Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Sequels are a tough business. Despite being constantly fed into the marketplace, it’s rare that they live up to the success and capture the magic of the original film on which they are based.
In the case of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, the sequels have been fun. Or at least, that had been the case (for the most part) until now. The new film “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” lacks the fun and can’t sustain the promise of the earlier films in the franchise.
The general plot in “Dead Men Tell No Tales” is of the search for the Trident of Poseidon. This legendary artifact bestows total control over the seas to its possessor. Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) is looking for this artifact to help his father, who is trapped in a watery grave. Henry enlists the assistance of the illustrious Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp).
Jack is being hunted by the vicious Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) in Salazar’s quest to eliminate all the pirates from the seas. This leads our heroes Henry, Jack and Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario) — who is under investigation for being a witch — on a high-seas adventure. Can the trio work with others to find the Trident or will they get lost at sea?
“Lost at sea” is a good phrase for describing this film. From the opening scene, we are led on a meandering journey that should elicit joy. Instead, I felt like I was watching a franchise that had left its better days behind it. The original film, and some of the subsequent sequels, showcased a whimsical Jack Sparrow character who was fun. Instead, Depp’s portrayal here felt forced and borderline painful.
Action sequences were swift and engaging, but lacked the punch needed to be special. At times, I felt some of the fights were about a more violent and shocking exhibition rather than the choreographed mayhem of the previous films.
Much of the story felt forgettable, though I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention there is some plunder in a scene after the credits conclude.
While some scenes were definitely fun to watch on the big screen, I just couldn’t shake the feeling of a well drained of all its water. If the filmmakers intend to go any further with this franchise, the element of fun needs to be restored. Until then, I’m thinking more and more, a pirate’s life may not be for me.
Paul’s Grade: C-