their roles as people conflicted by their beliefs.

Whilst not quite the engrossing historical biopic it wants to be, ‘Viceroy’s House’ still captivates.  It strives for quality drama and it succeeds. History devotees should admire its consistently high production values proving audience’s love affair with the genre will continue unabated.

 
Movie Review Rating out of 10:  7

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.


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Movie Review … King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword

The legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table at Camelot has been enduring.  Dozens of books and films have been created from a story continually capturing people’s imaginations.  It’s a tale that can be everything from romance, action to high drama.  Director Guy Ritchie goes for the middle option with his take on the King Arthur mythology.  Unfortunately it’s not especially thrilling with the elements making the tale so enduring apparently missing in the halls of Camelot.

Running the back streets of Londinium with his crew, Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) thinks life can’t throw him anymore surprises.  Discovering a stone with a sword called Excalibur stuck inside, his existence is changed forever.  Drawing it from its stony confines, Arthur becomes embodied with great powers.  Helped by the enigmatic Guinevere (Astrid Berges-Frisbey), Arthur learns to master his abilities and discovers his royal lineage.  Forced to go up against evil tyrant Vortigern (Jude Law), Arthur deals with past tragedies while reclaiming the crown enabling him to become King. 

‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’ fails due to its casting. That doesn’t mean the actors but its director. Fitting the right director for the material is crucial in allowing a movie to achieve success.  Sadly Guy Ritchie is completely mis-cast as its helmer.  Utilising his usual fast-editing tricks and filming the story like one of his typical English gangster movies, Richie fails to delve into the tale’s majesty and splendour.  For such a rich background as the King Arthur story, Richie uses little of it with minuscule flair gone into crafting anything wondrous.

Whilst the ‘grim and gritty’ version of the King Arthur legend has been done before, ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’ is the worst of them.  Lifeless with bored-looking performances, watching becomes a chore.  Although the infrequent action scenes are technically well handled, they are done with zero passion or grasp of the character’s motivations.  The CGI is spectacular as expected but that means nothing in a movie failing to capture the imagination or add anything new.

‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’ is dull, uninspired and ultimately pointless.  Supposedly the first film of a franchise, this mis-step ensures that won’t happen. It proves the point that not respecting the source material can backfire and hopefully a better take on the wonderful Arthurian legend is made soon to erase memories of this poorly realised adaptation.

 
Movie Review Rating out of 10:  3

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

Agree with Patrick's Movie Review? Then please use the comment box.

Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.



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