Back when Disney first started doing these movies, it was of a time where they thought the next big movie idea would come from adapting movies based off of their theme park attractions. So we had Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion, even The Country Bears Jamboree. Of these, only Pirates had any lasting box office power. Thanks in no small part I’m sure, to the charismatic Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow.
Five movies 16 years later, and 6 years since the last movie, Disney is back bringing Captain Jack to life one more time, (or so the marketing tells us at least) for another epic tale of swashbuckling adventure.
Dead Men Tell No Tales takes place some time after the last adventure, and at least 16 years since the events of the third movie in the franchise, as it starts off with Will (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth (Keira Knightly) ‘s son, at age 16 Henry (Brenton Thwaites-Maleficent) still searching for Captain Jack Sparrow, whom he believes has the key to breaking his father’s curse.
This isn’t really a movie for newcomers to the franchise, as the entire movie depends on plot points from earlier installments in the franchise, such as why Will Turner is a barnacle man who lives in the sea (he’s the new Davy Jones) and why is the Black Pearl shrunken to bottle size and in Jack’s pocket? (I don’t remember exactly, I only saw the last one once, and didn’t really stick with me)
So by sheer coincidence, or fate, Henry’s ship runs afoul of the villains of this peice, ghost pirate hunters led by Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem-Skyfall) who are also on the hunt for Jack for revenge purposes. As well as a mysterious young woman with a mind for Science that bedevils the men of this time who call her a witch, Carrina (Kaya Scodearia-The Maze Runner) who is also searching for her father, and for the Trident of Poseidon, for reasons of her own.
Henry wants this artifact because he believes it will cure his father, Jack (whom they run into of course) wants it for the money, and Salazar wants it for revenge. Thus begins a chase across the ocean to uncover the mystery of the trident, while being chased by a ghost ship with ghost pirate hunters that have zombie sharks at their disposal.
I had a lot of fun with this movie, Johnny Depp as always brings that charismatic nature and his Jack Sparrow is never not entertaining to watch, and the visual effects, especially in IMAX 3D really make this movie an experience, a thrill ride of a movie like you took a mini Disney vacation from your troubles for two and a half hours.
I loved Kaya Scoderia’s Carina, a strong female character who was essential to the plot and had good chemistry with Henry, but was far from just a simple love interest or damsel in distress. Also Javier Bardem plays a great villain, as always.
And another thing I loved once more about these films is the level of detail in the sets, costumes, and characters. Even on things we see for a few seconds or minutes, like Captain Barbossa’s skull and bones decorated Captain’s Quarters, or the Witch that advises him and her body tattoos, it’s a lovely film to just look at from an artistic perspective at times in addition to a fun summer blockbuster.
The movie does break down a bit if you try to make logical sense of this plot at times, so it’s not a perfect film by any stretch of the imagination, and the climax of the movie felt very rushed, once they reach the Macguffin of the movie, the whole parting of the sea visuals were cool, but we didn’t really spend too much time there and before you knew it the plot was resolved, and a character makes a sacrifice that fell kind of flat for me.
Also, like all the Pirates movies, this movie is a bit on the long side, like borderline three hours, but at the time you’re watching it it rarely drags on too much.
It’s summer time so this is the season for big fun movies, and if you go on this ride you’re in for a great ride of a movie. Be sure to stick around as like all the movies in this franchise, it has a post credits sequence, which could set up more adventures despite the marketing of this being the last ride. I guess nothing with Disney is ever over, unless it stops making money, which I don’t believe will be a problem for Jack Sparrow and crew anytime soon.
Pirates of the Caribbean:Dead Men Tell No Tales – C+