Bloated 'Pirates' tells a familiar tale
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
3 out of 5 Stars
Director: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg
Writers: Jeff Nathanson, Terry Rossio
Starring: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Rated: PG-13 for sequences of adventure violence, and some suggestive content
Synopsis: Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) enlists the help of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) to help him find Poseidon’s trident to break the curse that binds his father, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), to a watery grave.
Review: The synopsis and storyline on IMDb for “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” suggests that Captain Jack Sparrow is the driving force behind the story. This probably should be the case, but it isn’t. Once again we have Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow playing second fiddle in a franchise that is supposedly built around him.
“Dead Men Tell No Tales” is about Henry Turner’s attempts to save his father from the curse that binds him to the bottom of the sea. It just so happens that Henry believes that Jack Sparrow is the man he needs to help him. Not that this is supported by the plot, but it at least offers an excuse to get Depp’s name on the marquee.
If we’re going to be completely honest, “Dead Men Tell No Tales” is a narrative bridge that exists to set up the next film where Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) really return to the franchise. Well, that and to allow Javier Bardem to spit bile and chew up as much scenery as he can get his mouth on.
Like Michael Bay’s Transformer franchise, the Pirates of the Caribbean films have operated under the idea that stretching out every action sequence to the point where something entertaining becomes tedious. Bigger and more is not always better.
Nonetheless, despite the many aspects of “Dead Men Tell No Tales” that don’t work, it is still the second best film in the franchise. This is primarily due to Bardem, Geoffrey Rush (who returns as Captain Hector Barbossa) and Kaya Scodelario (who plays the intelligent and beautiful female lead Carina Smyth). Depp is amiable, Thwaites is fine and the rest of the actors give a decent effort. David Wenham is also good, but for the sake of fluidity I’d probably cut his subplot entirely.