Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – Review

Pirates of the Caribbean is a rollercoaster ride movie based on a literal rollercoaster (sort of), but the problem is that no one likes two hours worth of said rollercoaster. Or maybe you do, who am I to judge.

Dead Men Tell No Tales is the fifth entry into the series and attempts nothing new.

Brenton Thwaites plays Henry, the young progeny of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan. He’s the main driver of the film as he stumbles his way toward finding the Trident of Poseidon, a doodad that has the ability to break all curses of the sea, including that of Will Turner who has been doomed to captain the Flying Dutchman since At World’s End.

In one nonsensical scene Henry goes looking for Jack Sparrow in prison, and is immediately upset upon finding Sparrow locked up “is this the great hero.” he exclaims. I can only presume he gets equally upset when he goes looking for his keys exactly where he thinks they might be, only to find that they’re exactly where he thought they’d be. His character has a couple more little bouts at this when interacting with the love interest Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario). I guess they were hoping if the two would keep cutting into each other’s sentences a lot it would come across as cute or something.

This is the first time I’ve felt any reticence toward Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow. Until now he’s been the entire reason people have gone to see the film. That was admittedly still the case in this one but it seems as though directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg dropped the ball and gave Sparrow absolutely nothing to do. He had zero agency in the proceedings and no clever double bluffs or plans. He’s akin to a mascot who gets flung around the screen for two hours and nothing else.

Javier Bardem does a great job as Captain Salazar, the obligatory semi CG villain followed by his corpse crew. I was consistently impress with the CG teams work on his hair, which always looked as though it was underwater.

The Pirates of the Caribbean series has always shone in the choreography and clever physical comedy. Often the action comes across more like a cartoon than anything else, and that remains the case here. In terms of a spectacle Dead Men Tell No Tales pulls out all the stops and green screens, going ham at any opportunity.

There are a couple scenes, including a wedding in a whale bone chapel, that seem thrown in just to keep the hijinks turned up to 11. While they’re fun at the time you can’t help but feel confused as to what the point of it all was. In fact that’s how I felt about the entire film. Enjoyable while I was in front of it, but it still felt like a movie I’d seen a million times before.

The theme song is still awesome though.

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