When Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Back Pearl sailed onto the scene in 2003, the film based on a Disney ride attraction surprisingly became a world-wide phenomena. The pirate tale from The Mouse became a huge box office hit and earned Johnny Depp a Best Actor nomination for his role as the lovable rum drunk pirate Jack Sparrow. Things were looking bright for this upstart franchise, but sadly each following entry was worse than the last even though the series was making a treasure chest of cash in theaters. After a six-year year hiatus, Jack is back in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, but the beats are still the same in a franchise unwilling to evolve.
After the previous two Pirates installments were sloppy messes, Dead Men Tell No Tales attempts to get back to basics by basically recreating many of the elements of the first film with just different players involved. Brenton Thwaites takes over the Orlando Bloom role as Henry Turner who is looking to free his father Will Turner from the curse of the Flying Dutchman. Henry seeks out Sparrow in hopes of finding a magical trident that will free him from an eternity beneath the waves. Of course others want the trident as well including the always entertaining Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbosa and welcome addition Javier Bardem as a violent Spanish Ghost Captain named Salazar looking to take out Jack and any other pirates on the water for past transgressions. If this sounds familiar to you, it’s because it’s basically the first film with younger actors stepping into the Knightley and Bloom roles with Bardem as the creepy spirit villain. Even the secret scene at the end of the movie hints to more of the same heading forward for our crew of pirates.
Directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg do their best to distract the audience from realizing Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is just a rehashing of The Curse of the Black Pearl with stunning visuals throughout the film’s bloated 129 minute running time. There’s are a great heist scene involving Sparrow being Sparrow that is a lot of fun with some good old fashion chaos and destruction that would make a pirate’s mother proud. Also the look of Salazar is outstanding with the burnt captain eerily walking the deck looking to shove his sword into any living pirate flesh he has captured. Even some ghost sharks get involved in the mix, making for a jump worthy sequence. It’s a just a shame the creators of Dead Men Tell No Tales decided not to put as much effort into telling an epic new story as they did generating the amazing scenery on-screen.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and the rest franchise have been a mixed bag of results since the first sequel Dead Man’s Chest mainly because of one factor. The character we loved so much from the original Jack Sparrow hasn’t changed at all since the first film. Depp could play this role in his sleep and still make you crack a smile, but we have seen zero character growth from Sparrow. He’s just the same old double-crossing drunk from the first film and that tends to get old after five installments. When it comes to Jack Sparrow, we know exactly what we are getting from Depp which leaves the audience with very few surprises in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Overall, I give Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales 2.25 out of 4 stars.
Read all T.M.’s reviews here–>Entertainment Now with T.M. Powell