After a good long wait, it’s time for more Pirates of the Caribbean. In six years you’d have to imagine Disney is more than equipped to at least outdo the mediocre fourth installment of the franchise; On Stranger Tides.
So the big question is, did they?
The answer is yes… but the movie has it’s fair share of shortcomings, and the majority of them arise from a little thing called redundancy. I enjoyed the movie, and after a six-year hiatus it was generally a good feeling to hear the familiar Jack Sparrow Theme (composed this time by Geoff Zanelli), and see a lot of the Pirates franchise gimmicks onscreen, but at the same time it feels all too familiar and played out.
This time around, Jack is once again down on his luck with no money, a shell of a crew and most importantly no ship to sail his beloved seas. Luckily, an old enemy comes back to haunt him in the form of Spaniard Captain Salazar, whom Jack ran afoul of during his youthful years of pirating. Of course, that will start to bring Jack on a collision course with not only Salazar, but with plenty of familiar faces from the first three movies.
A mixture of new strength and the weakness of previously said redundancy, Captain Salazar is reminiscent of the supernatural horror that was Davy Jones from Pirates 2 and 3, complete with a twisted and bloodthirsty crew. Javier Bardem is able to turn a decent performance as the vengeful villain of the film, and that, combined with the slick special effects that make up his aesthetics are a big win for the film.
The newcomers to the franchise, Kaya Scodelario, and Brenton Thwaites, playing Carina and Henry respectively, were also a nice addition to the franchise. They don’t feel as tacked on as some of the characters in On Stranger Tides, and are able to tie together the first three films in a big way in Dead Men Tell No Tales. Kaya Scodelario, in particular, shines and gives some much-needed charisma to the protagonist side of things. However, the biggest standout in this movie was Geoffrey Rush and his character of Barbossa. For a character that has been around since Curse of the Black Pearl, it seemed like we’ve seen everything from Barbossa that were going to see. He’s been dead, then resurrected, captain of the Black Pearl, privateer of the King of England and now in command of his own pirate fleet since the events of On Stranger Tides. It would appear that Barbossa has everything a pirate would want until things are threatened by Captain Salazar returning. Barbossa’s story arc was definitely the best part of Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Overall it appears that Jack Sparrow’s character is there for everyone else to act around and for a Pirate‘s movie to be successful the writers just need to incorporate characters who can drive the story with Sparrow being the one constant of the franchise. And I’m not Sparrow-hating, but after a fifth installment, Jack is still hitting all of the same beats. It would be nice to see him have some development as we saw a glimpse of in Dead Man’s Chest so many years ago. If you’re not the biggest of POC fans out there, give the movie a try because you will definitely be entertained for your ticket price. If you’re a hardcore Pirates fan, or one with one with fading faith in the franchise then see the film because Disney is righting the ship (too tempting not to pun) in regards to this franchise. Here’s hoping they can continue to do so with the inevitable sixth chapter.
And for those of you wondering; Stay until after the credits!
GEEK Grade: B-