Movie Review : Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Men Tell No Tale (2017)
People loved the first Pirate of the Caribbean movie because they fucking love pirates. I've never understood why, but they are passionate about goofy outlaw sailors. To be fair, the idea of a big budget, family-friendly pirate movie franchise is appealing to whoever is eager to stop the never-ending spiral of Pixar movies that comes with having a kid. It's something you can enjoy without feeling that you're being lectured on the value of friendship. Flash forward to 2017, Pirates of the Caribbean is now a successful family-friendly franchise that counts five movies. What does it mean exactly? What is the legacy of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies? I've watched Pirates of the Caribbean : Dead Men Tell No Tales and finally formed an opinion on it.
So, Pirates of the Caribbean : Dead Men Tell No Tales is set a couple years after the post-credits scene of At World's End. Will Turner's son Henry (Brenton Twaithes) swears to his old man that he'll find the Trident of Poseidon and break the curse that holds him prisoner of a ghost ship called the Flying Dutchman. This is quite convoluted already. Maybe you should... watch these movies in order? Anyway, Henry's master plan is to convince the immortal Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) to help him out, because this is what the good Captain does: go on wacky adventures and piss off supernatural entities who don't like womanizing drunks. And Sparrow himself is in St-Maarten, caught in a familiar position involving a scaffold and an army of self-righteous imperialists in pompous uniforms.
Let me break it to you: the Pirates of the Caribbean movies are boring and inane.
I would love to tell you Pirates of the Caribbean : Dead Men Tell No Tales isn't the exact same, but it is. It's the exact SAME MOVIE. The feeling of déjà vu is so strong with this one, it is borderline insulting. I mean, the Flying Dutchman and the realm of ghost pirates are back. Our adventurers have to rescue someone's father from it AGAIN. There's another evil undead captain to defeat, except this time he's played by Javier Bardem. And, of course, they race the undead to a supernatural artifact that will solve all their problems. I understand this is supposed to be a sequel to At World's End, but IT'S THE SAME FUCKING MOVIE. Who the fuck tries to sell you the exact same film twice in ten years? Big budget films are notoriously allergic to risks and love to keep people in familiar territory, but Pirates of the Caribbean : Dead Men Tell No Tales is calling you stupid to your face and no amount of Javier Bardem's inspired performance can compensate for that bullshit.
Let's talk about Captain Jack Sparrow for a moment. How did he become such a beloved character? Is it because he walks funny? Is it the whimsical facial expressions he makes? These are valid reasons to like him if you're twelve years old and under, but what the fuck else does he have to offer? Sparrow is a drunk and a liar and has very little stake in every adventure he's involved with, so he never really changes. He's also insanely non-violent for a pirate, which would be his most interesting trait if he was confronted to it once in a while. He never has to choose between violence and non-violence because Captain Jack Sparrow never makes any choice. He's only there for the wacky scenes. What I'm trying to say here is that he's a one trick pony. A joke that went on for way, WAY too long. I know Johnny Depp uses the character to visit sick children and that's great, but it doesn't make the movies any better.
The Pirates of the Caribbean movies swept over movie theaters like a raging tide from 2003 to 2007, but there's been only two of them ever since. Every wondered why that is? I'll tell you why : the idea has run its course, the driving force behind it (Gore Verbinski) moved on to other things and someone in Disney's offices is still trying to squeeze money out of it. What is happening to Pirates of the Caribbean is exactly what happens to rock bands when they flame out, the charismatic frontman checks himself into rehab and a schmuck studio exec is trying to convince the talentless hack playing rhythm guitar to get the band back together for one last tour. Pirates of the Caribbean : Dead Men Tell No Tales is a fucking sham. It's a big studio trying to re-sell you a movie you've already seen by inserting new action scenes here and there. Let's quit while we're ahead and stop making Pirates of the Caribbean movies while they're still a somewhat pleasant memory.