So the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is almost 15 years old. The first film, Curse of the Black Pearl, is an iconic action adventure film with a career-best supporting performance from Johnny Depp as the jester-of-the-sea Jack Sparrow. However, as the franchise went on each film was more convoluted than the last. With the new one released this weekend, we’re talking about Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, that’s the name of the film, I don’t care what the UK promotional material says I am not calling it Salazar’s Revenge, that’s a stupid title.
The film follows Henry, son of Bill Turner, who seeks to free his father from the curse of the Flying Dutchman. On his quest, he crosses paths with Carina Smyth a young astronomer accused of witchcraft who holds the secrets to the location of the legendary trident of Poseidon. However, the two also run into the surprisingly legendary Jack Sparrow, as well as a group of undead pirate hunters lead by Captain Salazar who seek their revenge against the captain of the Black Pearl.
My god, this film is bad. Not only does it have a silly title, but it is an overstuffed monster with a plot that would have happily filled up five other Pirates films. We have ghostly revenge, a pirate curse, and a search for a MacGuffin. None of which are properly thought out, with the filmmakers hoping that the ear deafening action will distract from plot convenience and plot holes. There were multiple occasions when I found myself asking what? who? how? and most importantly why do I care? If a film has you constantly asking these general questions, then it needed at least several more drafts before going into production.
Because of the sheer amount of stuff that goes on in this film, I was left feeling exhausted and disconnected. I did not care about anything that was happening on screen, if I could even make it out, in the overly dark 3D version. I didn’t care about any of the characters, who were so badly written and poorly acted it felt like a primary school production of Pirates of the Caribbean rather than a big budget movie. The worst offenders are newcomers to the series Kaya Scodelario as Carina Smyth, who is so wooden that the figurehead of a ship was more convincing than her, and Brenton Thwaites, who I forgot as I immediately left the theatre. Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow. There is a desperation in his eyes that screams out for money and the admiration of an audience who may have given up on him since his divorce and lack of decent roles. It is such a shame to see such an iconic character devolve into a mush-mouthed incomprehensible parody of itself.
What was incredibly disappointing was seeing how far Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow had sunk. There is a desperation in his eyes that screams out for money and the admiration of an audience who may have given up on him since his divorce and lack of decent roles. It is such a shame to see such an iconic character devolve into a mush-mouthed incomprehensible parody of itself.
The best part of the film is probably Javier Bardem as Salazar, it is clear that he, and Geoffry Rush as a slightly hammier than usual Captain Barbosa, are trying their best with the hack material. But a lack of time to develop his character left him feeling neutered. I will say that the pirate’s films have always had a good eye for design and it is the same here; the design of the ghost crew that includes a Salazar who looks like he is submerged in water is phenomenal. The Cinematography is also good, though it is a little murky in the 3D version and Paul Cameron is no Dariusz Wolski.
I left the cinema feeling nauseated, Pirates of the Caribean 5 is a mess of a film that tries to do too much and ends up better off left at sea.
You Can Watch Pirates of the Caribean: Salazar’s Revenge in Cinemas Now