I want to be more positive than negative in this review because as more and more reviews have been coming out since opening weekend they have all started to say the same things; Johnny Depp is getting too old for the character of Jack Sparrow. Disney is spinning their wheels with this franchise, etc. but I’m not promising anything.
While I admit, the beginning of the movie had me slightly worried because Depp’s Sparrow does seem like even a caricature of his former self which is hard to pull off: going too Jack Sparrow, but eventually he “normalizes” and it’s business as usual in terms of people out maneuvering people and swindling others into deals with impossible odds. Dead Men Tell No Tales is an entertaining movie and one that if seen in theaters, won’t be a bad experience if you have enjoyed the previous Pirates films. You can trust me on this because I unknowingly bought a 3D ticket which was actually a lot of fun to see it in, but not recommended in this case.
The plot of DMTNT is what feels tired and worn not the characters in my opinion. It’s almost as if the pirates have run out of things to chase after or find in sailor folklore. In this one, Poseidon’s trident is the prize to be found by all parties involved. The trident removes all curses of the sea which is the main crux for Henry Turner, William and Elizabeth Turner’s son, Capt. Barbosa, Capt. Salazar as well as the British Navy in finding it. From there, both familiar faces and new are introduced as the plot winds and turns but ultimately leads us to a big set piece at the end of the film and a battle for the trident. At this point, cue every previous Pirates ending you’ve seen before this and you get the idea. However, in its defense, DMTNT does a decent job with showcasing great CGI effects as well as large, over-the-top chases and fights that play very well on screen.
While the story is somewhat bland, the main villain is something that can be appreciated in Javier Bardem’s Captain Salazar. Throughout the film, he teeters on the edge of parody, but he brings just enough craziness and fervor that every time he’s onscreen you cannot help but be drawn to him. His story is well executed and his motivations for revenge are quite interesting to see unfold having everything to do with a younger Jack Sparrow. The film does stray into an interesting space by utilizing the facial technology that Rogue One did with some of its characters. For the most part they did a decent job with it, however, there were some scenes in which it was badly noticeable they were using it.
To be quite honest, you have known since they’ve announced this film being released whether or not you will see this movie. Personally, I enjoy the Pirates films and feel like they serve their purpose well in easily entertaining and only going so deep in terms of story, which is fine by me. Sometimes you need films like this to help balance out the heavier ones and sometimes you just want to go to the theater and be entertained. Dead Men Tell No Tales does just that. Nothing more. Nothing less. Whether or not Disney continues with this franchise is yet to be seen but they have done a decent job closing the series with the film’s ending while also leaving the door cracked just in case they want more. I was left feeling indifferent as to whether or not we will get another one in several years but I can say that Dead Men Tell No Tales had me leaving the theater thinking that I didn’t waste my money and was pleasantly entertained. If you’re on the fence, I can recommend you just wait until it shows up on TV in a couple of years.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – 3 GARYS