Posted on Monday, October 3rd, 2016 by Jacob Hall
The first teaser trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales arrived last night and it was…a pleasant surprise? After all, this series has had its ups and its downs, but the fourth film was a true slog and evidence that these movies were officially running on fumes. It’s amazing what the presence of new directors and an actor like Javier Bardem can do to get you interested in a Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
So let’s get to the bottom of this trailer and see what makes it tick. Join me for a patented frame-by-frame over-analysis of the whole thing.
One of the most promising things about Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is the men behind the camera. Directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg were hired for this gig shortly after helming the 2012 film Kon-Tiki, which is set almost entirely on a wooden raft crossing the Pacific Ocean. In other words, these guys know how to shoot on boats and on water, which is nothing short of a pain in the ass. Anyway, this is just my long way of getting around to saying, “Well, I’m a little disappointed that this trailer opens with a largely digital ocean shot since these two are so good at filming the actual ocean, but hey, I’m sure the rest of the movie will feature plenty of actual ocean shots and so on.”
Since this is film series based on a theme park ride that literally opens with riders literally floating into a dark and mysterious cave, it’s only appropriate that this teaser features a ship braving a dark cavern in the side of a rocky island. The only thing missing is a disembodied pirate skull issuing warnings above the entrance.
Whether by accident or design, the sequence depicted in this trailer definitely appears to echo the climax of the first Pirates of the Caribbean film. A mysterious cave! A British naval vessel! An army of undead and vengeful pirates! Lots of fog!
Similarities aside, the footage on display here is just different enough from past Pirates of the Caribbean movies to snag my interest. The atmosphere here is certainly creepy. Whether this is Rønning and Sandberg bringing something new to the table or simply the fact that this film is the follow-up to the genuinely grotesque-looking Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides remains to be seen.
While these movies have always leaned hard on supernatural elements, Dead Men Tell No Tales looks like its borrowing some legit horror imagery, with ghostly hands emerging from the darkness to attack a row of British soldiers. These movies were always at their best when the villains were legitimately unsettling and unforgiving monsters, so…fingers crossed for some memorable cannon fodder?
And here’s our first glimpse of Captain Salazar, the villain played by Oscar-winner Javier Bardem. He’s the kind of guy who effortlessly walks through fiery battlefields while the camera follows him from behind, so you know he’s tough.
One of the more interesting details in the trailer is this close-up of Captain Salazar’s uniform. Note the medals, which suggest that his past extends beyond being just another pirate. Maybe he’s a straight-arrow captain who decided to take a walk on the dark side and ended up cursed for this trouble?