Critics Consensus

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Baywatch Hit Choppy Waters

Plus, Twin Peaks is back and Certified Fresh.

by | May 25, 2017 | Comments

This week at the movies, we have Jack Sparrow’s latest voyage (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, starring Johnny Depp and Javier Bardem) and some hardbodies at the beach (Baywatch, starring Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron). What do the critics have to say?


Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) 29%


In a number of ways, Hollywood’s approach to filmmaking over the past 15 years or so has offered a case study in just how possible it can be to turn unlikely ideas into box office gold, and Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is a pretty incredible case in point. The studio raised no shortage of eyebrows when it announced plans to turn its popular theme park attraction into a movie, and Johnny Depp wasn’t really anyone’s idea of a pirate — but the first installment, 2003’s Curse of the Black Pearl, was a critical and commercial hit, earning Depp an Oscar nomination for his performance as the perpetually sozzled Captain Jack Sparrow. Rare is the franchise that can avoid the law of diminishing returns, however, and Black Pearl‘s sequels have seen their fortunes sink to the mucky green depths of the Tomatometer. With the fifth chapter, this weekend’s Dead Men Tell No Tales, the Pirates saga was supposed to enjoy a course correction courtesy of Kon-Tiki directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, but unfortunately, critics say this adventure’s just as bloated, narratively muddled, and effects-dependent as its immediate predecessors. If you’re dying to sail the seas of CGI cheese or have always wanted to see Paul McCartney in pirate garb, then avast ye to the theater; otherwise, stick to the landlubber’s life — at least until the next Pirates sets sail.


Baywatch (2017) 18%


Baywatch spent many of its 11 seasons on the airwaves as a worldwide ratings monster, but it was never really meant to be taken seriously. Mixing high camp with high tide — and plenty of slow-motion shots of beautiful people running in swimwear — it entertained millions without ever accomplishing much in the way of character development or thought-provoking plot. All of which should have made it pretty easy to put together a fun Baywatch movie, especially with a cast that included Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandria Daddario, and Kelly Rohrbach; as genially charming as they are easy on the eyes, this crew seemed like a natural fit for a post-ironic update on the cheesy TV legend. Sadly, as it so often seems to do in these situations, something got lost in translation — while the big-screen Baywatch definitely takes advantage of its R-rated freedom, critics say it can’t decide whether it wants to mock or embrace its source material, and the end result is a muddled, mostly unfunny mess. These stars are all bound for better projects, but if it’s laughs you’re after this weekend, you might be better off with a marathon of the original series.


What’s New on TV

 

Twin Peaks: The Return (2017) 94%

Surreal, suspenseful, and visually stunning, this new Twin Peaks is an auteurist triumph for David Lynch.


Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

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