Posted May 25 2017

Pirates Of The Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales/Salazar's Revenge/Whatever...5 - This Fifth Movie Flounders On Its Rocks

Dir: Joachim Ronning & Espen Sandberg

Starring Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Javier Bardem, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley (briefly), Kevin McNally

Well, it’s not as bad as the last one…Which is more or less the best you can say for Pirates 5 – inexplicably bearing two different subtitles, depending on your place in the world. It even starts quite well (creating a false illusion of hope.) A prologue sees young Henry Turner as a child striving to break the curse of his father Orlando Pikey and raise him from the depths. This is swiftly followed by Johnny Depths, giving us his by-now panto routine, by not so much robbing a bank vault – a la Fast 5 – but the whole bank, and dragging it through the streets, in what at least gives the appearance of being glorious practical fx – even if the majority of what follows is largely full-on CGI, including Javier Bardem’s hair which here, in a completely different way from No Country For Old Men, once again gives the stand out performance.

The rest of what follows though lacks the inspiration and bravura of these early moments. If anything, it serves to show both just how tired – and how tiresome – the whole Pirates franchise has become. It’s quite remarkable when you look at Depp in – at least – these last two entries in the series, and think that first time out the man was Oscar nominated for Best Actor. If it’s coming across as stale for us, how must he feel? Although “stale” may not be the right word – it’s just old, and worn out. And, frankly, nobody wants to see it anymore. But then again – how long was a movie series based on a theme park attraction ever supposed to last? You can go again and again, but the time comes when you just simply want to get off. (Michael Bay please make a similar note.) And that time has come.

For the majority of Pirates 5 we are in chase scene after chase scene – the British chase Sparrow, the dead chase Sparrow, the new youngsters chase Sparrow. Set piece follows set piece but, after the early bank heist/drag – it really is a matter of diminishing returns.

On the plus side, Thwaites acquits himself well as a convincing swashbuckler, Scodelario, despite being saddled with the increasingly patronising “but she’s an independent woman” role, does a fine job of rising above such stipulation, and Paul McCartney sings “Dirty Maggie May” – which is as incongruous (yet pleasant) as is his entirely unnecessary appearance as Sparrow’s Uncle Jack (from Liverpool, no less.)

As for the rest, it is best summed up by its gags – just about every single scripted joke in this movie just flatly dies on its arse. Sadly, a talented cast follows.

Despite an unexpected moment or two of what passes for genuine emotion towards the end, this more than anything cries out for “Time gentlemen, please.” In it’s final moments Captain Jack sets sail for “beyond the horizon.” Now we love you Johnny – but please don’t come back.


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