“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” is the 5th entry of the “Pirates” franchise this time directed by Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg with a screenplay by Jeff Nathanson. The film once again stars Johnny Depp in the pivotal role as Captain Jack Sparrow as he sails to find the trident of Poseidon with the hopes of breaking a terrible curse. Co-starring is Javier Bardem as the villainous Salazar and Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbossa.
The “Pirates” franchise has to be one of my least favorite franchises in history, as the films are over the top, cartoonish and cheesy. The original “Pirates” film, “The Curse of the Black Pearl” was such a gem because it was fun, spooky and had a ton of swash-buckling adventure that felt realistic. Yes, there was some supernatural elements to the movie but it wasn’t over the top or over done. Plus, Jack as a character was off the wall goofy, but also could be incredibly cutthroat and badass when need be. But as the films went on, the character lost his identity and when we finally get to “Dead Men Tell No Tales,” that character is completely lost as a pure looney tunes type cartoon creation. And even though I wasn’t a big fan of “Pirates 2, and 3” they at least fulfilled a story arch set up from the first one. “On Stranger Tides” was a standalone adventure and so is “Dead Men Tell No Tales,” but odd ones at that.
“Dead Men Tell No Tales” is by far the worst of the “Pirates” films. I’m going to say it up front, this is a really bad movie. Everything in it is despicable. The humor was completely misplaced and at times rather sexual which was a little off putting. I think I chuckled once and the jokes weren’t that funny. The characters are so far removed from the original film that it’s hard to identify with the reasons why we liked these characters in the beginning days of the franchise. Now there were a few cool moments in the film, one concerning dead-zombie sharks which was kind of cool, and a really interesting backstory with a young Jack Sparrow, but other than these short sequences, this movie was a complete fart-fest of horribly rendered CGI effects and slow-motion Michael Bay action.
I’m critiquing this film not just as a piece of art but as an entertaining blockbuster. This movie was neither. The movie was 2 hours and 10 minutes that at times felt like 3 hours. The pacing was horrendous. There were very long sequences of story, and then more story and then more. There were so many exposition moments that essentially drowned out all the fun for the action. And even the action wasn’t anything new or special. I was completely bored watching this movie and I could not wait to get out of the theater. The biggest issue with this movie concerns itself with the screenplay. The story was all over the place and a lot of the movie didn’t make any lick of sense. Certain characters were too smart for their own good and they found themselves in certain situations that made me wonder how they got there and how they got out. The story is bottom of the barrel bad and was extremely bland and uninteresting. Johnny Depp phones it in again as Jack, making himself goofier than ever to the point where he just felt unauthentic. Javier Bardem who I love had almost nothing to do here except smile black ooze that trickled out of his grinning mouth. The best actor here is Geoffrey Rush who again turns in a great Barbossa, but the evil laughing pirate that we knew from the original film is no more and I didn’t like his story arch in this film.
Besides those two minor things, there literally was nothing I liked from this movie. For myself, this is January bad and I can’t see why anyone would go out and see this movie. I’m curious to see how well it does at the box-office and I’m secretly hoping it doesn’t do well for one reason: we don’t need any more of these movies. This franchise needs to stay dead, but in the hands of Jerry Bruckheimer it probably never will. “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” is a painstakingly and tedious journey into disappointment. I love big blockbuster movies, but this one carried no merit for me as the “Pirates” franchise ended with the original film. No sequel has come close to topping it and after seeing this movie I hope that like the villains in the film, they stay dead.