Movie ReviewsPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – A Lazy Cash In

Keith NoakesMay 26, 2017

I had given up on the Pirates of the Caribbean series after the first two films so suffice it to say that I haven’t seen the last two but it looks like they haven’t given up on the series since they have plopped out another one.

Synopsis: Jack Sparrow returns for another adventure on the high seas in the fifth installment of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Hunted by the malevolent Captain Salazar, Sparrow sets out on a quest to find a mystical artifact known as the Trident of Poseidon, and gains two new allies along the way: a gorgeous astronomer and a young sailor with a connection to Sparrow’s past. (Rovi)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, and Geoffrey Rush

Writer: Jeff Nathanson

DirectorsJoachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg

Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 129mins


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Going into the franchise’s fifth film with Dead Men Tell No Tales, the big draw continues to be the lovable Jack Sparrow, plays as always by Depp. As mentioned, this may be due to a two film absence but for fans of Sparrow, this edition did him a great disservice. His schtick worked fairly well for the first two films, offering Depp an Oscar nomination for his performance in the original, however by now, it’s starting to get old. In this film, there wasn’t anything particular new for him to do although fans will probably not mind.

The spotlight didn’t seem to be on him as much as other films with his story taking a backseat to everything else going on and there was a lot going on here, often to the detriment of the rest of the film. This time around, he was thrust onto a journey to find the mystical Trident of Poseidon with a pair of young people named Henry (Brenton Thwaites) and Carina (Kaya Scodelario). The focus of the film appeared to be more on them as the artifact had some sort of personal significance to each of them, meanwhile Sparrow was being pursued by the evil Captain Salazar (Bardem) who wanted his revenge against Sparrow.

This brings up one of the biggest problems with the film. It is the shortest film in the series so far surprisingly or not, clocking in at just over 2 hours but the film was way too slow and making it feel longer as all the subplots didn’t quite fit together and they also bogged down the film to the point that not much ever happened until later into the film and by that point it was underwhelming. This made everything up to that point more of a chore to watch than anything else. This was further emphasized by the fact that these new characters weren’t remotely interesting whatsoever.

The story was very Pirates of the Caribbean but there was absolutely nothing new or original here. It’s not that it was necessarily good or bad, it felt very lazy in every regard which is a common theme throughout this film and for the series at this point. Fans of the series should continue to eat this up, however, as it has everything they would want from a Pirates of the Caribbean film, Jack Sparrow (albeit less of him here), plenty of ships and ship battles, grand action sequences, good visual effects, etc. but it is all getting old after now five films.

Despite the script not being the greatest, the acting was okay all around. Depp was more restrained this time around yet he was still compelling to watch even though he was just going through the motions. This performance was nowhere near as memorable as his earlier performances nor as funny. Bardem was great at being menacing as Salazar but this mostly came from the visual effects that brought him to life than anything else. Rush was still fun in another solid performance as Barbosa. Thwaites and Scodelario were okay although their chemistry could have been better.

Overall, this was a lazy and uninspired cash in of a film, coasting on everything that has made the Pirates of the Caribbean series popular while not offering anything new or original whatsoever. Fans of the series probably won’t mind but frankly, it’s getting old and unfortunately, doesn’t look to end anytime soon.

Score: 4.5/10

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