Reporter Amanda Hines contributed to this story
“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” is a success at bringing the feel of the original trilogy back to life after the lackluster “Pirates Of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.”
Johnny Depp takes a backseat to make room for actors Kaya Scodelario and Brenton Thwaites who join the series as Carina Smyth and Henry Turner. The pair, in addition to Geoffrey Rush who returns as Hector Barbossa, bring back the chemistry that was missing from the previous installment “On Stranger Tides.” The duo largely fill the void that previous actors Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley left. The action is fast paced with sword fights and naval warfare that one expects from the series. The most memorable is a sequence that brings new meaning to “mobile banking” that will leave the audience thrilled and laughing. It’s a classic.
What helps set this film apart is its comical banter between characters. The dialogue carries this movie in a way that previous films haven’t. The movie balances the comedy with the serious tones without overshadowing the other. It’s an improvement over the love triangle drama of previous installments.
When it comes down to it, this is a “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie. Audiences expect a certain quality when seeing these movies and this film meets it. It’s comical, it’s suspenseful, it’s “Pirates.” Audiences will surely not be disappointed.
“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” is the fifth installment in Disney’s long-running “Pirates” franchise. Newcomers Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg direct this adventure which follows Jack Sparrow, played by Johnny Depp, as he searches for the mythical trident of Poseidon. Meanwhile the undead Captain Salazar, played by Javier Bardem, is on Sparrow’s tail as he starts a deadly hunt to exact his revenge on the infamous pirate.
“Can someone explain to me what I’m doing here?” Jack Sparrow slurs as a crowd of confused onlookers watch him stumbles his way through a botched bank robbery.
This scene is an apt analogy for how one will feel while watching “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.” This sequel attempts to reinvigorate the franchise and capture the energy that the original 2003 film had but instead feels like a desperate attempt to squeeze money out of a franchise that should be put to rest.
Johnny Depp once again plays the legendary pirate Sparrow but what should be a triumphant return feels like a parody of a beloved character. Gone is the clever, confident Sparrow of the previous films. Instead audiences are now presented with a drunken buffoon who’s more embarrassing than fun to watch.
The rest of the cast also feels bland with none offering memorable performances. Geoffrey Rush, returning as Hector Barbossa, is the only highlight as it seems like he’s the only one trying. Rush still plays the character with the same vigor he did in the original film but he fades away in the background as the script gives him nothing to do.
Moments of fun action are rare flecks of gold among an otherwise dull sandbox of cliche and poorly designed action scenes. There are minor moments of fun action to be had. The one stand-out is a sequence involving ghost sharks. However, all of the action pales in comparison to the ingenuity and thrill the original films offered.
“Dead Men Tell No Tales” is a sequel to a series that’s, much like its protagonist, passed its prime. It’s time for audiences to abandon ship.