Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales review
“Yo ho, yo ho, a pirates life for me!”. These lyrics came from the popular Disney attraction, Pirates of the Caribbean and as of the past couple of years, the popular movies that came from them. What surprised most people was that pirate movies could not only be big bucks, but could also add elements like undead skeletons, cursed treasure and even rock star-like characters that could end up with Academy Award nominations (yep, Johnny Depp got that honor for a movie based off of a Disney ride). While I still consider the first movie an action masterpiece, the films that followed had never caught the same accidental perfection.
After the mega hit that The Lord of the Rings series was, Disney tried to replicate that with the Pirates of the Caribbean. The problem with that is that unlike Lord of the Rings which had a ton of characters to follow, Pirates only had a few I could name like Jack Sparrow, Barbossa, and Will Turner. Still, each movie has managed to generate success and it seems that people cannot get enough of Jack Sparrow and his pirate adventures. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales continues the hijinks that our pirates get into.
Sometime after the events of On Stranger Tides, Henry Turner (played by Brenton Thwaites) is looking to lift his father, Will Turner’s curse aboard the Flying Dutchman. He has spent years looking for clues that will lead him to Poseidon’s trident, which is said to not only control the sea, but also has the ability to end all curses. He manages to find Jack Sparrow (played by Johnny Depp) for help, but is disappointed by how much of a drunken buffoon he is. Meanwhile, a young woman Carina (played by Kaya Scodelario) is also looking for the trident to prove that women can have an academic career in astronomy. She and Henry bump into each other and agree to join Jack Sparrow to try and find it.
But it looks like that Jack Sparrow has a couple of people following him. Captain Barbossa (played by Geoffrey Rush) has become a wealthy pirate since the previous movies and later becomes involved when he encounters the Bermuda Triangle and the ship full of ghost pirates as commanded by the undead Armando Salazar (played by Javier Bardem). Both end up following Jack Sparrow while our heroes try to find the trident.
While the new directors gave a promise of hope that new life can be put into the series, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is more of the same that has been done before. True, the story is different, but it’s still about pirates going to break a curse (which was already done in Curse of the Black Pearl). It feels redundant on top of the story’s major problem; we’re not sure whose story it is. It seems to be between Henry Turner, who wants the treasure to help his dad, and Carina, who wants to prove her scientific research (even though she says she doesn’t believe in the supernatural).
I can’t say much about the acting. Johnny Depp at this point can play Jack Sparrow in his sleep, and seems to be doing so as half of his performance seems drunk. He’s still the Jack Sparrow people love, but something here feels missing. I wouldn’t be surprised if it had to do with the fact that Depp was going through his divorce or if wasn’t as invested in the story as before. Javier Bardem does has his moments, but his CGI makeup felt overshadowing (which wasn’t even the well rendered). While the majority of the cast was bland, I did like Kaya Scodelario who does bring a lot of likability to her character.
I’ll give this two and a half Jack Sparrows out of five. Again, I got the feeling that this adventure had a “been there, done that” vibe that made the whole thing feel redundant. If your simply looking to get lost in a pirate adventure with Johnny Depp, you’ll get it, but I’d still recommend Curse of the Black Pearl first. I hope that Depp can get onto another franchise, because this pirates series, as shown by this movie, is without a paddle.