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

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With an opening that will probably lead into many reviews for this movie, I will say I am a definite fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. The original movies directed by Gore Verbinski are among my favourite adventure movies and made you forget that they were all based on a ride at Disneyland.

The original movies directed by Gore Verbinski are among my favourite adventure movies and made you forget that they were all based on a ride at Disneyland. On only his 5th big screen movie Verbinski headed the initial pirates’ movie into one of the biggest trilogies we had known for a while. Even the 4th movie, while lacking the shine of the first 3, had its moments trying to follow the first film with the original screenwriters and cast returning with a new director.

That being said, Pirates 5 will remind you that it is based on a ride at Disneyland.

The short of the plot is that Wil Turner’s son (from Pirates 3 post credits) is grown up and recruits Jack Sparrow to find a mystical item to break the curse to free his father from the Flying Dutchman. Lost yet? In short, the movie relies heavily on you having seen the previous movies as it seems mostly to tie up loose ends for happily ever afters.

Some of the same formulae is there with Wil Turner Jnr (who is supposed to be about 16-17 but seems to be 25… the math is definitely a bit wonky considering the time progression between each previous instalment) and a love interest going on an adventure with Jack Sparrow and crew. There is a supernatural antagonist after Jack. And the previous villain turned ally with Barbossa.

We should take a break to say this isn’t a bad movie, but given the bar set, this isn’t a great one either. In some places, it reminds you of when you have a blockbuster film that gets a sequel that goes straight to DVD. And while the previous film had it’s issues and detractors this doesn’t really sit at the same level. Looking at the credits of the film while the original script writers from 1-4 are credited they are only for the story and not the screenplay.

Visually this has many great moments with the special effects, even CGI-Young Johnny Depp being flawless (more Robert Downey Jnr. in Civil War than Princess Leia in Rogue One) and it is always great to have more Captain Jack Sparrow. But it does definitely feel like in execution Sparrow is the main reason to have this movie.

This is not the end of the Pirate franchise, even with tying up some loose ends we know that from Depp being signed on for another return as Sparrow in addition to what happens in the post-credits sequence of this movie (which also assumes you have seen all the movies prior). We can only hope that there is a bit of a wake-up call for Disney to finish on something the calibre of the first trilogy before we have to say goodbye to Captain Jack forever.

If you are looking for stupid fun and popcorn, definitely go and see it. But keep your pre-movie hype in check.