Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, 2017.
Directed by Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberge.
Starring Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Kevin McNally, David Wenham, and Stephen Graham.
Captain Jack Sparrow searches for the trident of Poseidon while being pursued by an undead sea-captain and his crew.
Starting with the sublime The Curse of the Black Pearl, the Pirates franchise has steadily declined in quality with each offering duller than before and with Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow becoming more annoying. With its fifth instalment Salazar’s Revenge (Dead Men Tell No Tales in the US) I was pleasantly surprised as it is an entertaining and enjoyable romp with tons of action and a decent villain.
This time around Jack Sparrow is looking for the trident of Poseidon assisted by Will Turner’s teenage son Henry (Thwaites) and woman of science Carina (Scodelario). Whilst all this is going on they’re being stalked by an undead sea-captain (Bardem) who is by far the best villain since the first film. The plot is by the numbers and you can see plot twists coming a mile off but unlike some of the other entries in the franchise it never feels dull. There’s some solid action and the undead crew are a bit creepy and the underwater/zombie style effect works well.
As with all of the Pirates films, this one is all about the hapless Jack Sparrow (Depp). Whilst his over the top half drunk shtick was a revelation in the first film it got old quickly. Whilst there is lots of scenery chewing and pratfalls, you simply can’t deny that Depp is having a great time playing the character and this shines through in his performance. It’s all about the physicality of the role and having fun with improvisation that makes him great to watch. Whilst I hope that Depp returns to his glory days of being one of the most exciting actors around I think it’s doubtful that he’ll ever hang up the pirate’s hat.
There are lots of gripes to be had with this film. From the boring zombie sharks to the appearance of Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth Swan – who incidentally looks exactly the same as she did in the third film even though her son is clearly supposed to 18/19 years old – and a post credit scene that made me roll my eyes and groan. It isn’t a bad film and there are a few good laughs, some decent effects and solid action.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★