Directors – Joachim Ronning, Espen Sandberg
One of my personal favorite movies as a kid is back with the latest installment in its saga Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. I think I love these films so much because I was able to grow up with them and takes me back to my childhood. Prior to 2007ish with the MCU, Transformers and Fast and Furious series taking off, it was the pg genres such as Pirates of the Caribbean and Harry Potter that dominated the box office as far as franchises go. Pirates last effort On Stranger Tides released in 2011 was not up to standards to me as I believe the overall direction and storytelling really took a hit. I will always be a fan at my core and after six years I am hoping this latest effort can right the ship.
Will and Elizabeth’s son Henry learns of a mythical trident that could possibly free his father from the curse of the Flying Dutchman. Henry voyages to find his father and explains to him the news however Will does not believe him and tells him never to visit him again. Many years later Henry is working on a british navy shipped when it is hijacked by Captain Salazar and his living dead crew. Everyone in the attack is killed except Henry as he was found beside a wanted Jack Sparrow poster and is told he will be spared if he warns Sparrow that he is coming to kill him too. Meanwhile a young lady named Carina Smyth who is wanted for practicing witchcraft finds Henry and tells him she knows how to find the trident before she is eventually captured. At the execution Carina is lined up with Jack Sparrow who is freed by Henry and Sparrow’s crew. Now Henry, Carina and Jack team up and trek to find the trident while also trying to avoid the wrath of Captain Salazar.
“You are holding everything but my word”
“You expect us to pay you to save you”
“The last time you raise a sword, be the last to die”
“You don’t have to understand her you just have to believe her”
“I’m a captain I know which stars to follow home”
“Surrender to me now and I’ll let you live”
- Introduction of Jack Sparrow during the heist scene, Jack jumping over the bridge in slow motion
- Shot as Jack is being saved from the chopping block
- Effects of young Jack as he first received his special compass and condemned Captain Salazar to his fate.
- Shark attack scene
- Sword fight scene on the Black Pearl
- Shot of the Island through Captain Salazar
- Parting of the sea
Johnny Depp reprises his role of the iconic Captain Jack Sparrow and was excellent here as always I can always appreciate a full on immersion into a portrayed character. Depp must have found the fountain of youth on one of these Pirate outings. He just doesn’t age as even the flash back to young Jack did not need editing or a stand in. Had he have shaved and visited a dermatologist that day they could have achieved the same effect.
Geoffrey Rush was great here too as this film showed a side to his character with some humility that was never seen before. It amazes me how such an accomplished actor still showcases so much passion for his craft.
The newbies to the film franchise Brenton Thwaites and Kayla Scodelario were good here too and benefited from having such a veteran cast. Javier Bardem as the movies villain Captain Salazar was cold and calculating with the cadence of his voice. His costume and make up design were off the charts as well.
Henry finally finds the trident and destroys it breaking the curse of Captain Salazar and his ghostly gang returning them to human form. Hellbent on killing Jack, Captain Salazar has one final attempt to harm him and his crew. The team try to escape his rampage fighting up an anchor back to the Black Pearl. It is revealed to Corina that Captain Barbosa was her long-lost father as he sacrifices his life to preserve hers.
Apparently Pirates live as long as people from the Bible as now Captain Jack and Barbosa have lived through adventures with three generations of Turners. I can’t speak enough of how much this film parallels the first one. From the first scene of Henry finding his father to the climax with the battle against the ghost crew. The effects were cool I perosnally just would have loved to see fewer and more sword fights. This movie had its usual pirates dialogue as well as took shots at the french. There were some undisney-like mom and wife references however. As a fan of the series I enjoyed everytime the theme music played or when Jack first unveiled his unique compass. Even Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly make an appearance to reprise their roles and in only ten years it looks as though even they have aged more than Johnny Depp has. I still feel that elements of this film were a couple of sequels away. In five years this seemed like an attempt to stay relevent and pad their franchise box office sales as opposed to putting together a piece that would further advance the story. Another Pirates is coming and looks like they are going back to old villain Davey Jones from the post credits scene. I know Geoffrey Rush character died and he said that this would be his last Pirates film but maybe he is just trolling us all. He and Johnny Depps characters are like project roaches they never really die for some reason. If you are a fan of Pirates you will enjoy this for nostalgic purposes only but this film does not attempt to discover anything new.