Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is a phenomenon quite unlike any other. The films are a spinoff of a ride in Disney World, and they’ve gone on to rake over $3 billion over four movies. The fifth film in the franchise is upon us at last with the subtitle bearing: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is the continuation of Jack Sparrow’s (Johnny Depp) story. Here we find him at an extremely low point of his career, robbing banks with the few crewmembers still loyal to him. Along the way, however, Jack encounters Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) son of his previous partners in crime Elisabeth Swan (Keira Knightley) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom). Henry is looking for the Trident of Poseidon, so that he may free his father from the sea curse set upon him in the third Pirates film. The film’s antagonist is the ghost captain: Salazar (Javier Bardem) who has unfinished business with Jack and also has an interest in the Trident.
At this point in the franchise, the writers are starting to run out of ideas, and you can see certain redundancies come about, as the barrel of creativity is scraped clean. Ideally this franchise would have ended in a trilogy, At World’s End would have been a fine point to end the story. Some of the unoriginality is simply seen with the choice of having the son of the previous main characters be the new hero, or with the retread of humorous aspects of other films that have burnt their spirit out by now.
Most of the Pirate films have featured complex stories of switching alliances and back-stabbings that kept the audience on the edge of their seat. But with Dead Men Tell No Tales we are given a much simpler and predictable storyline that leans more towards a generic blockbuster than the nostalgia of its franchise. The film had a couple of good ideas, however, meaning this wasn’t just a complete retreading, there’s clearly still exciting lore to discover and new characters to meet.
But the tiring lines can be seen throughout the actors in the film, while there were some electric additions from the new cast members (Thwaites, Bardem, and Kaya Scodelario), the old crew is clearly dragging their feet at this point. Depp’s Jack Sparrow is seen as much more goofy than the witty one we saw in the previous films, almost betraying a key part of him, and even Geoffrey Rush’s Barbosa is watered down to an uncharacteristic cutout.
Ultimately, the Pirates series is losing steam. Dead Men Tell No Tales is above the par of blockbusters today, but it signals a peaked course for Sparrow and his mates; you only hope that the filmmakers know when to stop squeezing the still beloved and thrilling franchise.