Film Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man Tells No Tales

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Growing up, I was a big fan of the hilarious swashbuckling laugh fest that was Pirates of the Caribbean. At the end of the initial trilogy, it was obvious (well, it was obvious by Dead Man’s Chest) the story was running out of fodder and the laughs more and more forced.

POTC 5 was no different. It stars a young man intent on freeing his father of a curse and a headstrong young woman seeking adventure (and also the mystery of her parentage), plus Jack Sparrow trying to flee the wrath of a group of cursed pirates after his blood from an age-old grudge.

Ring a bell? Yeah, just the same storyline as all previous films. You even have a replacement Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan, with the same wooden acting and questionable chemistry. This film brings nothing new to the series.

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The story goes after the same type of silly, lighthearted laughs as every film before has done — Jack’s beheading and the literally-impossible bank heist. When it’s been done four times before, there is such a thing as exhaustion. Although worth a few giggles, it’s no longer memorable or meaningful.

The story also attempts to throw in some attempt at Eureka! moments, for example Salazar suddenly able to take on the body of a human to walk ashore (despite spending the previous hour chasing after Jack, foiled by the land and never actually mentioning this caveat), and the convenient curse of the compass on Salazar’s crew they can never step on land. Whose curse was that? When was it specified? It was inflicted on Davy Jones per he and the witch’s agreement so he can ferry those who died at sea, so what agreement did Salazar sign?

(I’m also pretty sure Davy Jones managed just fine with a bucket of water to go on land.)

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And what happened to Jack’s jar of dirt convenient plot device from POTC 2? Not convenient here?

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Through a lot of bumbling, barely-coherent logic (I’m still figuring out how Carina knew the book was from Galileo, the genius who couldn’t figure out the stars but she could, even though she kept repeating it was her deadbeat Dad who left it to her), the curse is broken. All curses are henceforth lifted.

In a dramatic attempt at unexpected redemption, Barbossa sacrifices himself to kill Salazar, whose motivation in the entire film was to seek out Jack Sparrow to break the curse put upon him and his crew — which, at the point just prior to the sacrifice, has already been lifted.

I’m not quite sure why he threw himself off the anchor aside from as a device to make the audience feel for Carina for seeking her father all these years, just to find him and lose him as quickly. Because none of the characters had been particularly relatable or sympathy-inducing, this added attempt did nothing to my cold dead heart.

End game: Jack Sparrow is free with his ship. Again. It’s almost like nothing happened. Because nothing has. Because it’s just another giggle fest that’s dwindling to unimpressed silence.

Verdict: franchise fatigue+++. 2 stars (only because I’ve been a fan of the series for years. Otherwise would have been a 1). Wouldn’t pay to see this.

Did you watch this film? How did you find it, and compared with the previous ones?

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