– by Joseph Jammer Medina

It’s been nearly 15 years since the first Pirates of the Caribbean film hit theaters. Against all odds — and against the expectations of pretty much everyone around — Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl managed to be a cool pirate movie, and a huge sensation across the board. The rest is franchise history. They followed up that freshman effort with Dead Men’s Chest, At World’s End, and finally, with On Stranger Tides.

It’s 2017, and it’s been a full six years since the last Pirates film. While the series has definitely had its critics — with many believing the first film was the only real good one — there’s no denying the global appeal of these movies. They’ve either managed to crack $1 billion worldwide, or at the very least get close to it. There’s something there that’s worth capturing.

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You can imagine the pressure that Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales directors Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning were facing going into it. Speaking with our very own Nancy Tapia, Rønning discussed what they strived to accomplish with this film, especially when compared to the others.

“I think it was important for us, we’re fans of the franchise as well. It was important for us to analyze why we love it so much, especially the first film. How can we catch that lightning in the bottle again? I think it’s a combination of several things. It’s the spectacle and the adventure of course, but then also it’s very funny. It’s great comedy. It scares you, it has horror elements. But most of all, I think it’s because it has heart. And that mix I think is the reason why this is such a special and popular franchise.”

Sandberg elaborated on this idea of taking aspects of the other film that worked.

“We analyzed what makes this a great movie. It has such a unique mix of spectacle and humor and horror and heart. We really wanted to make sure that this movie also has that, and that we’re pushing the envelope in every way we can, make it really funny, but also make it really emotional. We’ve been working hard on the script, on the storyline, to make sure the characters all have a personal journey in the film. Even Jack Sparrow, who doesn’t really have an arc, but through the back story, we do learn a little bit about how Jack became Jack Sparrow, and also he became enemies with Salazar, and why he’s coming back. So we worked a little bit on Barbossa’s story line, we wanted to do him justice. And of course this young couple that comes in with a whole family theme.”

Did all this work pay off? We’ll be sure to let you know in our full review tomorrow! However, what’ll be really interesting to see that if it connects with fans above all else. As stated above, the Pirates movies haven’t exactly been critical darlings, and despite this fact, they’ve managed to make boatloads of money at the box office. Clearly there’s something they’re doing right. Were these directors able to capture these aspects, and will fans respond to it?

We’ll have to wait and see.

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Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.