Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Review

Oh hell yeah. The gang’s getting back together. It’s been a long time since we’ve gotten everyone in the same place at the same time, but it’s finally happening. Johnny’s gonna be there. Orlando’s gonna be there. Kiera’s gonna be there. They’re all gonna be there. Ain’t no way that Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Dead Man’s Chest at the Worlds End on Stranger Tides Tell No Tales isn’t totally lit.

Pardon my excitement. It’s just so exciting to have the prospect of seeing old friends again. Five movies into the franchise, it has been increasingly difficult to meet new characters with worthwhile stories. With each new movie, the characters become more bland and the stories more convoluted.

  • The original introduced us to the dynamic characters Will Turner, Elizabeth Swann, Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbossa. We were whisked away to a streamlined adventure beyond expectation. Those guys are my buds.
  • The second movie brought us the tentacle bearded Davy Jones. We were then beat over the head with endless pirate curses and other mumbo jumbo. But Davy Jones tho!
  • The third movie added, I want to say, the guitarist from The Rolling Stones. We were then berated with white noise for five hours. Not cool bro.
  • The fourth movie… uh…

But in a surprising twist, the fifth movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Tides of Men introduces three new intriguing characters: Armando Salazar, Carina Smyth and Henry Turner. Amazingly, each character brings with them a distinct backstory that offers great potential for a fantastic story.

In a blatant attempt to recreate the magic of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann, Henry Turner and Carina Smyth join forces to form the heart of the movie. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Chest End No Pearls is, at its root, a story about fathers. Carina and Henry are both struggling with respective father trouble. Carina wants to finish her unknown father’s treasure quest. Henry is desperate to break a curse that his father (Will Turner) has been affected by since, I think, the third movie. I honestly can’t remember.

The best image of Carina I could get from the trailer was of her being sexualized. Nice job Disney.

And speaking of curses, our main antagonist is Armando Salazar, a man who’s father was killed by pirates. Salazar then made it his life’s mission to purge the world of pirates. Considering the unspeakable atrocities committed by pirates, he’s not such a bad guy. But sadly Salazar was bested by a cartoon faced Jack Sparrow and is forever cursed to look super dope and have crazy strong paranormal powers.

Salazar, Carina and Henry all face emotionally complex issues that are relatable to audiences world-wide. By the conclusion of Pirates of the Caribbean: Tides Curse Man’s Tales, each character has found a satisfying conclusion pertaining to their specific internal conflict. Audiences will be utterly captivated after experiencing each character’s emotional roller coaster.

I’m just kidding. The character development in this movie is completely half asses. But I pitched it pretty good right? It’s no wonder the movie got made. On paper there’s ton of potential. But that’s all this Pirates movie is: potential.

Besides, it’s pretty unfair of me to expect Salazar, Carina and Henry to have complete character arcs when together they each account for maybe 20% of the story. The remaining 80% of Pirates of the Caribbean: Black Pearls Black Chest Black World Black Tides Black Tales is forked over to Jack Sparrow who then immediately sinks the film to Davy Jones’ Locker.

Jack Sparrow is just the fucking worst in this movie.

I understand the predicament. Jack Sparrow was the break out star of the original Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Audiences loved him. We hadn’t seen anyone quite like Jack Sparrow. He was witty, wacky and adventurous. That was fourteen years ago. In the following decade and a half, Jack Sparrow hasn’t grown or evolved. Instead, his shtick has regressed exponentially.

At this point, Johnny Depp is doing an impression of a caricature of a Saturday Night Live skit. Maybe Depp has lost interest in playing the character but really enjoys raking in money. I get it. I like money too. But whatever the reason for Depp’s pathetic rendition of Jack Sparrow, it’s got to stop. Or at minimum, the directors need to start pulling back Sparrow’s role in the films.

Jack Sparrow should be to a Pirates movie as Kramer is to an episode of Seinfeld. Larry David never gave Kramer his own full-length episode. Kramer can’t carry the weight. He’s a buttress, not a cornerstone. Pushing that level of ridiculousness into the forefront will wear down the audience. The episode will be crippled. And worst of all, the content might get real racist, real quick.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it is possible to create a good Jack Sparrow-centered movie. I mean, it hasn’t happened yet, but that doesn’t mean it’ll never happen. However, it’ll never happen if the filmmakers continue to be as lazy as they were when making Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead World Dead’s.

Characters are introduced to one another in the laziest way possible. Characters are pushed into action in the laziest way possible. Conflict arise in the laziest way possible. Conflicts are resolved in the laziest way possible. It’s so lazy that I’ve been infected by the laziness and can no longer be bothered give specific examples.

Okay, I’ll give one example. Paul McCartney has a cameo in the movie. It might just be the laziest, most tire screeching cameo I have ever seen. There entire movie grinds to a halt. We meet Paul McCartney’s character. We don’t care about him. He offers nothing to the story. Nobody laughs at the jokes made. The movie continues on as if nothing happened.

It’s uncomfortable for everyone in the audience. I was left thinking, “was that supposed to be important? Was that a callback to something? What the hell?”

Well I’ll tell you what hell is: the rest of the movie operates in the same manner whenever Jack Sparrow is on screen. His shenangans stop the movie. He makes a joke. The audience doesn’t laugh. The movie awkwardly restarts. I can think of one, and only one bit featuring Jack Sparrow. It involved a guillotine and it was surprisingly creative and for the brief moment gave life to the character.

But sadly the movie had to move on to more aggravating things. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Dead Men’s Pearls at Worlds Tales couldn’t be two hours of Johnny Depp stuck in a guillotine, despite the likely chance it would have been an actual improvement.

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