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

 

Reviewer: Charity Bishop

 

When the first film in this franchise hit theaters, I'd never seen anything like it. I laughed so hard I cried. It prompted a million drunken Jack Sparrow impersonations, created hundreds of often-repeated lines among my friends, and still stands as one of the finest original films under the Disney brand. And, while my affections wavered with subsequent installments, this fifth film is a rollicking good time.

 

Since the imprisonment of his beloved ship in a bottle, Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) has had a rush of bad luck. It accumulates in a disastrous bank robbery that rapidly escalates out of hand... and brings him into the sphere of the ambitious, intelligent young star-gazer, Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario). The only thing she has of her father (since she was left on the steps of an orphanage) is a battered journal that she hopes will lead her to answers about her heritage. It holds the secret of Poseidon's Trident, which the young Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) believes can free his father, Will (Orlando Bloom), from ferrying the dead to the other side. Jack isn't interested in their ideas... until an old enemy, Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) escapes the Devil's Triangle with his undead crew and intends to wreak vengeance upon Jack for imprisoning him there.

 

Little does Jack know that something he treats as unimportant holds the key to his safety... or that his old friend/enemy Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) has his reasons to involve himself in the search for the trident. What results is the usual unbelievable good time, some of the most memorable sequences this go around being Jack stealing a bank (yes, you read that right), a host of undead sharks swarming upon a sinking boat, the return of the Black Pearl, and a spectacular underwater finale. Oh, and a reunion that caused an entire row of fans to sniffle. A lot. It's witty, entertaining, and never boring. Jack is a bit pathetic, and much to his angst, his rum faces a disastrous fate. And it cost him so dear, too. But at least his pirates are paying him for things. Fans may not be happy with one character's fate, but there are some touching moments here, amid the chills, impressive costumes, and a solid story.

 

It's not perfect, though. Since the navy boys don't last long, I wondered if their minor subplot even needed to be there, or just padded the running time a little bit. I didn't mind, though. The biggest problem in the last film was its detachment from Will Turner. Here, his son is front and center, and just as impulsive and memorable as his father. Carina makes a worthy heroine, somewhat more practical-minded than Elizabeth. And yes, you'll get to see Elizabeth. Make sure you wait through the credits for the final scene; it'll send chills up your spine. Of the good kind.

 

     
Sexual Content:
Jack wakes up in a safe with another man's wife; wordplay involving the term "whore-ologist." A few scattered sexual innuendos ("I saw her ankle!" "You'd have seen a lot more than that if you'd kept your trap shut!").
 
Language:
A couple of mild profanities; British slang (bugger).
 
Violence:
On par with earlier films; dead creatures ravage and kill the living (stabbed, shot, consumed by the sea).

 
Other:
One minor character is a witch; she casts stones, throws an animal in fire, and reads its entrails. Curses.