Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) has spent his life studying the myths and curses of the sea. He is looking for a way to break the curse on his father, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom). Henry has set his sights on finding the Trident of Poseidon. The trident gives control over the seas to whoever holds it. It is his best hope of freeing his father. Henry heads out to find the one person he thinks can help him find the trident, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp).

On his journey, Henry meets Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario). Carina is accused of being a witch because of her vast scientific knowledge. Her father, who she never met, had given her a journal with her before he left her at an orphanage. The journal provided clues to find the trident. She has spent her whole life trying to unravel the mystery.

After Henry and Carina find Captain Jack Sparrow, they set out on their quest. As they make they journey, they find they are being followed by the British navy, Captain Barbosa (Geoffrey Rush), and Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) – a ghost pirate seeking revenge on Sparrow with his crew of dead pirates. All are looking to kill Sparrow and claim the Trident of Poseidon for themselves.

We are now five movies deep into Pirates of the Caribbean and they show no signs of stopping. In fact, it seems they’re just getting started. Unfortunately, it feels like the same thing we’ve seen too many times before.

Introducing Brenton Thwaites as Will Hunter’s son and Kaya Scodelario as what is essentially a younger Keira Knightley attempts to bring some fresh blood to the franchise. Thwaites’ performance is very similar to Orlando Bloom’s acting as his father. It works well enough for the film. Scodelario tries to bring a strong, educated female into the fold, giving the film something for women to grab onto. However, her character becomes little more than the butt of phonetic jokes about astronomy and horology. Johnny Depp takes yet another turn as the rum-soaked Captain Jack Sparrow. This time, he is more drunk and incoherent than ever. While he was funny the first time, his character is wearing thin, falling into the sequel trap of trying to make each subsequent films more over the top than the previous.

The story is too familiar. Jack Sparrow is on some sort of quest and is chased by a group of people he has pissed off at some point. As he bumbles along, he manages to avoid death and all sorts of mishaps, usually thanks to his cohorts. The effects are well done, but as with everything else in the film, it’s not anything we haven’t seen before. Bodies of undead pirates with body parts missing, ghost ships – things that are in every other Pirates film. In trying to top each film, the effects team tries to come up with new decimated, undead threats. This time, that new addition is sharks. If you’ve seen the trailers, you have seen the entire scene.

With storylines being undone and adding new, younger stars, it feels as if Disney is trying to reboot the Pirates franchise midstream. the end credits scene adds to this thought. This is similar to what X-Men did with Days of Future Past. X-Men hasn’t been really successful in its attempt, and I don’t feel Pirates will either. Rehashing the same story and dragging Jack Sparrow along will sink any attempt to keep the series going. This isn’t a film I would sit through a second time, but if you are going to see the movie, you might as well splurge and see it in IMAX 3D to really appreciate the effects.

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