MOVIE: PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES
STARRING: JOHNNY DEPP; JAVIER BARDEM; BRENTON THWAITES; GEOFFREY RUSH
DIRECTED BY: JOACHIM RONNING; ESPEN SANDBERG
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 2 STARS (Out of 4)
Yo ho, Yo ho, a pirates life is boring to me. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, is the 5th film in Disney's theme ride, turned movie franchise, and at this point the swashbuckling adventures have blended into one big forgettable collection of over-acting and CGI. We're a week removed from Ridley Scott's Alien: Covenant, which was critically divided, but at least has something to say about God, creation, humans, and robots. It's because of this depth, that I will always love the entire Alien series (not including those disastrous AVP movies). That is a franchise with narratives rising above repetitiveness, whereas these Pirates films, have become mindless cash grabs. For this installment, Johnny Depp is back as Jack Sparrow, with a pair of fresh faced characters, a new bad guy, a chase to a magical MacGuffin, and a whole lot of cannon fighting. Directed by Joachim Ronning & Espen Sandberg (Kon-Tiki), Dead Men Tell No Tales is not the worst of the series, but at this point it's hard to remember why we liked these movies in the first place.
The adventure follows young newcomer Henry Turner (played by Brenton Thwaites), a believer in the myths of the sea, works below deck on a British naval ship, while seeking a magical trident to set his father Will (Orlando Bloom returns) free of his curse. To his luck, the ship he's on sails into a foggy land known as the devils triangle, waking the ghost ship of a black-goo drooling, painfully wheezing Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem, whose performance is as weird as it gets, giving us a lot to poke fun at) and his dead-zombie crew. After wrecking the ship, they keep young Turner alive, using him as bait to help Salazar find the one man he wants dead- Jack Sparrow (Or as he says it “Jax Parrow”).
Of course, the mission can't just be one man's adventure, the entire Pirates collection of characters join the search for the Trident, for what reasons? It's not very clear, but it includes the return of Captain Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), the always pursuing British Army led by Scarfield (David Wenham), a young astronomer named Carina (Kaya Scodelario), and the cavalcade of dimwitted pirates. They all merge together, lumbering through various set pieces, some memorable – an opening bank robbery chase involving a carriage pulling a house is the films high point, and many forgettable – the climactic ending is a mess.
When The Curse of the Black Pearl came ashore to audiences in 2003, it was a fresh idea for a big blockbuster, where Depp's Jack Sparrow was a fantastic revelation of a character (it earned Depp his first Oscar Nomination). He was neither hero nor enemy, but a wild card of energy. Now, we've come so far and lost all the shine off the treasure of that first film. And this time, off-screen issues aside, Depp brings very little energy to the role, settling for mediocre laughs and lazy pratfalls. The films brightest spot is choosing directors Ronning & Sandberg, who showed a knack for films on the water in their Oscar nominated film- Kon-Tiki. But, much of Dead Men Tell No Tales problems are in the lazy script, monotonous tone, CGI that's often repeats itself, and never earns any investment in real thrills.
I wouldn’t say I hated Dead Men Tell No Tales, it brings more high seas adventure, if you like that sort of thing, but there's nothing different from any of these movies anymore. Thwaites and Scodelario are fresh faces that deserve to be in a major franchise, just not one on its last leg. This is a Pirates tale that never needed to be told in the first place; it's safe to say, this ship has been sunk.
Written by: Leo Brady