By Mark Saldana
Rating: 2 (Out of 4 Stars)
The summer movie season has arrived, and a couple of the movie franchise sequels have already hit theaters. With the arrival of sequels comes the traditional and highly unnecessary beating of dead horses. What I am metaphorically referring to are the new installments of movie sagas that should not have been made, but do because they make the studios money. When the previous Pirates of the Caribbean movie (On Stranger Tides) hit theaters , I had already pretty much lost interest in this franchise, as had other film critics who mostly gave the film unfavorable ratings. After a highly enjoyable first film and two moderately likable, but excessive, indulgent and flawed sequels, I had hoped this franchise would sail off into the sunset. Well, Disney producers are hoping to continue milking this cash cow which continues to diminish in quality. Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is a mostly dead-in-the water, shameless rehash of previous Pirates adventures that does nothing at all to advance the quality of this series, and looks as though the filmmakers behind this new installment didn’t even care to do so.
Nineteen-year-old, Henry Turner , the son of Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) has taken to the sea in hopes of ending the curse that has kept his father bound as the Captain of the Flying Dutchman. Working on a British Royal Navy warship, Henry seeks the trident of Poseidon which holds tremendous powers over all sea curses. During his journey to free his father, Henry encounters the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), the lovely astronomer Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), the prideful opportunist Captain Hector Barbosa (Geoffrey Rush), and the angry and treacherous phantom Captain Armando Salazar (Javier Bardem). Captain Salazar seeks revenge upon Sparrow whose actions as pirate many years ago sealed Salazar’s undead fate.
Written by Jeff Nathanson and Terry Rossio (based upon the characters created by Rossio, Ted Elliott, Stuart Beattie, and Jay Wolbert), and directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, Dead Men Tell No Tales is simply another cookie-cutter sequel in a dead horse franchise of which Disney swats the flies and vermin and hopes to beat senselessly for cash. With the huge following that the movie series has, it will, no doubt, make money, but that doesn’t mean that it should. The movie almost identically copies elements from previous and more interesting installments of the saga and the producers hope that no one seems to notice. A young, wannabe pirate seeks the means to lift a curse off of his beloved father while helping a smart and strong damsel with whom he is smitten. Along the way, he encounters the familiar assortment of pirates and supernatural bad guys who seek revenge for their curse. Beat for beat, this movie has nothing new whatsoever to offer audiences.
The film starts off in a fun way with an amusing and well-directed and edited action sequence. It also has a few genuinely funny moments, but by the middle and ending acts, I had already grown completely tired and bored of this whole affair and this movie franchise. I felt so bored and tired that the post-credits stinger made feel the complete opposite of its intended effect–frustration and irritation. I simply do not want to sit through anymore Pirates movies. The jokes are fine, the cast is fine with the usual goofy performances by Depp and the other comic relief characters, the dashing performances by the heroes, and the scenery-chewing, sometimes over-dramatic villains. Sadly, Javier Bardem is no exception here.
I had at least hoped that Bardem would make for an interesting and exciting antagonist to watch, but he is no different than Geoffery Rush, Bill Nighy, or Ian McShane who preceded him in the roles of villains. It does seem that Disney and the writers hoped to bring closure to the story arc of Will Turner’s sea curse, but the journey there is so weak, uninteresting, and unoriginal. I simply cannot recommend this film at all. To be fair, because I did manage to enjoy some elements and moments, I gave the film two stars. I do pray that this movie ends up losing money because I seriously do not want another installment, and cinema does not need one either.