Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)

 

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This unnecessary fifth entry of the franchise feels like yesterday’s Spaghetti Bolognese. The gravy has coagulated into a thickened blur of red and the noodles have congealed into a bloated mess of starch. It looks great from far, but once you get up close all your alarm bells start to go off. If you put one spoonful in your mouth, the only thought pervading your consciousness will be how much you miss its formal glory and then you will proceed to spit it out in a hurry.

Thrust into an all-new adventure, a down-on-his-luck Captain Jack Sparrow finds the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost pirates led by his old nemesis, the terrifying Captain Salazar, escape from the Devil’s Triangle, determined to kill every pirate at sea… including him. Captain Jack’s only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, a powerful artifact that bestows upon its possessor total control over the seas.

For a movie franchise that is built on fun and adventure on the high seas, while maintaining a deft balance between light and dark elements, these sequels missed their mark with increasing notoriety. For me, On Stranger Tides (2011) flatlined from the get-go, while this new one helmed by Kon-Tiki (2012) directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg takes a while to get to the point of no return. There is no denying the fact that this entry feels unnecessary and almost redundant. There is some effort in trying to do a soft reboot with the introduction of new characters Henry Turner (son of William Turner and Elizabeth Swann) and Carina Smyth, but they lack chemistry and the uninspired script barely allowed them to stay afloat.

One of the joys of watching a Pirates of the Caribbean movie is Jack Sparrow, a joyful collision of spur-of-the-moment slapstick and irrelevant eccentricity. The script of this latest entry doesn’t even push the character a millimetre forward. He slurs and staggers his way through any scene and nothing is truly memorable, except maybe that guillotine scene.

The story features yet again a MacGuffin, the Trident of Poseidon, and it feels too familiar and bloated. It doesn’t help matters with so many characters which basically dissolve into a chain of cause and effect events.

Dead Men Tell No Tales does look great at times, especially with inventive scenes featuring zombie sharks and the parting of an ocean, but like all money-spinning franchises the studios don’t want to think up fresh storytelling ideas and is content with letting the CGI overwhelm the movie like a Kraken. The studio motto is “the boat that carries the gold shall not be rocked” and it is clearly evident here.

 

2.5 / 5

 

 

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