Did the world need another Pirates of the Caribbean film? I answer with a resounding NO!
The first few minutes of Pirates of the Caribbean 5: Dead Men Tell No Tales appears to establish a strong story. A young Henry, the son of Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), is on a mission to save his father from the curse as captain of The Flying Dutchman. It’s pretty much a sinking ship from there.
Over 2.5 hours, we bear witness to an unnecessarily convoluted story. Now grown, Henry (Brenton Thwaites) has discovered that Poseidon’s trident is the only thing that can break the curse. To locate it, he needs to also find Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and a mythical map that only one girl can read – but luckily she and Sparrow are on the same island. They also need to join forces with Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and save Sparrow from a dreamy dead pirate Salazar (Javier Bardem) who is out for vengeance. Still with me?
Depp’s performance feels forced; if he’s not fed up with the role, then he does a good job at acting it.
The music and imagery beautifully evokes the magic of the first films, with starry islands, spectacular underwater worlds and Salazar’s spooky ghost crew. Having Will and Elizabeth return – if only briefly – is a loving tribute. Their reunion before the credits is almost worth waiting for.
Best of all, this film makes absolutely no reference to the fourth, On Stranger Tides, so we can pretend it never existed. While better than the fourth, if only for the fact it eventually completes what was a fab trilogy, it still falls far from the mark those first films set.