Reel Shorts | Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

by Monica Hayes

After a six-year hiatus, Cap’n Jack Sparrow is back for more adventure and shenanigans in the fifth installment to the popular Walt Disneyland ride. This time he is off to find Poseidon’s Trident while being chased by the Royal Navy and former nemesis Captain Armando Salazar in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

In true Pirates fashion, the opening scene is nothing short of spectacular. Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and the crew are being chased by soldiers through a small town after robbing a bank. What’s so spectacular about that? Well, the bank is in on the ride. Yes, the entire building is being pulled through the town, all while spilling the contents of the open vault in its wake. Now with another botched attempt to get the booty, Jack’s crew is ready to jump ship and leave him for better waters.

Meanwhile, young Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites), the son of Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) and Will (Orlando Bloom), has found a way to break Will’s curse to forever captain the Dutchman with Poseidon’s Trident. The only problem, no man has seen the map except a young woman named Carina (Kaya Scodelario) claims to have read the map, but just needs to find the location. Once again, Jack and his compass are in high demand.

Fast forward nine years. We now have an older Henry who’s a sailor in the Royal Navy and tries to warn the captain of the dangers of entering the Devil’s Triangle. The captain doesn’t listen, he is dismissed, labeled a traitor and sent to the jail. Just as he is thrown in jail, the ship is attacked by Captain Armando Salazar (Javier Bardem) and his ghost ship. After killing everyone on the ship, Salazar finds Henry locked in the jail and discovers that he had been looking for Jack Sparrow and Poseidon’s Trident. Salazar lets Henry live, makes him promise to find Jack, and deliver a message – The dead are coming for you.

At the same time, a dejected Jack looking to drown his sorrows trades his beloved compass for a bottle of rum. That single act sets the wheels in motion for the adventure to begin. An adventure full of swashbuckling twists, turns, betrayal, the finding of lost children, the spawning of new love, sacrifice, you name it, it’s there.

One would think that after the first trilogy, Pirates would have gone the way of Davey Jones’ locker never to be seen again. Stranger Tides, the fourth movie, had the franchise headed that way with a cannon strapped to its boots. However, Dead Men Tell No Tales has brought the franchise back to the light.

The writers always seem to find a way to keep audiences intrigued with different story lines of old pirate lore. They did an excellent job at telling the overall story, but some of the subplots were underdeveloped. It is not hard to direct Depp with any of his on screen villains. It comes off as effortless. Bardem, Rush and Nighy each played their villains so well, you almost routed for them to win. The downfall is while all the attention is given to the main characters, the supporting characters lack substance. The new love interest between Twaites and Scodelario seemed forced at best. Not like we saw with Knightly and Bloom early in the franchise. That aside, the CGI, the over the top action scenes we are accustomed thwarting the enemy make this a fun and entertaining movie to watch. Did I mention reanimated zombie sharks?? I didn’t? Well consider that your only spoiler.

The cameos are abundant as we are introduced to another one of Jack’s family members along with other familiar faces. We have not seen the last of Captain Jack Sparrow and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Make sure you stay for the post credits.

Grade B+