Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, the fifth installment in the franchise, is an edge-of-your-seat voyage – especially if you see it come to life in IMAX. While I wouldn’t say it’s the best one of the lot, it is nonetheless a swashbuckling, seafaring adventure with rocky moments that can safely be overlooked.
The film opens with a young Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites), son of Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), who seeks to break his father’s curse. His father has been under the curse of the Flying Dutchman. The only way to break the curse is to find the Trident of Poseidon, which also happens to give the bearer control of the sea.
Fast forward years later, Henry is all grown up and is looking for Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) so that, together, they can retrieve the trident. Sparrow, on the other hand, is up to no good with his crew as he resorts to his usual antics of stealing from banks.
But Henry isn’t the only one searching for the trident. Astronomer Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario) also seeks the trident, guided by her father’s journal. While Henry, Carina and Jack Sparrow join forces on their mission, Sparrow’s old nemesis Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), who is now a ghost, escapes the Devil’s Triangle. He was cursed by Sparrow and now wants him to join the dead at all costs.
And so begins the revenge-ridden voyage to conquer the sea, save lives and reunite with the living (or dead). All characters on board this film play their roles to a tee. Johnny Depp returns as the beloved Sparrow accompanied by his snappy one-liners. Although his wit and banter don’t get old, it’s not as much fun as when we were introduced to him in the first film. That being said, a Pirates film is never complete without Sparrow or rather, Depp.
The actor who overshadowed Depp and the rest of the cast was Javier Bardem. He was brilliantly intimidating and filled the screen with raw emotion (revenge, that is) and his twirling hair, which had a life of its own, made Bardem a very memorable, albeit terrifying, ghost.
His haunting performance is what sealed the deal for me, making him my favorite Pirates villain. He breathes life (or lack thereof) into Captain Salazar. I can still hear him spitting the name “Sparrooow” in his signature Salazar style.
Navigating rough waters for the first time in this franchise is Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario. Pretty boy Brenton has a lot riding on him as he does carry a good portion of the movie on his shoulders -- and he doesn’t disappoint. This Aussie lad swashbuckles confidently (and with charm) as he shares the screen with Depp.
Kaya brought spunk and sass to her character as she sails away on her own terms to solve her father’s mystery in the journal. She defies society, that calls her a witch because of her intellect, with astronomy being her forte. Kaya channeled the feminist in us all. However, the chemistry between Brenton and Kaya fails to remain afloat.
The CGI in this film is by far the best in the franchise. Javier Bardem’s petrifying look was just perfection. The young Johnny Depp was unbelievable and quite welcome, might I add. Oh, and the ghost pirates and the ghost sharks? I found that quite entertaining. Yes, it’s all quite dark.
I’d say even though this film isn’t the best in the franchise, the performances, the plot and the effects are entertaining as ever. It certainly fares better than the last film. All signs of life on this undead ship point to a good time. Aye aye, Captain! ~Marriska Fernandes
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