Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales


2003’s Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was a fun fantasy film filled with great special effects, an enjoyable cast, and it introduced audiences to the eccentric Captain Jack Sparrow. 14 years and 3 movies later, the franchise is on autopilot – there’s always some mystical artifact to chase, a love story, Jack Sparrow swinging from numerous objects, people being jailed or tied to a ship’s mast, some version of ghost pirates, plus an ending that involves a double cross or two.

Most of the sequels are just bad copies of the original. It’s like copying a picture over and over. The picture looks the same but it’s not as crisp or clear as the original. Most importantly, you can tell it’s a copy.

The latest installment, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is no different.

Henry (Brenton Thwaites), the son of Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), looks to free his father form his curse. Henry is searching for the mythical Trident of Poseidon, the only object known to rid any curse. Along his journey, Henry comes in contact with Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and Carina (Kaya Scodelario).

Meanwhile, one of Jack’s old enemies, Armando Salazar (Javier Bardem), and his crew of undead pirates are after Jack Sparrow to get some long awaited revenge.

To no surprise, this loaded set up turns into every Pirates movie ever made.

Dead Men Tell No Tales  is just like the other Pirates movies before it, except it’s not as much fun. The first half, albeit predictable and formulaic, is kind of fun. It reminds audiences why the Pirates universe was so delightful and fun when it first appeared on screen in 2003. The second half of the film showcases every reason why these movies should’ve died off long ago. It’s boring and boring for no reason. It’s bursting with unnecessary characters and physical comedy gags that aren’t as funny as they were 14 years ago. There’s a moment or two when the story tries to bridge the franchises with a few forced relationships and that falls flat.

The biggest tragedy is Salazar. He could’ve been a very cool villain in this world. Instead, he’s confined to “villain of the week” status while Jack Sparrow swings around the screen like chimpanzee on Adderall.

This is one of the least confusing plots this franchise has produced. It should save the film, but the plot spends a lot of time explaining what’s happening instead of being the fun action comedy that made audiences fall in love. The Pirates movies are a lot of things, boring was never a word that should be attached to these films. This film is boring. And not just boring, it’s boring during the “climactic moments”. The ending is uninteresting as watching Jack Sparrow drunkenly fall for the 1,000th time.

As fun as Jack Sparrow has been over the years, there aren’t enough fun moments with him to save this movie. He was once a beloved character and is now  a drunk mascot for a franchise that’s gone 4 movies too long.

Dead Men Tell No Tales is not the worst of Pirates movie, but a reminder that the franchise has very little life left in it.

Grade: D