PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES:
ASIDE FROM A FEW THRILLS AND LAUGHS FROM JOHNNY DEPP, THIS FIFTH INSTALLMENT IS STUCK IN SHALLOW WATERS!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: ** out of 4
(From left to right) Geoffrey Rush, Kaya Scodelario, Johnny Depp, Brenton Thwaites, and Javier Bardem in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has officially “Jumped the Zombie Shark” with the fifth installment, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Produced once again by Jerry Bruckheimer (Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, National Treasure) and directed by Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg (Max Manus: Man of War, Kon-Tiki) with Johnny Depp (Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Alice in Wonderland) reprising his beloved role as drunken pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow, Dead Men Tell No Tales is thankfully nowhere near as long as the third installment, At World’s End or as forgettable as the last film, On Stranger Tides but sadly it’s not much of an improvement.
What happened to this franchise? You start off with a movie that probably shouldn’t have been very good to begin with, made a surprise hit with Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and gradually make its follow-ups worse, increase the run-time to near Lord of the Rings length, and add a lot of awkward moments. Don’t get me wrong there’s some fun action and some funny moments from Johnny Depp but none of the sequels were able to live up to the fun and magic of the first film, and this one’s no different.
The film follows Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites-Home and Away, Oculus, Maleficent), the son of Will Turner (Orlando Bloom-The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Black Hawk Down, The Hobbit 2 and 3) and Elizabeth Swan (Keira Knightley-Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Love Actually, The Imitation Game) on a quest to find Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) and set sail to locate a powerful artifact that could break his father’s curse and free him from the Flying Dutchman ship. Henry finds Jack and an astronomer named Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario-Skins, Clash of the Titans, Maze Runner 1 and 2) accused for witchcraft and they set off to the Devil’s Triangle to locate the Trident of Poseidon which grants its possessor total control over the seas.
Unfortunately, an old enemy from Jack’s past resurfaces, a powerful undead pirate hunter of the Spanish Navy known as Captain Armando Salazar (Javier Bardem-Before Night Falls, No Country for Old Men, Skyfall) who was trapped in the Devi’s Triangle seeks the Trident to wipe out all piracy and exact revenge on Jack. So, it’s a race at sea as Jack, Henry, and Carina are on the hunt by Salazar’s crew as well as Captain Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush- Shine, Shakespeare in Love, The King’s Speech) on their journey to find the Trident and lift Will’s curse so he can return to his family.
The film also stars Kevin McNally (Johnny English, Valkyrie, Legend) as Jack’s First Mate, Joshamee Gibbs, Golshifteh Farahani (Body of Lies, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Rosewater) as sea-witch, Shansa, Stephen Graham (Snatch, Gangs of New York, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) as former Blackbeard crew member, Scrum, David Wenham (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, 300, Lion) as British Royal Navy officer, Scarfield, Martin Klebba (Van Helsing, Oz: The Great and Powerful, Jurassic World) as Marty, Angus Barnett (Finding Neverland, Hugo, Jack the Giant Slayer) as Mullroy, Adam Brown (ChuckleVision, The Hobbit trilogy, The Limehouse Golem) as Jib, Danny Kirrane (Walking on Sunshine, Critical, Doctor Throne) as Bollard, and former Beatle, Paul McCartney as Uncle Jack.
Overall, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is an example of a Pirates sequel that came out too little too late and fails to do much new with the series. Aside from a few implausible stunts, thrills, and laughs it’s pretty much a rehash of what we already saw in the earlier films, undead pirates, Jack swinging around on ropes, being attacked by Geoffrey Rush, and pirate crew members acting like idiots (Seen it four times prior!).
The plot goes from generic Pirates of the Caribbean storytelling to ridiculous and just plain silly. Apparently, there’s witchcraft, sparkling rock piles that replicate the stars in the sky, and Poseidon’s Trident in Pirates of the Caribbean now, when did this become Percy Jackson?
But with all that said it’s not nearly as drawn out as the third film and has its moments of fun action and once in a while Jack Sparrow will get a funny line. Javier Bardem shines as the villain, Salazar, he’s creepy but he balances it out with some humor and it looks like Bardem is having a lot of fun with his performance, not as engaging as his Skyfall performance but worth the price of admission.
Unfortunately, the action, Johnny Depp, and Javier Bardem aren’t enough to save Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales from its generic and ludicrous plot, lackluster character development, and just rehashing what people liked about the earlier films with very little variety. It’s not terrible but it isn’t very good either, if you have kids who love the franchise or if you yourself is a fan of all the movies you might enjoy it, everyone else however should abandon ship.