Film Review: PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES (USA 2017)

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pirates of the caribbean 2017.jpgCaptain Jack Sparrow searches for the trident of Poseidon.

Directors: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg
Writers: Jeff Nathanson (screenplay)
Stars: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem

Review by Gilbert Seah 

 The 5th instalment of the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN franchise has been delayed a year and then another to be finally released this year after budget and script problems. It is easy to see why. The film like most sequels comes across as louder and bigger but not necessarily better. Written by Jeff Nathanson based on a story by himself and Terry Rossio, the story is a narrative mess and all over the place. In the parts where it is barely coherent, the special effects and swashbuckling action totally destroys whatever left as a thread of a story.

The film begins with a boy rowing a boat into the vast ocean. A huge ship scoops the boy up from underwater where the audience learns that the boy is seeking his father (Orlando Bloom) to return home. The father is under a curse and the boy vows to seek the Trident of Poseidon which returns power to the seas and break the curse that prevents the father returning home. The film then jumps 9 years into the future. The boy is revealed to be now grown up as the handsome Brenton Thwaites who is locked beneath the ship after warning the captain of dangerous waters that no ship has ever come back from. When imprisoned, the ship is attacked by ghosts. Henry is met by an evil, hissing ghost by the name of Salazar (Javier Bardem). He is apparently a powerful and maniacal undead pirate hunter of the Spanish Navy who was trapped in the Devil’s Triangle. After escaping, he seeks the Trident of Poseidon to wipe out all piracy and exact revenge on Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp). He asks Henry to pass the message to Sparrow that he is looking for him as he cannot relay the message as dead men tell no tales. Of course, all this make no sense. The story then jumps to anther point. jack Sparrow is robbing a bank.

No one really cares what happens. A female character Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario) is further introduced into the story to form the romantic interest for Henry, who also ends up seeking that dreaded trident. To form a strong female presence in the film, she fights for women’s rights to study in the university at that time.

When Johnny Depp is not appearing half the time behaving as if he was drunk or high, the pirates are swinging all over the ship and beating each other up. Lots of props get wrecked with lots of pyrotechnics thrown in. The camera swirls around for no reason – to the sky, to the sea down to the vast expanse of beaches.

The film’s best segment which occurs at the start when Sparrow falls asleep during a bank heist is quite over-the-top, but the the rest of the film never matches that part.

It only took ten minutes of the film for boredom to set in and the film lasts a full 2 hours and 20 minutes. The few cameos of Paul McCartney and Kiera Knightley do not enliven the film either.

This should finally be the last tired entry to a tired series. Jack Sparrow and gang should be forever banished to the Devil’s Triangle. In this film, Sparrow is supposed to have lost his mojo and getting it back with Poseidon’s Trident. No kidding about that loss of mojo.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrGyD4kHTSE

 

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