Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Starring Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, David Wenham, Orlando Bloom
Disney has taken a desperate approach to revive one of its longest running and high grossing franchises. “Pirates of the Caribbean” returns with a fifth installment (they swore the fourth was the final), titled “Dead Men Tell No Tales”. New directors, new musical composer, but the same old story. It’s hard to imagine back in 2003, that Johnny Depp, on the uptick of his career, garnered an Oscar nomination for his role as Jack Sparrow. The actor’s career has walked the plank since then; all films bearing his name commercial failures, his media persona trashed thanks to a nasty divorce, and the real reason for returning to the sea’s, his financial difficulty. This $350 million-dollar adventure throws special effects in every corner, aiming for a bigger scale than the previous four. Original cast members Orlando Bloom and Keria Knightly even appear in cameos, precariously trying to restore the family franchise.
The Black Pearl is still shrunken inside a bottle that Capt. Jack Sparrow (Depp) carries around with him. His ratty crew have abandon him, his make shift ship barely floats. The drunken pirate with bad luck finds himself in St. Martin, teaming up with an accused witch, Carina Smyth (Scodelario) and Will Turner’s son Henry (Thwaites). Together they seek the mysterious Trident of Poseidon on a map that no man can read. “Good thing I am a woman”, Carina says, following the stars to the uncharted location. Back from the dead, Captain Salazar (Bardem), known as the Butcher of the Sea, an affliction from Sparrow’s past, will stop at nothing (except for land, because land will kill him) to kill the famous wanted pirate. Barbossa (Rush) teams up with Salazar in search of Sparrow to save his own skin, but as usual has ulterior motives.
There’s simply nowhere else for this series to go, they have done everything imaginable on the seas, tried land, and now they journey to the depths of the seas, as waters part for a not so epic battle.
Depp’s performance is no longer funny or cute, maybe it never was. He steps back into all the garb and makeup to fulfill a role, adding nothing interesting or special to the film. The bulk of the plot relies on new characters Henry and Carina who are nothing more than reinventions of Will and Elizabeth from the first film. Bardem’s evil Salazar is primarily a CGI character with a bad case of lung cancer voice. The effects heavy performance drowns out much of the Oscar winners usual signature intrigue. Rush continues to be this franchise most enjoyable addition, dressed to the nines in impressive wigs, frilly fabric’s and grotesque nails. His Barbossa, the series original villain, has seen the most predominant character arc of anyone in the ‘Pirates’ world.
Parents should have fun explaining what scabies are to the young children, as the sexually transmitted disease is mentioned again and again in the first half of the film. More sexual references than normal are included in the fifth film, most sailing over younger mind’s head and intended to give adults a chuckle. There’s simply nowhere else for this series to go, they have done everything imaginable on the seas, tried land, and now they journey to the depths of the seas, as waters part for a not so epic battle. At an exhausting 2 hours and 9 minutes, “Dead Men Tell No Tales” might be the franchises shortest running film, but it’s still a long ride that overstays it’s welcome.
The Disney franchise scrapes the bottom of the sea for ideas, splashing the audience with familiar plot devices.